The Eagles will be without their right tackle for a little while.
Rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who has been filling in at right tackle during Lane Johnson’s 10-game suspension, suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain during Sunday’s 26-15 loss to the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, according to head coach Doug Pederson.
Pederson said Vaitai is “week to week,” which has previously indicated that player won’t play in at least the upcoming game.
Without Vaitai, the plan is for Allen Barbre to slide from left guard to right tackle and veteran Stefen Wisniewski to take over in his vacated position. Rookie Isaac Seumalo could see some reps at left guard too. Barbre slid out to right tackle during Sunday’s game after Vaitai went out.
Running back Ryan Mathews has a right knee injury and is day to day. Darren Sproles suffered a seventh rib fracture. “It sounds bad, but it's more in a safer area than what Brent Celek's is,” Pederson said.
The team will hold Sproles out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but expects him to be able to play in Monday’s game.
Cornerback Leodis McKelvin has a concussion and is in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Connor Barwin has a bone bruise. He won’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but should be able to play on Monday. Malcolm Jenkins has knee bursitis but is OK. Zach Ertz (hamstring) came out of the game OK.
Special teams safety Terrence Brooks, who has been out with a hamstring injury, will return this week.
In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, John Clark and Barrett Brooks are pumped for the start of training camp. Following MLB Commissioner's comments on Mike Trout's marketability, the guys discuss if it's on the player or the league to market an athlete? The Falcons said they will not give Julio Jones a new contract. At what point does a public contract negotiation become a distraction in the locker room?
1:00 - Guys are excited for the start of training camp.
4:45 - Is it on a player or a league to market an athlete?
11:00 - When does a Julio Jones contract situation become a locker room distraction?
18:00 - When money starts dividing a locker room.
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As we get near the start of the Eagles’ 2018 training camp, we’re going to take a closer look at some of the key position battles to watch this summer.
Today we’ll look at weakside linebacker.
Names to know
Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Corey Nelson
What to watch
After years of trade speculation, the Eagles finally just released Mychal Kendricks this offseason. It saved them $6 million in cap room and let Kendricks out of a situation he had been ready to leave for some time. It also left the Eagles with a void. No, Kendricks didn’t play at an All-Pro level last season, but he stepped into a larger role after Jordan Hicks went down and helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl. Now, he’s gone and his old starting gig is up for grabs.
When Nelson was signed this offseason and said he was told he’d compete at the weakside linebacker spot, it raised some eyebrows. That was Kendricks’ job and as long as he was on the team, he wasn’t going to give it up. Now, it all makes more sense.
The WILL linebacker in the Eagles’ system doesn’t play a ton. The Eagles are in their nickel package for around 75 percent of their defensive snaps, which means two linebackers instead of three as the team brings an extra DB on the field. So Hicks and Nigel Bradham will stay on the field for most of the game and the third linebacker will play about a quarter of the snaps. And it’ll be one of these three guys.
What all three guys seem to have in common is the ability to cover. Grugier-Hill and Gerry are both converted safeties and Nelson is much smoother in coverage than Kendricks ever was. All three are good athletes and have shined as special teams players, but are hungry for more responsibility.
It’ll be interesting to see if this competition goes into the season. Bradham is suspended for the season opener, so it seems like two of these guys will start next to Hicks. So read into it how you will … because the guy who plays the WILL in that game might not be the guy who plays it in the next game because the player at the SAM will be on the field more and could possibly be ahead on the depth chart.
Grugier-Hill appeared to be in the lead for this job and I think he hangs on, although this one really is up in the air. I just think his two years in the defense will mean something to Jim Schwartz and it’ll be enough to give him an edge on a second-year player and a veteran special teams player.
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