Seven pivotal players on the Eagles defense have either missed part of or the entire season due to injury. In fact, those seven players - Victor Abiamiri, Stewart Bradley, Omar Gaither, Chris Gocong, Macho Harris, Ellis Hobbs and Akeem Jordan - have missed a combined 25 games this season. That's not including nickelback Joselio Hanson, who is currently serving a four-game suspension.
Somehow, first-year defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has helped to piece together the league's eighth-best defense in terms of yards.
Strong safety Quintin Mikell is proud of the way that the defense has responded to all of the adversity this season.
"Obviously when you're losing your starting guys, that only hurts, but I'm proud of the way we're doing it," Mikell said. "We're not firing on all cylinders because we lost a lot of guys that are important to our schemes and our team, but the guys that have stepped in have done a great job so far. We can always do better but we're happy."
Head coach Andy Reid added that a lot of the credit has to go to the position coaches, as well.
"The coaches have done a nice job. They've spent a lot of extra time with the young guys," Reid said. "There are some good things that come with the youth. They have that energy that they bring and they go one hundred and ten miles an hour whether they're right or wrong. There's going to be a mistake here and there so you have to be patient with it. At the same time, we try to maintain the urgency. When you hire coaches, you want to hire teachers first. That's what we're here to do and I think the guys have done a good job."
Every team at this time of year is dealing with injuries. Mikell said that if you complain about injuries then "you're looking at it the wrong way."
"You have to look at it as an opportunity, especially if you are the guy stepping in, you have to look at is an opportunity to show what you can do and help the team get better," Mikell said. "Nobody wants to be the guy that steps in and is the reason why we're not playing well. I think that's been a big help. Also, everyone else is rallying around, our coaches, our players who are injured or on the team, and making ourselves better."
Of course, it helps to have the leadership to set the tone that the unit's play will not drop off just because of injury.
"I think that we have a good core of guys that are leaders and want to win, and we have a defensive coordinator in Coach McDermott that has done a great job of moving guys in and out at the right speed and tuning up the game plan to counter that," Mikell said. "I think that we have done pretty well with that so far."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 5:05 p.m., November 27