Birds Considering All Options For Secondary

Injuries are taking their toll on the Eagles secondary and some reinforcements could be needed. So, who is out there and who have the Eagles talked to?

Brian Dawkins, Lito Sheppard and Rod Hood are all hobbled. Joselio Hanson is inexperienced and was picked apart pretty good by Eli Manning when he was pressed into service against the Giants.


The problem is where would the Eagles turn for help in their secondary? The practice squad has former Viking Dustin Fox and he's a possibility to be activated if some healing doesn't start to happen pretty soon. While Fox isn't the greatest of answers to the problem, he may be the best one that the Eagles can come up with.

In looking for help, the Eagles have worked out some free agents still looking for work. They include former New York Jets DB Rayshaun Reed, former Redskins DB Dimitri Patterson and former Eagle Eddie Moten. None of the workouts produced much that the Eagles were willing to pursue, but they're keeping their numbers on file, just in case things don't get better.

For now, Andy Reid thinks the Eagles may be able to just play through the pain. "I think we're going to be okay there. I think we'll be alright there by the time we get to game time," said Reid earlier this week. Part of Reid's optimism comes from the medical reports on the injured Birds. Dawkins returned to practice Friday and seems to have recovered fully from the concussion suffered against San Francisco. Hood and Sheppard are still hobbled, but Sheppard especially, is getting closer to returning. "He's close. He just is not quite there yet," explained Reid. "It is literally a day-to-day thing. We'll just see how he does."

Sheppard didn't practice Friday, but hopes that he can take part in some drills this weekend and will be able to play against Green Bay Monday night.

Brian Dawkins figures to be in the lineup Monday night and agrees that the Eagles can work through the injuries. "That is why you search for quality depth and have guys that in case these things happen. The guys who are backing up, we're going to expect them - if they have to - come in and play and perform at a high level. Just like the old saying, 'you're only as strong as your weakest link,' so those guys have to step in and play," said Dawkins.

A key part of figuring out how to work with the injuries goes back to defensive coordinator Jim Johnson and Dawkins believes that's why the secondary can succeed. "We have confidence in them and Jim has confidence in them and he'll do a good job - as he always does - in letting them know what to expect out of different blitzes."

The problems in the secondary are compounded by the fact that the Eagles are going up against a rejuvenated Brett Favre. "He's playing great football right now. He's got some people around him that are good players. He's playing like he was a kid again," said Reid of his former student when Reid was the quarterbacks coach in Green Bay. Favre has credited the rebuilt offensive line with helping him to rebound and Reid thinks that's the key. "I think the offensive line, in the last couple weeks, has done a nice job of protecting him [Favre]. When you give Brett a little bit of time back there, he can do a lot of things with that football. I think they are doing a better job here in the last few weeks."

If Dawkins doesn't get help in the secondary, he could be feeling the effects of another headache this week against Favre and the Packers. "He's spitting that ball. He is spreading it around. They're moving him, they're protecting him and he is getting it to those guys and they are putting up some big numbers right now. We have our hands full," observed Dawkins. "Anytime you play him you have to respect what he can do because he may throw an interception, but he'll hit you across the head with two bullets and put them right on the money. We definitely have our work cut out for us with this passing game this week."

While the Eagles have all the respect in the world for Favre, Reid believes that his quarterback has many of the same qualities that Favre brings to the game. "I've always said this; I think they approach it very similarly. They both have a good time and love to play. I think that it radiates out to the other players around them."

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