Injuries and the lacking return game
Published Wednesday, September 13, 2006 by JB | E-mail this post
On the Eagles side the big injury loss is Lito Sheppard. He has a high
ankle sprain and the speculation is that he could miss 4-6 weeks, although I've yet to hear that from the Eagles themselves.
What this means is that Rod Hood will slide into the starting CB role. Not a big deal there as Hood as good a nickel DB as there is in football and performed very well when he started last year after Lito went down with an injury to his other ankle. It gets dicey after Hood. Joselio Hanson moves into the nickel slot and former Eagles 6th round pick Dexter Wynn was resigned this week to fill the 4th CB spot. Hanson had been an undrafted journeyman before this year where he shined in the preseason for the Birds. If he plays to level he did against he 2nd teams in the preseason the Eagles should be fine... however if he shows flashes of why he was an undrafted free agent before this season there could be trouble. That said, worrying to much about the nickel corner is nitpicking a bit. The Giants don't exactly have dangerous WR threats after Burress and Toomer. Tim Carter has one career TD and caught only 10 passes last year.
This injury aslo affects the return game. We all know Jeremy Bloom was to be the team's kickoff amd maybe also punt returner was put on IR before the season. Lito had been slated to return punts in the Houston game, but when he was hurt early Westbrook was forced to handle punt return duties... Despite the fact that Westbrook is the best PR on the team, it doesn't appear that Andy wants him back there. Combine that with fact that Mahe missed the week one game due to injury and that the Eagles cut KR Bruce Perry this week... that leaves the team with no certain returners. Newly re-signed Dexter Wynn has experience returning both kickoffs and punts plus Mahe is apparently going to practice this week but he's still questionable to play. So there could be some solutions coming... but nothing terribly exciting.
On the Giants injury front starting RG Chris Snee is likely out and TE Jeremy Shockey has an ankle injury but is listed as probable. The injury to Snee, who did a good job preventing a push from the Colts' DTs could be very significant if his replacement(presumably Rich Seubert) struggles with the Eagles talented inside pass rushers Mike Patterson(5 sacks last year), Broderick Bunkley, and Darren Howard on passing downs.