There aren't enough hours in the day for Rick Burkholder and the Eagles' athletic training department. They are, arguably, the most important folks in the Eagles organization right now as the kickoff to Eagles-Falcons approaches. Who the Eagles are able to suit up against Atlanta depends in large part to the work Burkholder and his staff are able to put in over the next five days.
Tick. Tock. The training room is full.
It is that way across the NFL as the casualty count climbs. Atlanta's injury list is serious, too -- quarterback Matt Ryan has a toe injury, running back Michael Turner is sporting an ankle injury, and more -- and teams are scrambling trying to find the right combinations to prepare for next week.
Players are taking a beating this year around the league. Depth is being tested as never before, and playoff spots are hinging on how well teams deal with the week-to-week hurts.
This is nothing new for Burkholder and his staff, of course. The Eagles have a great department of athletic trainers who certainly have their hands full this week. How full. They are installing a revolving door in the training room just to make the coming and going that much easier.
How long is the injury list? It's as lengthy and as complicated as we have seen in recent years, for sure ...
- DeSean Jackson left Sunday's game with a concussion. He got up quickly, walked off the field and then walked into the locker room after a couple of minutes of trainer's attention. How severe, what kind of symptoms he has, I don't know. I do know that if Jackson can't go in Atlatna, the Eagles will have to make some kind of roster move. Kevin Curtis has not practiced, and there is no indication that he is ready to return to the field. The Eagles have Jordan Norwood on the practice squad. They could go out and look at some veterans on Tuesday. No way, in the big picture, the Eagles can go into a game with only three wide receivers. All of a sudden, Reggie Brown is back in a key, key spot. And the development of Jeremy Maclin is absolutely huge. He came up big against Washington. Without Jackson next week, Maclin would be the first option in the passing game.
- Brent Celek wants to play Sunday, but to do so he has to get a sprained thumb healed enough to where he can actually catch the football. By the end of the win over Washington, Celek was playing with one hand. He dropped passes that he never drops and he was literally unable to grab and block with both hands. He didn't leave the game, which is a good, good sign.
- Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley has a sprained ankle but he gutted it out against the Redskins. A week of treatment and some rest should enable Bunkley to play against the Falcons unless there are major setbacks. The Eagles really need him to play against a Falcons team that could rely heavily on the running game if Ryan is not playing. It is time, right now, for last year's first draft pick, Trevor Laws, to assert himself. He has to make some plays and earn more playing time. The Eagles need him badly.
- Cornerback Sheldon Brown played against Washington, but he certainly wasn't himself. The hamstring injury he has isn't likely to get much better until Brown gives it time to heal. Problem is, there isn't any time to rest. I would be surprised if Brown practices much this week. Given Brown's history, he will play on Sunday.
- The other starting cornerback, Asante Samuel, still has a neck injury that is not permitting him to really stick his head in there and be physical. Samuel came up big with two interceptions against Washington and is going to look to continue his outstanding season.
- The defense could get a boost with the return of Akeem Jordan this week. It is too early to tell whether he will play, but head coach Andy Reid said last week that Jordan is getting closer and closer. Having Jordan back could really help a linebacker corps that needs some stability. Right now, Jeremiah Trotter is the team's best middle linebacker. He has clearly bypassed Joe Mays on the depth chart. With Jordan back, the Eagles could move Will Witherspoon back to the MIKE position should they chose.
- Quintin Demps played on Sunday, and played pretty well in coverage, but he didn't return kickoffs. The Eagles could really use his juice in the kickoff return game.
- Anything new on Brian Westbrook? No, not really. Nothing officially. Westbrook is doing his work behind the scenes and is scheduled to have another test very soon. Can he play again this year? The Eagles have him on the active roster, so they are clearly holding out some hope.