Eagles' Notebook

As the Eagles prepare to face the Tennessee Titans, there are plenty of issues. Here, in one convenient place are all the news and notes on the Eagles leading up to Sunday's contest.

Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson inserted demoted strong safety Mike Lewis back into his dime package Sunday against the Redskins. Johnson moved Lewis up to the quasi-linebacker spot in his 4-1-6 scheme, which had been where free safety Brian Dawkins had been playing. Dawkins moved back to Lewis' old spot. Johnson wanted to take advantage of Lewis' strength as a run-defender, as well as have him cover Redskins tight end Chris Cooley. He indicated he'll probably keep Lewis there for the foreseeable future.

Recently signed cornerback William James played about seven or eight snaps against Washington. His snaps will increase as he becomes more comfortable with Johnson's coverage schemes. James' size - he's 6-0 and 200 pounds - will come in handy down the stretch against teams with bigger wideouts, such as the Giants' Plaxico Burress, the Panthers' Keyshawn Johnson, the Cowboys' Terrell Owens and the Falcons' Michael Jenkins.

If anybody tells you that Lewis' move up the charts spells trouble for Sean Considine, don't believe it.

As long as Sean Considine remains healthy, he'll be the Eagles' starting strong safety, defensive coordinator according to Johnson.

Considine replaced the struggling Lewis three games ago after Lewis got beat on an out-and-up route by Saints wide receiver Joe Horn in the fourth quarter of a 27-24 loss to New Orleans. Lewis had been struggling in coverage all season.

Lewis will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. Johnson said he is intrigued by the possibility of turning Lewis into a full-time linebacker, but he reiterated that Considine is his strong safety.

"Right now, we're happy with Sean, and Mike is a role player," he said. "He's playing sometimes in safety in certain personnel groups. He's playing linebacker in certain personnel groups. So he's still a big part of it. But right now, Sean's our starting (strong) safety."

Notes from the 'Nest...

  • CB Rod Hood appears to have made a complete recovery from the heel injury that sidelined him for four games earlier in the season. He was back in his role as the nickel corner last week against Washington.
  • LB Shawn Barber has given the Eagles a big boost in their nickel and dime packages on passing downs. He has played well in coverage and has been an effective blitzer. His pressure on Mark Brunell in the fourth quarter last week prompted the interception that Sheldon Brown returned for a touchdown.
  • QB Donovan McNabb continues to keep his interceptions to a minimum. He's got just five in 303 attempts this season and hasn't thrown any in six of the Eagles' nine games. Three of his five interceptions came in one game - against Tampa Bay in Week 7.
  • TE L.J. Smith hasn't been much of a factor in the Eagles' offense the last two games. He's got just two catches in the games against Jacksonville and Washington.
  • The Eagles are remarkably healthy nine games into the season. RB Brian Westbrook's knee, which has had swelling problems much of the season, is as good as it's been since September. DT Mike Patterson is playing with a surgically-repaired broken hand that is hampering his ability to tackle a bit. Rookie Brodrick Bunkley will see increased snaps to spell Patterson in spots.
  • Brian Dawkins on Titans' running back Travis Henry: "He's a hard runner, real hard runner. Good cut-back guy and he gets downhill. They run the ball and they will run the ball - I'm pretty sure they aren't going to change that on us. And a lot of that also will help a young quarterback, so they will ground a game out, try to control the clock and try and move the chains. He is a guy that will eat you up if you allow him to. We have our [work] cut out for us as far as trying to stop this guy. The offensive line is doing a good job of giving him some openings. Hard runner, I remember that from when he was in Buffalo. He hasn't changed in that respect, real hard runner."

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