There's really only one thing keeping Eagles guard Todd Herremans from returning in time to play the Redskins on Oct. 26: the scooter he had to use for weeks as he recovered from foot surgery.
"I want to play really bad, but at the same time, that doesn't outweigh my hatred for that scooter," Herremans said of the contraption that allowed his left foot to be elevated. "I don't want to be back on that for another six to eight weeks. I'm not going to push myself to the point where I can come back for one week and be out for another eight."
Herremans, who hasn't played all season after he suffered a stress fracture during training camp, returned to practice this week but has participated only in noncontact individual drills with offensive line coach Juan Castillo. Before yesterday's practice, Herremans said the foot felt good.
"I'm going to try to take some reps with the scout team [today], and, hopefully, if everything goes good, we'll get it scanned next week to make sure nothing has changed and . . . go full-go next Thursday," Herremans said.
If that happens, Herremans said, he should be able to play the following Monday night in Washington. Nick Cole has filled in for the fifth-year pro at left guard. The Eagles have used a two-man rotation at right guard with Max Jean-Gilles and Stacy Andrews, but Herremans said he would rather not split snaps with Cole upon his return.
"I've started for the last three years, so I imagine when I come back, it will still be my spot," Herremans said. "Nick has done a great job, but it's not my decision. I don't get paid to coach or make personnel decisions."
Coach Andy Reid said Wednesday that he was in no rush to get Herremans back on the field if it meant risking a relapse. Herremans felt the same way.
"They know I want to play, so they're kind of trying to not let me overexert myself," Herremans said. "I don't think I'd do that. I'm not an idiot. If it starts hurting, I'm going to pull myself out."
The Eagles have said their reason for activating Antonio Dixon over Trevor Laws at defensive tackle last week was because of Dixon's size. But Laws said there was probably more behind his not dressing for the first time this season.
"I think [the coaches] just want to light a little fire under me," he said. "They tell me they didn't lose any confidence in me, so I plan on being activated this week, making plays and reminding them why they drafted me first overall."
The Eagles selected the 6-foot-1, 304-pound Laws in the second round of last year's draft. He played sparingly last season and recorded three tackles in the first three games of this season.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said the team activated the 6-3, 322-pound Dixon, who was picked up off waivers just before the season, because he could create penetration against the inside-running Buccaneers last week.
"If you watch that short-yardage play where we caused the fumble," McDermott said, "he was a main reason for that."
Kevin Kolb is the No. 2 quarterback, and his performance in the two games he filled in for the injured Donovan McNabb has solidified that standing. But when McNabb took a seat in the fourth quarter after the Eagles had jumped out to a large lead over Tampa Bay, it was Michael Vick who stepped in for the starter.
Reid explained after the game that he just wanted to get his project some snaps. Kolb said recently that he understood his coach's decision.
"You always want to be out there," he said. "But with the playing time I got, Vick needs to be out there as much as he can, too. That's what they told me. It's no big deal."
The Eagles activated all three quarterbacks last week, and might do the same the rest of the season. Still, Kolb said he had no idea whether he or Vick would get the call if there were to be garbage time against the Raiders on Sunday.
"I honestly think the scenario could change every single week," Kolb said.
Safety Quintin Demps, who has been inactive for the last three games, will take over for the injured Dimitri Patterson (quadriceps) as the gunner on special teams, coordinator Ted Daisher said. . . . McDermott said that safety Quintin Mikell would continue to wear the defense's helmet radio receiver for the second straight week. . . . Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that tight end Brent Celek is one of the top tight ends in the league. He also said he had no problem with Celek's attempting to hurdle defenders, as he tried to do last game. "If he can jump over them, I'm all for it," Mornhinweg said.