Injuries typically come with negative connotations, however are Philadelphia Eagles injuries a good thing? Simply put: Absolutely. Starting defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole are respectively out with a calf strain for 2-3 weeks and an AC Joint which is day-to-day. Starting defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins is sidelined with an undetermined hamstring injury and is in need of an MRI.
First, let’s state that these injuries are minor, and will not adversely affect the regular season. Additionally, they should provide much needed reps for the Philadelphia Eagles young, high-potential talent.
In 2010 the Philadelphia Eagles moved up in the NFL draft to select defensive end Brandon Graham. He started strong and looked to be a star in the making with three sacks in limited playing time. Unfortunately, his knee was viciously torn towards the end of the 2010 season effectively ending his rookie campaign. Furthermore, Graham, like so many other ACL and MCL tear victims, played the following year with hesitation and fear. Conversely, a fully healed Graham is terrorizing everyone on the offensive line in a Trent “Hunter” Cole type of way, especially while filling in on the first-team defense for the aforementioned injured starters. Many other reporters have agreed with this sentiment. Hopefully this is a foreshadowing of things to come from the former first-round selection that some (not me) have already labeled a “bust”.
The Philadelphia Eagles also spent two early round selections in the 2012 NFL draft along the defensive line. Just like in 2010, they moved up in the first round to select defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. With savvy, technically-sound veteran Jenkins likely out at least a few days with an undetermined hamstring injury, Cox will need to take advantage of more first-team reps under legendary line coach Jim Washburn.
Cox’s fellow draftee, defensive end Vinny Curry, was selected 59th overall (2nd round) in the 2012 NFL draft. Most analysts said the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him because Graham was officially now a bust, but in this pass-happy league, the most important defensive position are quarterback hunters. Curry fits that bill perfectly and his college statistics prove it. In his last two seasons in college he had a combined 23 sacks and 7 forced fumbles while facing double teams all game long. This is why I think the Philadelphia Eagles drafted him – not because Graham was a bust. Although, Curry, as a rookie making the jump from Marshall University, needs to take advantage of every extra rep especially with the 1st and 2nd teams as he typically runs with the 3rd team. Every defensive lineman active on game day is extremely important due to Jim Washburn’s heavy rotation system.
With the first preseason game around the corner on August 9th against the Pittsburg Steelers, each of the aforementioned young talents (Graham, Cox and Curry) need to utilize extra practice and invaluable game reps to their advantage. Their seasons’ success, and in Graham’s case his Eagles career, could prove to be critically changed due to extra reps at training camp and in preseason games.