As of practice Friday, the Eagles’ healthy defensive tackles were Fletcher Cox and two guys they picked up from other teams’ practice squads this week, Anthony Rush (Raiders) and Albert Huggins (Texans).
But a roster spot was open, after defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway went on injured reserve this week. Head coach Doug Pederson hinted Friday that it would be filled by Eagles practice squad defensive tackle Bruce Hector, and sure enough, Pederson eventually was correct.
It’s been a bit of a mystery why Hector, 25, couldn’t get promoted as the Eagles’ defensive-tackle depth spiraled into crisis. Malik Jackson is on IR, Tim Jernigan hasn’t played since Week 2, and Akeem Spence, signed for Week 2, was released this week as the Eagles brought aboard Rush and Huggins.
Rush, who was cut by the Eagles early in training camp. seems likely to start next to Cox in Buffalo on Sunday.
Hector played in eight games for the Eagles last season. They traded him to Arizona near the end of this preseason, acquiring safety Rudy Ford, who plays mostly on special teams. The Cardinals ultimately released Hector and he ended up back with the Eagles’ practice squad.
“He’s a guy that obviously has been in our system. Knows the defense. Knows the front,” Pederson said. “I know he’s excited, if given the opportunity. It’s something that you can see him in practice and he’s been talking to the guys about it, like, ‘Man, hopefully this is my time,’ and if he does [play], he’ll do well for us, but just, again, it gives us the added depth we need at that spot until we get some guys back.”
Pederson declined to say who will play nickel corner now that Orlando Scandrick has gone on to a career in TV commentary, but indications are that it will be Sidney Jones. Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills are likely to start outside at corner.
Declared out for the Buffalo game are wide receiver DeSean Jackson (abdomen), corner Avonte Maddox (neck), running back Darren Sproles (quadriceps), linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle), left tackle Jason Peters (knee) and Jernigan (foot).