Wednesday, November 13, 2013
This time, Griffin healthy, Eagles hurting
By Phil Sheridan
PHILADELPHIA – The Eagles could be without half their starting secondary when they face Washington and Robert Griffin III.
Safety Earl Wolff is listed as week-to-week with a hyperextended knee. Cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who injured a pectoral two weeks ago in Oakland, has been practicing but is still experiencing soreness and weakness in the muscle. In addition, inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks is expected to be out with a knee injury.
“It’s tough,” Wolff said. “I’ve never missed a game in my life, ever. I’ve been playing football since third grade and I’ve never missed a game. So it’s a different experience. Pretty tough.”
The bad news would be considerably worse if the Eagles hadn’t already gotten solid play from their replacements.
Patrick Chung was the starter at safety going into the season. Wolff replaced him when Chung injured his shoulder in a Sept. 19 game against Kansas City. Chung tried to come back after two weeks, reinjured the shoulder and missed the next two games.
Chung is back. He played three quarters in Green Bay Sunday after Wolff banged knees with Packers running back Eddie Lacy.
“He made a couple of nice tackles with that shoulder,” defensive coordinator Bill Davis said. “We don't foresee it being a recurring problem. I think it's in the rearview window for Patrick.”
Linebacker Najee Goode would likely start in place of Kendricks. He also delivered three solid quarters of play against the Packers.
Fletcher was listed as questionable on the Friday injury report. He said Tuesday that he was originally told the injury would likely keep him out two weeks. So there’s a chance Fletcher could be inactive even though he practiced Wednesday.
Davis went with Roc Carmichael, the third-year player signed off the Houston Texans’ practice squad in September. That allowed Brandon Boykin to remain in his role as the slot corner.
“I need Boykin to be a great nickel,” Davis said, “and I felt and we feel as a staff that it lessens his ability to play nickel if he's playing corner and nickel every down both inside and outside. Some guys can do it in the NFL, and I just believe right now for Boykin to be the best nickel we have because I need a dominant nickel in there for all the third downs and two minutes and it was better for us putting Roc outside. I think it did work out. Boykin had a great game as a nickel, and I think Roc played a nice job outside at corner.”
Boykin was playing nickel corner when he intercepted Griffin in the Sept. 9 game between these teams.
That was a different Griffin, however.
“When we played them the first time, he was coming off the injury,” Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. “He didn’t get any live reps. He’s a lot different now. It’s a big challenge for us. He’s running around a lot more. He’s throwing the ball really well. We expect a little bit different look.”