As if the insult of the stinging loss to the 49ers wasn’t bad enough, the injuries that came with it makes everything that much more painful (pun unfortunately intended).
Despite the loss and the Dream Team’s ridiculous 1-3 record, the one bright spot on the defense has been the play of the defensive line. Jim Washburn’s wide nine has allowed Trent Cole and Jason Babin to just bring it, with the two of them putting up 10 total sacks through Week 4.
That’s about to change.
Cole suffered a calf strain in Sunday’s loss and could miss a couple weeks or even up to a month. The Pro Bowl end underwent an MRI Monday and the results will give a better indication of his recovery period. Cole will almost certainly be out through the bye in Week 7.
In Cole’s absence, the Eagles will need to rely on CFL import Phillip Hunt to step up. That’s because veterans Juqua Parker and Daryll Tapp are coming off injuries themselves. Even with Babin and his NFL-leading seven sacks, and no matter how well the backups play, the Eagles pass rush is going to take a hit on a defense that really needs all the help it can get. This isn’t good.
And it gets worse.
Defensive tackle Antonio Dixon is out for the season with a torn left triceps suffered in the 9ers loss. Dixon is the Eagles biggest d-tackle and his loss is pretty significant. While the wide nine creates a dynamic pass rush it can leave the line vulnerable to the run due to the bigger gaps. Losing a wide-load run stuffer like Dixon will make things even more difficult, both for the line and the linebackers playing behind them. And with the way the linebackers have looked overall this really becomes the worst case scenario for a defense on the ropes.
To take Dixon’s roster spot the Eagles brought back defensive tackle Derek Landri, who was with the Eagles all through camp and the preseason. Landri looked very good throughout and really was a surprising cut. The problem with Landri though is that while he’s a hard worker he’s a smaller guy who likely won’t contribute much as a run stopper. Even with Dixon the Eagles couldn’t seem to do anything against the run so Landri won’t make much difference either way.
And as bad as all that is, the offense just took a major, if hopefully short-term, loss as well. Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters left Sunday’s game with an injury to his hamstring. It’s being termed a significant strain and Peters underwent an MRI himself on Monday to determine the extent of the damage. Like Cole, he’ll almost definitely be out through the bye, possibly longer.
That puts King Dunlap in line to start at left tackle. Yeah, that’s not going to end well. Vince Young better make studying the playbook his nonstop focus because he’ll be starting soon.