Simple math made this seem inevitable, but Eagles coach Doug Pederson made it official Wednesday: Either Anthony Rush or Albert Huggins will start opposite Fletcher Cox at defensive tackle on Sunday at Buffalo.
Rush and Huggins are rookies who were claimed from the Raiders and Texans practice squads, respectively, on Monday. Neither Rush nor Huggins has appeared in an NFL game, yet the coaches and management felt more comfortable with this option than with starting or even playing veteran defensive lineman Akeem Spence, who was released Monday after playing two-thirds of the defensive snaps in Sunday night’s blowout loss at Dallas.
Rush and Huggins are to practice with the Eagles for the first time on Wednesday. The Eagles continue to carry defensive tackle Bruce Hector on their practice squad, but they seem to have no intention of moving him up, even though he played in eight Eagles games last season.
Pederson didn’t paint an encouraging picture in terms of getting any injured Eagles back to face the Bills. Hassan Ridgeway, the defensive tackle whose ankle injury precipitated the latest personnel crisis, is “week-to-week,” Pederson said. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson, out since Week 2 with an abdominal injury, will continue to work out on his own Wednesday, Pederson said. Ditto defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (foot).
Corner Avonte Maddox has no concussion symptoms but is still dealing with a head-neck injury, Pederson said, and won’t play this week. Linebacker Nigel Bradham (ankle) and left tackle Jason Peters (knee) won’t practice Wednesday. Ditto running back/returner Darren Sproles.
Rush, a 6-foot-5, 350-pounder, signed with the Eagles last spring as an undrafted rookie from Alabama-Birmingham but was released just before training camp when the team brought in veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick. The Raiders picked him up, and he was a preseason standout. But he ended up on their practice squad, eligible to sign with any team willing to put him on the 53-man roster for at least three weeks.
Huggins, 6-3, 305, signed with the Texans as an undrafted rookie from Clemson.