With Asante Samuel out of practice Wednesday with a knee strain, nickel cornerback Joselio Hanson will take the first-team reps at left cornerback. Though Samuel says he's "working every day" to be able to play Sunday in Chicago, Hanson could be in line to make what would technically be his fourth start of the season, but his first on the outside.
"That's the NFL," Hanson said Wednesday. "Injuries happen and other players have to be prepared to step up. This might be one of those weeks.
"I've been here and been in this position before where I have to step in ... I'm confident and ready to go."
Hanson has been with the Eagles since 2006, so he's pretty comfortable in the defense, regardless of where he's lined up. He spoke all off-season about wanting the chance to prove himself on the inside, though he remains a valuable cog in the defense as the nickel corner. As much as the Eagles tend to play with five defensive backs, Hanson gets starter reps during games anyway. And after an up-and-down preseason, Hanson has returned to his steady level, notching one interception and nine passes defenses this season, including the game-ending knockdown in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions.
"I prepare every game like I'm the starter anyway, because I'm one play away," he said.
One guy who can speak to the readiness of a backup stepping into a starting role is Dimitri Patterson, who has taken the reins of the right cornerback job after getting inserted into the lineup three weeks ago.
"That's professional sports, it's not Pop Warner," Patterson said. "There's not going to be that much of a dropoff. Guys are professionals. Backups, these guys have been preparing their whole lives. I've been a backup. You don't know what a guy can do until he gets an opportunity. Joselio is a guy who's proven that he can play in this league. He's started a couple of games. We're very confident. Of course, Asante's an impact player. But we're confident if Joselio comes in, he'll do exactly what he needs to do."
If Samuel is indeed unable to go, Hanson will likely play left corner in the base defense and slide back inside to his customary nickel position in those sub packages. When that happens, rookie cornerback Trevard Lindley is likely to get the call at left cornerback. And while it's imperative to be prepared, of course, Samuel could still play.
"Asante's getting better every day," Hanson said. "So we'll see what happens."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:00 p.m., November 24