A seventh-round pick is being thrust into the starting lineup at linebacker.
Sure, that describes Jamar Chaney's situation as he will make his first-career start at middle linebacker Sunday against the Giants. But it also once applied to strongside linebacker Moise Fokou.
Last season, Fokou replaced Chris Gocong as the strongside linebacker for the Week 16 game against the Denver Broncos. The Eagles were 10-4 entering that contest. Fokou did start two games earlier that season because of injury, but it wasn't until Week 16 when Fokou was locked into the starting lineup.
Chaney replaces Stewart Bradley, who dislocated his elbow in the second quarter of last Sunday's win against the Cowboys. Bradley is out for Sunday's game and is likely out for the remainder of the regular season. The Eagles kept Bradley on the active roster hoping that he could return if the Eagles make the playoffs. And it will take a win on Sunday for the 9-4 Eagles to help their cause. The Eagles and the Giants are tied for first place in the NFC East. A win for the Eagles would essentially give them a two-game lead with two games remaining because in the event of a tie at season's end, the Eagles hold the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of sweeping the season series.
Fokou thought about when he was inserted into the starting lineup at the end of last season and understands how Chaney feels.
"I guarantee you he's very excited. He's excited for the challenge, for the opportunity to go out there and show his stuff," Fokou said. "He does a phenomenal job of preparing himself week in and week out as if he's the starter and that's what they've instilled over here. You never know when your time's coming up. Week in and week out (linebackers) Coach (Bill) Shuey is harping on him about being ready. He gets a few snaps in practice so we were out there (against Dallas) communicating, Ernie (Sims) and myself, talking to him, helping him make checks and everything went smoothly."
Before last Sunday, Chaney's impact came on special teams where he is second on the team in production points and tied for third in tackles. Last Sunday, Chaney had eight tackles in the two-plus quarters on defense after Bradley's exit.
"He's young in the system. He's been learning since camp. You never can really tell what kind of player he is until he gets on the field and sees some real action," Fokou said. "Great instincts. Bigger linebacker. Powerful."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 8:00 p.m., December 18