Yes, the Eagles have plenty of depth at defensive tackle and are well suited to plug the hole filled by the indeterminate absence of
"I'll miss the guy when I turn on the film on Monday morning that plays solid the whole time," said Washburn Tuesday. "He's just always in the right place. He does the right thing and he's going to play hard and he knows what to do. It's a constant. You turn on the film and you wonder how's Vinny (Curry) or Fletcher (Cox) going to play or whatever, but Mike was the old solid guy that was always there and that's a comfort to a coach to know that he's always going to do the right thing."
Fortunately, Patterson is still around, working out and rehabbing at Lehigh with strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin and attending team and position meetings at night.
"Mike Patterson might be one of the best people I've ever had," said Washburn. "He doesn't have to come to these rookie meetings at night and in the afternoon, he doesn't have to be there, but guess what? He's there. I said, 'Mike, you don't have to be here,' and he said, 'I like to be here.' He likes football. He's a good one. God dang, we miss him now.
"I guess he's mentoring them ... A lot better than hearing it from me. He's smarter than I am."
Following the announcement that Patterson would not participate in Training Camp, higher expectations were immediately thrust upon first-round pick
"He was going to be accelerated anyway," Washburn said. "He's a good player. He's going to play. It's the same thing, we're going to try to have four tackles be starters.
"He was ready to play anyway. He's very mature."
With Cullen Jenkins entrenched in the rotation and
"I was so disappointed," said Washburn. "I couldn't tell if he had any talent. Every night we go to the staff meeting and have to talk about every player every night. (Head coach) Andy (Reid) wants to know and we did the same at other places I've been. I couldn't tell if the guy was a good player or not. I couldn't tell if he was a good athlete. He weighed 365 or something like that. His back was killing him. He was out of shape. I couldn't even tell if he was a player. This spring, he worked his butt off. He's down, I don't know how much he weighs, he's maybe 330 from 360 or whatever it was. He's in so much better shape and I went, 'Wow, this guy's got some quickness.' He likes to play and he's tough, but he's got ability."
Dixon, who was the first player mentioned by Reid as a replacement for Patterson when the news first broke, is now listed as 6-3, 322.
"He's a real guy," Washburn said. "I'm really excited about him. And he's such a good person. He wants to be a good player. He's going to help us a lot."
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