Eagles rookie safety Kurt Coleman has been a key special-teams performer, but he's going to have his workload reduced in that area for Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field against the Minnesota Vikings.
That's because Coleman will earn his second start of the season at free safety, replacing fellow rookie Nate Allen, who is on injured reserve after suffering a torn patellar tendon in his right knee during last Sunday's 38-31 win over the New York Giants.
Coleman made his first start on Nov. 15 against Washington, coming in for Allen, who had a neck sprain.
Since Coleman will make the start against the Vikings, Eagles special-teams coach Bobby April says that the rookie would be limited to playing just on the punt team.
"He calls the signal and he manages the protections and everything else," April said. "He'll continue to do that, but we'll replace him on the other units."
Coleman, a seventh-round pick from Ohio State who had four tackles in Sunday's win, actually made the suggestion for a reduced special-teams role.
"In the Giants game, I was doing almost everything [on special teams] and I told Bobby I needed a breather," Coleman said. "I am glad for the time off so I can focus just on defense."
Eagles middle linebacker Stewart Bradley has been ruled out this week with a dislocated elbow that he suffered Dec. 12 against Dallas. Even though rookie Jamar Chaney stepped in and recorded 16 tackles in last week's win over the Giants, Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott stated that, if healthy, Bradley will be the middle linebacker.
"It's Stewart's job," McDermott said.
For his part, Chaney said he wasn't nervous making his first start last week.
"I was more nervous against Dallas after being thrown in during the game," said Chaney, who was credited with eight tackles against the Cowboys. "I wasn't nervous [against the Giants], but I was anxious."
The Eagles on Thursday placed cornerback and return man Jorrick Calvin on injured reserve with a back injury, ending his season. He suffered the injury against the Giants and hadn't participated in practice this week.
Calvin averaged 21.6 yards on 32 kickoff returns and 10.4 yards on 12 punt returns. He is the ninth Eagle on the injured list, in addition to defensive end Victor Abiamiri, who is on the reserve/physically-unable-to-perform list.
Eagles defensive tackle Mike Patterson, who didn't practice on Wednesday because of a sore knee, returned to limited participation on Thursday.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson (foot), who participated fully in Wednesday's practice, had limited participation on Thursday.
Linebacker Keenan Clayton (hamstring) didn't practice. He was inactive for the Giants game with the injury.
On the successful onside kick that was recovered by Riley Cooper in Sunday's win over the Giants, the Eagles had just 10 men on the field, but April wasn't about to show his hand.
Whether that was done intentionally to distract the Giants and have them count the players instead of watching the ball, is something he wouldn't delve into.
"Whether we had 10 men [intentionally] or not, Coach Reid and I keep that stuff confidential," April said.
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who was knocked out of Monday's 40-14 loss to the Chicago Bears, still hasn't been ruled out for Sunday's game though he didn't practice for the second consecutive day on Thursday. Rookie Joe Webb is expected to be the starter - however, not by some Eagles.
"We think it's going to be Favre," Eagles safety Quintin Mikell said.
"I'm preparing for Favre, but we also have to prepare for the other guy."
Also on the injury front, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who missed the Chicago game with a knee injury, returned to practice on Thursday with limited participation.
Jamaal Jackson made a rare appearance at the Eagles' NovaCare Complex locker room, three months after the center tore his triceps in the season opener.
Jackson's injury was particularly devastating in light of the fact that he had made a remarkable recovery less than nine months after he had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Looking back now, he said the quick return may have had something to do with the torn triceps.
"I'm not a doctor, but when you don't have your normal routine off-season, as far as training goes, it can kind of play a role in [the injury]," Jackson said.
Jackson, who had started in 71 straight games prior to his 2009 knee injury, admitted that it took a while to get over his second straight season-ending injury.
"It was tough, especially when everything happened," Jackson said. "I was out of it a little bit. But I'm back to normal now."
Jackson said the injury has been harder to deal with than not playing, even though the Eagles are poised to reach the playoffs and possibly go further. The first time Jackson tore his triceps and missed the entire season, in 2004, the Eagles reached the Super Bowl.
Mike McGlynn has done a solid job since taking over for Jackson at center. He's five years younger, so the 30-year-old Jackson knows his future with the Eagles is in doubt.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it," Jackson said. "I still have a couple of good years left in me. If it's here, so be it. If not, I'm ready to take on that challenge."