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Spadaro: 6 storylines to follow Sunday vs. Colts

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

Some news, some notes, and a reminder that with everything that has gone on this week – injuries, adding veteran defensive tackles – there is a game on Sunday at the 4-5-1 Colts and it's a big one for Philadelphia coming off Monday night's loss ...

1. Big Suh Is Here

He is wearing jersey number 74, so that's bit unusual in and of itself. Ndamukong Suh landed in Philadelphia at 11 PM on Thursday night, reached the NovaCare Complex on Friday morning, and was on the practice field in the afternoon? Will he play on Sunday in Indianapolis?

"That's all up to the coaches," Suh said after practice. "I'm going to study my hardest. I just got in here late last night, went through physicals, and just got through with my coach (Defensive Line Coach Tracy Rocker). I will get back to the books tonight after I run through some stuff from there."

The scheme is nothing "technically new to me," said Suh, who has played in "every single scheme in the NFL. It's going to be more about terminology. Everybody has different terminology."

What keeps him going?

"Championships, that's what keeps me going," he said. "I have an opportunity to play for one. This team has done an amazing job thus far and I feel I can come and help, but first I have to get acclimated and then go from there."

Suh said he wants "to add value" and help the Eagles get "over the hump" in whatever role the coaching staff has in mind for him. A five-time All-Pro and member of the NFL's All-Decade Team in the 2010s, Suh has an incredible resume since he was selected with the second overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. He hasn't played since the 2021 season when he six quarterback sacks, seven tackles for loss, and 13 quarterback hits for Tampa Bay in 17 starts.

Suh said he has stayed in outstanding shape in the months since the 2021 season ended, but there is certainly a different between being in shape and being in football shape. And what's the only way to get into football shape?

"There is only one way to get into football shape, which is playing," he said. "But you can prepare yourself and be ready to get into football shape versus having to go through multiple levels of getting ready to play."

How will Suh fit in with this new-look defensive tackle group that includes Linval Joseph, who had his second practice with the team on Friday? That remains to be seen, of course.

"I'm open arms and ready to go from that standpoint," he said.

2. What Coach Nick Says

Suh doesn't yet know the plan the coaches have in mind for him in large part because the coaches have to see where Suh is on the football field. Prior to Friday's practice, Head Coach Nick Sirianni was asked about the plan moving forward for Suh, including this weekend.

"We'll see where, you know, how quick it is till he's ready, all those different things. We have some time to work with them and teach him the defense and everything like that, but we'll see how that goes," Sirianni said. "We don't have to give any information on if he'll start this week, if he'll play this week. Probably not getting that from me, right. One, there's a little bit of an unknown; and two, I don't want the Colts to know anything."

Tune in at 12:10 PM for the Kickoff Show delivered by Little Caesars on Sunday.

3. A Scouting Report on Linval Joseph

Linebacker Kyzir White played with new defensive tackle Linval Joseph in 2020-21 with the Chargers in Los Angeles and provides this scouting report. Who, after all, would know a defensive tackle better than the linebacker who lines up behind him on every snap?

White raved about Joseph on Friday.

"Real instinctive guy, strong, powerful, loves football," White said. "He has one of the highest motors of anybody I've ever been around and he's a great teammate. He's so powerful. I've never seen anybody move him, whether they try to double-team him or single-block him. I've never seen him get moved back.

"He kept me clean (free of offensive linemen). You saw all the tackles I had last year, man. That's Linval and him occupying blockers. It's crazy that we both end up here. He's going to help us and it's going to be a smooth transition for him. He's going to make life a lot easier for the linebackers, for sure.

4. The Offense Without TE Dallas Goedert

The Eagles head into Sunday minus tight end Dallas Goedert, who has been placed on Injured Reserve after suffering a shoulder injury on Monday night. How do things change for the offense without him?

"A lot," running back Miles Sanders said, "but we've got depth and the guys that are bumping up, I have no doubt that they're gonna ball. Jack (Stoll) and Grant (Calcaterra), and then you've got Tyree (Jackson) who is going to get his chance now that he's cleared to play. I know how excited he is to play.

"But it's going to take all of us. Indianapolis has a defense that likes to penetrate and get up the field. They try to get after the ball. Their linebackers are downhill. Their safeties are in the box, too, so you're looking at a 7- or 8-man box all the time. They play with a very heavy box. That makes it difficult to run the ball for teams. They're tough. They play hard."

5. A.J. Brown Knows Colts Well

The last time A.J. Brown played the Colts in Indianapolis, he had 10 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown in a win for the Tennessee Titans. Brown compiled a 4-2 record against the Colts while a member of the Titans, with 21 receptions for 344 yards and two scores.

He's very familiar with the Colts and what they are all about in that hostile environment.

"I know these guys well," Brown said. "This is a really good defense. They added a couple of pieces on the back end and they play really hard. Playing these guys has never been an easy matchup. Indy is probably one of my favorite places to play."

6. On Sunday, A Reunion With Rodney McLeod

He played a huge part in the success of the Eagles from 2016-21 and now Rodney McLeod is a starter with the Colts at strong safety. In 10 games, eight starts, McLeod has 51 total tackles, three passes defensed, and one interception.

"Rodney brings a lot of leadership to any team that he's on," Sirianni said. "He's a great person, great player, great leader, super smart, and you can see that he's identifying plays that are coming and that he's a step quick to it because of how his accelerated vision works and how smart of a football player he is. So, we need to know that, and we do know that and have to make sure we put some seeds of doubt in his head. So, a lot of respect for Rodney. Look forward to saying hello to him after the game, but he's playing good football."

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