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'When it's your turn, you make the most of it'

Nicholas Morrow
Nicholas Morrow

Cornerback Darius Slay just wanted to take a moment to recognize the unsung players who contributed to Thursday night's win over Minnesota. They were largely ignored by the swarms of reporters in the Lincoln Financial Field locker room, but Slay wasn't having any of that.

He wanted to shout out Josh Jobe and Mario Goodrich and Eli Ricks and others. The young guys who stepped up. The ones who made the most of an opportunity.

"We're always preaching next-man mentality and those guys were ready to go," Slay said. "At any given time, they know it can be them. I'm thankful for this group. I know it was tough on them. We throw a lot at them and we had Minnesota coming in here with a great offense, one of the best receivers in the league.

"Our guys, they stepped up real big at a critical moment. It was good. We had fun out there and won a game. The guys were prepared and they played hard. We have to correct some things – we ain't all perfect – and that's the next step."

The next step is to take advantage of the extra time this week – the mini-bye weekend, the extra day during the week preparing for Monday Night Football in Tampa – and get the roster house in order for the 2-0 Buccaneers. The Eagles are going to be without linebacker Nakobe Dean, on Injured Reserve with a foot injury, along with cornerback Avonte Maddox, who Head Coach Nick Sirianni confirmed on Monday is out with a significant injury, reported to be a torn pectoral muscle.

Additionally, cornerback James Bradberry remains in concussion protocol and safety Reed Blankenship and running back Kenneth Gainwell missed the Minnesota contest with rib injuries. Several other players left that game with injuries, and all of the injury updates will be announced later in the week. Sirianni on Monday said he feels "good everyone has a chance to play this week."

Already, though, roster depth has been tested. That's the nature of the NFL.


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"Everybody is here for a reason," center Jason Kelce said. "It is our job to prepare to play, no matter who you are. So, it's beneficial to our team that these players, every player, is ready every single day. That's what we are here doing. That is our job."

The ability to have roster flexibility and great confidence in the 16-man practice squad helps as well. The Eagles went heavy at certain positions when they kept seven cornerbacks on the initial 53-man roster. They figured they would need depth at defensive tackle in the course of a long season, so they kept seven of them on the first 53, along with six edge rushers.

Linebacker Nicholas Morrow signed with the Eagles in free agency and then didn't make the original 53-man roster and signed on to the practice squad, but he was called up when Dean was injured in the New England game and Morrow responded with 55 strong snaps against Minnesota and helped line up the defense.

"You have to be ready, be a professional," Morrow said. "We all just want an opportunity to play, so when it's your turn, you make the most of it."

Safety Terrell Edmunds sure did with Blankenship out. Edmunds started and was involved in one of the biggest plays of the game, forcing a fumble – for the first time in his career – when he jarred the ball loose from wide receiver Justin Jefferson. The ball bounced over the pylon and out of the end zone for a touchback and the Eagles took possession of the football and Minnesota missed out on some points.

A huge play. Edmunds made it happen by working hard all the way to the whistle.

"It was big. It was something that we all talked about – even when guys went down during the game," Edmunds said. "We all know how to play, so let's go out and have fun, work together and play our best ball and that's what we did."

And the Eagles won a big early-season game, using every part of the 69-man roster, building confidence and depth for what's ahead this season.

Check out the best photos from a thrilling home opener win on Thursday Night Football.

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