The Eagles will have to take care of business again on the road but this time without star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The two-time Pro Bowl selection went down in the first half in the Giants game and did not return due to a calf injury. Backup defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao is out as well because of a wrist injury leaving the Eagles with just three defensive tackles heading into the Sunday's game against the Chargers. Head coach Doug Pederson hinted that defensive tackle Beau Allen will likely start in Cox's place.
"There's a lot of flexibility here. We haven't made a final decision yet on that. We'll get through today's practice obviously; have a few more conversations with (defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz) and (defensive line coach Chris Wilson) and go from there," said Pederson.
Defensive backs Jaylen Watkins (hamstring) and Corey Graham (hamstring) will also be out against the Chargers. Pederson stated that the four will not travel with the team so they can stay back and get treatment. Pederson implied the opposite when asked if Cox's injury would keep him out a few weeks.
"He's actually feeling better today," Pederson said. "I don't think so personally. When I mentioned day to day it's really day to day with him and he is feeling better though even today.
"Somebody like Fletcher draws double teams. People slide protection in that direction and so it can affect you a little bit but at the same time if teams now don't do that it does free up some of our one-on-one matchups with the defensive line. I think with our ends getting pressure there sometimes can help take pressure off, even when Fletcher's in there. These guys have been able to take some pressure off of Fletcher. The next guy Beau Allen and Tim Jernigan, these guys are going to really have to step up and fill that gap and have done a nice job."
The team, however, will welcome back safety Rodney McLeod after his one-game absence with a hamstring injury. His return leaves the Eagles with a lot less shuffling to do in their secondary from a coverage standpoint.
"It's real comforting knowing that you don't have to move so many pieces now having him back there," Pederson said. "First of all, I thought (Chris) Maragos did a nice job last week stepping up and playing and now he can go back to special teams being that backup safety and that role that he's comfortable in as well.
"But having Rodney and Malcolm (Jenkins) back there and still having Rasul (Douglas) and Jalen (Mills) and some of the young corners out there really, the communication is solid and they can really get these guys lined up. To me, it's like on offense, if you can just line yourself up, your chances of executing that play or that defense to perfection go up. So it's great to have him back in that lineup."