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Spadaro: Adversity arrives to test roster depth

Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro
Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro

This is from long before the regular season started, before the Eagles ripped off eight wins in a row and lit up all of those Power Rankings and had the media heads making wild predictions about what could happen way, way down the road in this 2022 campaign. Howie Roseman had just put together the initial 53-man roster, which is really a 69-man roster including the practice squad and what is really a locker room that extends well into the 70s given the additional moves that inevitably need to be made.

Roseman wasn't looking at any wins and losses and he wasn't writing predictions down. He was merely understanding of the way a season's cadence happens. He knew that he and the Eagles were just starting a long, long marathon of a journey in 2022.

"I know how the season is going to go," he said back in early, early September. "I know there are going to be some really great times. I know there are going to be moments that all of us are kind of concerned about, but in the end, I think we're all going to stick together."

So, that's where the Eagles are right now. They're sticking together as they contend with what every team deals with in the course of a 17-game season: Injuries. A flurry of moves on Wednesday reset this roster, but you know it's not done, right? We're nine games in, with eight and hopefully the postseason to go. The Eagles are 8-1, tied for the best record in football. And they, like every team, have to test the depth of their roster right now and they feel like they are well-equipped to do just that at some key positions. Let's give you the overview and then dig into each group.

Defensive Tackle

With Jordan Davis and Marlon Tuipulotu on Injured Reserve, the Eagles agreed to terms on Wednesday with veteran Linval Joseph, a two-time Pro Bowl player who has been with the Giants, Vikings, and Chargers in his career. He's a 325-pound load who specializes in run defense and both he and the Eagles are "hopeful" that he can play Sunday against the Colts. Joseph is expected to practice on Thursday after starting 12 games with the Chargers last season.

"We had an opportunity to add a good player that we played against last year and who made things very difficult for us last year in that Chargers game (Joseph had a team-high 9 tackles in that November 7 game, won by Los Angeles at Lincoln Financial Field)," Head Coach Nick Sirianni said. "There are a lot of guys here that have had opportunities to be around him. Coach Gannon (Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon), Coach Rallis (Linebackers Coach Nick Rallis), (Vice President of Sports Medicine/Head Athletic Trainer) Tom Hunkele. I mean, there have been a lot of guys who have had experience with him, and we think he's the right type of guy for the locker room. We think he's still a heck of a football player and he's going to be able to help us."

The sentiment was the same in the locker room.

"He knows how to control the middle and be a force in there," defensive tackle Javon Hargrave said. "He will be able to come in and help us. I don't think it will be a tough adjustment for him."

Said defensive tackle Fletcher Cox: "We've got some guys banged up, so we all need to step up and be better against the run. We'll be all right. Nobody is in a panic. We will correct our problems. Giving up that much on the ground, that's not us. We're better than that as a group and we will show that."

Joseph has shown off his body on his Instagram page and the system the Eagles run here is similar to what he's done in the past. It is everyone's expectation that the Colts on Sunday, with Jonathan Taylor at running back, will test the Eagles in a big way with the ground game.

Tight End

Dallas Goedert was placed on Injured Reserve on Wednesday, so the Eagles are turning to their internal players to pick up the slack. It won't be a single player replacing Goedert, said Sirianni. It's a collective approach, as the Eagles have had Jack Stoll and Grant Calcaterra on the active roster all season, and they activated Tyree Jackson from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Wednesday. Also, Noah Togiai is on the practice squad and he knows the offense.

"How do we replace him? You can't, right? You have to do it by committee," Sirianni said. "You have tight ends that are there that we have a lot of faith in in this building; it'll start with them. Then it goes to where some of his targets go. Probably a couple will go to (WR) A.J. (Brown), probably a couple go to (WR) DeVonta (Smith), and then you have backs that get intertwined in that. Slot receivers that get intertwined with that with (WR) Quez (Watkins).

"You just have to balance it out and try to make – you're not the going to be able to duplicate everything he does because he has a unique skill set. You try to figure out who can do what he does, and can they do it, and then you put that stuff in your offense. Then some of it, you might lose some of your stuff in your offense because it's always about players, as we talk about. I know we have guys in this building that I have a lot of faith in, though."

One of those players is Calcaterra, a sixth-round draft pick who says he is ready for this moment.

"I feel ready. I stick to a process each week and this week the process isn't any different," Calcaterra said. "It's just me going out there and getting the same reps I normally do. I know my coaches will have me and the rest of the team prepared to fill that gap created by Dallas being out. I know it's about being ready to go and I know I will be able to do my best."


Nickel corner Avonte Maddox is on Injured Reserve and must miss at least another three games. Josiah Scott is set to start his fourth game of the season and already had 174 defensive snaps under his belt.

"I know the defense and I feel I'm getting better and better," Scott said. "The more reps you get, the more comfortable you will be, and the better you're going to play. I feel good about where I am in the defense."

Adversity hits every team eventually, right? Those teams that overcome it, brush it aside quickly, those are the teams that win in the end. The Eagles feel they are well-positioned to win despite the injuries, so what we have here is a critical and telling moment for Philadelphia and something Howie Roseman has known would be coming since long before this team was the apple of the media's eye. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Injuries happen, so you've just got to deal with them and move on successfully.

Get an exclusive look at Eagles pregame moments, skillfully captured by team photographer Kiel Leggere. You do not want to miss these photos.

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