Eagles coach Chip Kelly confirmed Wednesday that outside linebacker Trent Cole is having surgery today, to place a plate in his broken left hand. Kelly said Cole will not play against the Redskins this week. Defensive coordinator Bill Davis said Tuesday that if Cole had surgery, he probably could play in the season finale against the Giants.

Brandon Graham, who will start for the first time since 2012, talked Tuesday about his progress in the 3-4 scheme and his excitement about assuming an expanded role this week. Kelly said little-used first-round rookie Marcus Smith will be a principal backup at inside and outside linebacker, given the Eagles' injury situation.

Cole has missed only four games in his 10-year career and is second on the franchise's all-time sack list, behind Reggie White.

Kelly said Graham has "really dedicated himself" and has come a long way in his conversion to 3-4 linebacker from 4-3 defensive end.

Other highlights:

*Asked about the seeming unfairness of the Eagles potentially missing the playoffs with an 11-5 record, while the NFC South winner might get in with a losing mark, Kelly pointed out that the Eagles only have nine wins right now. "If we win 11 games and don't get in, shame on us, because we didn't win the right games," Kelly said.

*Kelly said the Eagles "can't sleep" on RG3, particularly as an improvisor, taking off and running.


Really interesting Sports Illustrated piece on everybody's favorite first-round fireman, Danny Watkins. I took a stab at writing something about Watkins early this season, but he didn't return my calls and I couldn't traipse around Texas looking for him, having to cover the Eagles every day and all.

The take I got from ex-teammates here was less sympathetic than what is portrayed in the story. A couple used the term "con man." None acknowledged having any contact with him since he left, which is unusual in the NFL.

I think around the Eagles, there is considerable question as to whether Watkins gave much effort to football, once he realized the amount of dedication it would take to be successful. Maybe this was because he wanted to be a firefighter, but he sure let down a lot of teammates and made a lot of money pretending he wanted to play football.

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