Eagles

This is a make-or-break season for Eagles' Jordan Hicks

This is a make-or-break season for Eagles' Jordan Hicks

Not many people question Jordan Hicks’ ability. They question his availability. 

And based on his track record, that’s not unfair. 

Hicks, 26, has played three NFL seasons with the Eagles and two of them have ended on injured reserve, including last season, when he tore his Achilles. And before he entered the NFL, injuries plagued him during his time at the University of Texas.  

So as Hicks enters the final year of his rookie contract, this is a make-or-break season for the talented middle linebacker. 

He knows it. 

Here’s what Hicks said in a 1-on-1 with NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Derrick Gunn earlier this week: 

Gotta stay healthy. I gotta prove it. Obviously, that shows a lack of ability to have that faith in me that I’m going to be out there. That puts a chip on my shoulder. I embrace it. I gotta attack it. Gotta prove it. 

If Hicks is healthy this season, it could be a huge boost for the Eagles’ defense as they try to repeat as Super Bowl champions. He’s their middle linebacker, signal caller and one of the most important pieces on Jim Schwartz’s unit. Simply put, he’s a playmaker. 

In 31 career games, he has seven interceptions (one returned for a TD), one forced fumble, three fumbles recovered and two sacks. Hicks is one of just four linebackers who have at least seven interceptions in the last three seasons (along with Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and Ryan Shazier). And Hicks has played fewer games than all of them. 

Hicks just seems to have a knack for making game-changing plays. 

But he can only do that when he’s on the field. 

Going back to his college career, his list of injuries is as extensive as his list of on-field accomplishments. 

  • Groin injury in 2012
  • Achilles tear in 2013
  • Torn pec in 2015 
  • Another torn Achilles in 2017 

While Hicks has been an extremely productive player, that’s four of the last six years with a significant injury. Heck, he even broke his hand last offseason at the pool in Greece on his honeymoon. Hicks hates the “injury prone” label, but even if he plays all 16 games this season, he probably won’t shake it. Remember, he played all 16 games in 2016 and thought this was all behind him. Turns out it wasn’t. 

Even if Hicks plays well this season, the Eagles are going to have to ask themselves whether or not they really feel comfortable hitching their wagon to him with a long-term deal. 

For now, Hicks is a tremendous value if he stays healthy. He’s going to get paid less than $2 million this year, but if he has a big season, he’s going to want his first payday. Even if he plays every game, based on his history, that’s a gamble. 

Because Hicks knows how important his health is, he works extremely hard on his body. He’s completely healed from that last Achilles tear and looks good in training camp. He even dropped that infamous training camp line about being in the best shape of his life. 

“I feel like I picked up where I left off. I really don’t feel like I’ve lost a step at all,” Hicks said. 

That’s great if he’s on the field. Hicks has to prove that first. 

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Eagles Injury Update: Reports on all half a dozen injured Birds

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Eagles Injury Update: Reports on all half a dozen injured Birds

The Eagles are hurting emotionally and physically, Doug Pederson said, after their 48-7 loss to the Saints in New Orleans. 

Let’s dive into the physical portion now. 

Six Eagles left Sunday’s game early with injuries. Pederson was asked about all of them in a rapid-fire question to start his Monday morning press conference. 

“That’s a big list,” he said. “Big list, big list, big list.”

Here are those updates: 

• Long snapper Rick Lovato suffered a concussion and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol 

• Jordan Hicks (calf) is week to week

• Sidney Jones (hamstring) is week to week 

• Avonte Maddox (knee) is day to day 

• Rasul Douglas (knee) is day to day

• Jason Kelce (elbow) is “fine” 

Even though Pederson said Maddox is day to day, that’s somewhat hard to believe. Maddox’s injury looked nasty and he was seen walking away from the building Monday morning with a significant limp. 

Normally, when Pederson calls someone “week to week,” they’re going to miss some time. That’s where Hicks and Jones are. Pederson said Jones had healed completely from his hamstring injury but suffered a new injury. 

If Lovato can’t play this coming Sunday, linebacker Nate Gerry is the team’s backup. He long-snapped in college and was warming up on the sideline Sunday night. 

In light of the rash of injuries, Pederson was asked about his trust in the team’s medical staff. Pederson was defensive about this topic and said there’s “no problem.”

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Eagles snap counts: Depleted defense relying on deep backups

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Eagles snap counts: Depleted defense relying on deep backups

The Eagles were lit up by Drew Brees and the high-powered Saints offense Sunday afternoon. 

It didn’t help that the Birds had a bunch of random guys out there trying to stop one of the best offenses we’ve ever seen. 

The Eagles on Sunday got 147 combined snaps from five defensive players who weren’t on the roster to start the season! 

Cre’Von LeBlanc: 44 (63 percent)
T.Y. McGill: 30 (43 percent)
Chandon Sullivan: 26 (37 percent)
De’Vante Bausby: 24 (34 percent)
Treyvon Hester: 23 (33 percent)

That’s pretty wild. The guy who has been on the roster the longest of that group is Hester, who was promoted to the active roster on Oct. 2. Sullivan was promoted Oct. 25. LeBlanc was claimed Nov. 5. T.Y. McGill signed on Nov. 6. And Bausby was promoted Nov. 17. 

Other defensive snap count notes

• Obviously, the secondary was a mess with injuries. Rasul Douglas played 51 before going down. Sidney Jones played 22 snaps before his hamstring injury. And Avonte Maddox played just 17 snaps before his injury. 

• Michael Bennett and Brandon Graham each played 42 snaps. Chris Long played 39 snaps and Josh Sweat played 20, the most of his career. 

• Jordan Hicks played 64 snaps of 70 before leaving the game with a calf injury. Before the injury, he had played every snap this season. 

Offensive snap count notes

• Josh Adams appears to be the new lead back. He got 28 of 51 snaps and was one of the very few bright spots. He had seven carries for 53 yards and caught three passes for 19. Corey Clement played 14 snaps and Wendell Smallwood played just four. That’s significant because Smallwood came into the game as the Eagles’ top rusher. 

• Golden Tate played 36 snaps (71 percent). Tate had five receptions for 48 yards. He’s a good player, but that third-round pick looks like a steeper and steeper price. 

• Dallas Goedert played just 16 snaps. In the last two games, he has played 34 snaps. In those two games, he has one target and no catches. 

• If you’re looking for another positive, Lane Johnson and Jason Peters were at least able to play all 51 offensive snaps. Jason Kelce played just six snaps before leaving with an elbow injury. 

Offense

Isaac Seumalo: 51 snaps (100 percent)
Brandon Brooks: 51 (100)
Lane Johnson: 51 (100)
Jason Peters: 51 (100)
Carson Wentz: 51 (100)
Alshon Jeffery: 51 (100)
Zach Ertz: 47 (92)
Stefen Wisniewski: 45 (88)
Nelson Agholor: 44 (86)
Golden Tate: 36 (71) 
Josh Adams: 28 (55)
Dallas Goedert: 16 (31)
Corey Clement: 14 (27)
Jordan Matthews: 14 (27)
Jason Kelce: 6 (12)
Wendell Smallwood: 4 (8)
Halapoulivaati Vaitai: 1 (2)

Defense

Malcolm Jenkins: 70 snaps (100 percent)
Nigel Bradham: 70 (100)
Jordan Hicks: 64 (91)
Corey Graham: 61 (87)
Rasul Douglas: 51 (73)
Fletcher Cox: 49 (70)
Cre’Von LeBlanc: 44 (63)
Michael Bennett: 42 (60)
Brandon Graham: 42 (60)
Chris Long: 39 (56)
Haloti Ngata: 33 (47)
T.Y. McGill: 30 (43)
Kamu Grugier-Hill: 29 (41)
Chandon Sullivan: 26 (37)
De’Vante Bausby: 24 (34)
Treyvon Hester: 23 (33)
Sidney Jones: 22 (31)
Josh Sweat: 20 (29)
Avonte Maddox: 17 (24)
Nate Gerry: 8 (11) 
Tre Sullivan: 6 (9)

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