The Eagles won against the Cowboys on Sunday night. They really needed it as they continue to try and make a run towards a playoff. What they didn’t need were the injuries that occurred during the game.
In the win, middle linebacker Stewart Bradley dislocated his elbow. He will be out for the rest of the regular season, but could possibly return to the team if they make it into the playoffs. Defensive end Brandon Graham suffered a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the year. It’s an unfortunate injury for the rookie, and as Andy Reid said, “It will be a tough rehab.”
There were some other dings and bruises from the game, but those are the two injuries that impact the status of players moving forward.
Graham was back out of the starting line-up as Juqua Parker returned to the field this week. However, Graham was playing some pretty good football in Parker’s absence—although not with the numbers many people expected. But, then again, it’s hard for a player to come in and dominate at that position.
Graham proved his versatility this year as the Eagles were able to line him up both on the edge and on the inside. We even saw Graham come off the line and drop into pass coverage in some cases. In an advanced defense scheme like the Eagles have, Graham was valuable and he will be missed.
Parker has been a pleasant surprise this season, regaining his starting position shortly after losing it to Graham. He was hot in the beginning of the season, recording at least one sack in his first three games but then cooled off. He’ll really need to get back to his early season form with Graham out of the lineup.
Darryl Tapp will also see more time with Graham out of the line-up, and the Eagles will also probably call upon rookie Daniel Te’o-Nesheim with his nice size and rushing ability. I’d love to have Graham on the field, but the Eagles did a lot this season to bolster their depth at the defensive end position.
The bigger concern will be seventh-round pick Jamar Chaney filling in the middle for Bradley. He saw a lot of action against the Cowboys game after Bradley was knocked out, and did a so-so job. Chaney was much better in run support then he was against the pass.
Reid said in a press conference that in college Chaney relied heavily on his speed and needed to get better with his hands. He said that he has seen Chaney improving, but it’s still scary that the Eagles will be asking a seventh-round rookie to start for them in the middle.
The Giants have a very dominant running attack right now that the Eagles were able to shut down in the first match-up. In the re-match, the Giants should be playing with a better offensive line against a middle linebacker making his first start in the NFL.
If Asante Samuel returns to the line-up, he should allow the Eagles to crowd the line more and give Chaney some support. Still, Chaney will have his hands full making his first start. He’s going to need to play a solid game and not let the Giants running backs break any big plays.
Overall, these injuries aren’t exactly going to destroy the Eagles playoff chances. However, like we’ve seen more than once this season, a player will be asked to step into the starting line-up and play at a high level. Sunday’s match-up with the Giants is a huge game, and the Eagles defense will really need to bring it.