Eagles In A World Of Trouble

Is Philadelphia ready to keep up with the Patriots high octane offense? One look at their defensive secondary tells you why the Eagles are one of the biggest underdogs in NFL History this week.

The last thing the Eagles need going into a Sunday meeting against the undefeated New England Patriots and their prolific passing attack is to be shorthanded in the secondary. But that's their situation.

Strong safety Quintin Mikell suffered an MCL sprain in his knee in Sunday's 17-7 win over the Miami Dolphins and isn't expected to play this week against the Patriots. Mikell had replaced Sean Considine, who had started the first eight games at strong safety before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Dallas on November 4.

J.R. Reed, who wasn't even signed until a few days before the season-opener and was released a week later and then re-signed again, replaced Mikell after he went down last week and is expected to start against the Patriots.

The only other safety on the roster besides Reed and starting free safety Brian Dawkins is undrafted rookie Marcus Paschal, who was signed off the practice squad when Considine went down, but was inactive last week.

Eagles coach Andy Reid said Monday that he probably wouldn't be adding another safety.

If something happens to either Reed or Dawkins, cornerback Sheldon Brown likely would be shifted to safety.


--QB Donovan McNabb isn't expected to practice Wednesday. He has a sprained ankle and a jammed thumb. The thumb seems more likely to keep him out of Sunday's game against New England than the ankle.
--RB Brian Westbrook, who leads the league in yards from scrimmage, has averaged 29.3 touches per game the last three games. He had a career-high 32 rushing attempts last week despite missing two days of practice with a sore knee.
--TE L.J. Smith, who finally has shaken his groin injury, has eight catches in the last two games, but committed two costly penalties against the Dolphins, including a holding penalty that negated a 46-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Brown.
--WR Kevin Curtis is having a solid season. His five catches against Miami upped his season total to 45. He has 722 receiving yards, which puts him on pace for 1,155 yards.
--WR Reggie Brown has just seven catches for 128 yards in the last three games. He had a 46-yard touchdown catch last week against Miami, but it was wiped out by a holding penalty on tight end L.J. Smith.
--WR Jason Avant caught his second touchdown pass of the season Sunday against the Dolphins, but aggravated his groin injury and is questionable for Sunday's game against New England.
--DE Jevon Kearse was deactivated for last week's game against Miami. It's likely he'll be inactive this week against New England as well.
--SS Quintin Mikell probably won't play this week. He suffered an MCL sprain in his knee Sunday against Miami. Mikell had replaced Sean Considine who went down with a season-ending shoulder injury two weeks earlier.
--WR Hank Baskett was on the field for about 20 plays Sunday against Miami, but didn't have a reception. He had three catches in each of the previous two games. The Eagles have been using the 6-4 Baskett as a quasi-tight end.

Patriots Insider Top Stories