Middle linebacker has been a position of constant flux for the Eagles in 2009. Since Stewart Bradley suffered a torn ACL in training camp, five different players have started games at middle linebacker, and the experimentation at the position is still ongoing.
Last week against the Bears, Joe Mays got the lion's share at middle linebacker in the base defense, but Jeremiah Trotter took over in the second half. With weakside linebacker Akeem Jordan out again this week with a hyper-extended knee, it's expected that Trotter and Mays will split time in the middle again this Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
For Trotter, it was the first significant playing time on defense that he's had since week six against the Oakland Raiders.
"It felt good to get out there and kind of get into a little rhythm, (get) some plays back to back," Trotter said. "It felt good just to go out there and make some plays, knowing I could help the team.
"I had a feeling that I was going to play more than I had the last couple games. Every week I just try to stay ready because you never know when your number is going to get called and if you're not ready you might not get another chance."
Trotter and the coaching staff have all said that Trotter has looked a lot better physically as the season has gone on. Trotter says he's finally back to playing shape after joining the team during the week four bye week.
"I knew it was only a matter of time before God gave me my legs back," he said. "It's like night and day. I think God has really given my legs back to me, and I think I feel more comfortable in the defense too."
"He's worked extremely hard to get himself back into shape where he can play and play well," said defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. "I think it's important that we manage our expectations with Jeremiah. With the point that he's at in his career, that we have a good blend between Joe (Mays) and Trotter at the same time."
Aside from contributing on defense and providing important on-the-field leadership, Trotter was able to do something against the Bears that he hasn't done in a long time - the axe chop.
I haven't done that since "the last time I left the Eagles," said Trotter. "I didn't get to do the axe chop in Tampa, so it's been a while. There was a little rust on it, but I was glad we were able to come out with a win.
"It felt good. It's been kind of sitting on the side for a long time and I felt like I had to bring it out. I tried to set the tone today for the defense."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 10:20 a.m., November 28