Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Healthier Defense Means Changes

Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is welcoming weakside linebacker Akeem Jordan and nickel back Joselio Hanson back this week, improving the hand McDermott has to play against the Giants Sunday night.

McDermott wouldn't say exactly how the linebacking crew will play out -- Jeremiah Trotter seems to have carved a role of some sort in Jordan's absence, and Will Witherspoon has shown he can play either weakside or the middle pretty well -- but this clearly is a happy dilemma for a defense that has spent much of the season trying to scrape together three or four solid, competent linebackers who know their positions. McDermott acknowledged "a comfort level with Akeem out there."

McDermott also said Joselio Hanson will go right back to his nickel role, as Hanson returns after a four-week NFL suspension for taking a banned diuretic. "He kept himself in good shape," McDermott said of Hanson, who was not allowed to work out at the Eagles' practice facility while he was suspended.

McDermott touted corners Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel for the Pro Bowl.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg acknowledged his biggest concern is his unit's red zone performance, where touchdowns haven't come as easily as the Birds would like."We've really had some opportunities," said Mornhinweg, who spoke of execution being "off just a little bit in several games."

Though rookie wideout Jeremy Maclin isn't practicing and is wearing a special boot to combat plantar faciitis, Mornhinweg said he expects Maclin to play and perform normally against the Giants.

"I think he'll be fast," Mornhinweg said.

Quarterback Michael Vick was still basking in the glow of his triumphant return to Atlanta, where Vick ran for one touchdown and threw for another in by far his most productive outing as an Eagle.

"I had 56 text messages when I got back to my phone, 14-15 the next day," Vick said. "It felt good. It was everybody just congratulating me, sending me their best, telling me I deserved it, and I'd worked hard for it. It's something that you'll always cherish, it's an opportunity that you had and you'll never be able to relive that moment. You've just got to relish the moment."