I’m not a doctor or anything, but when 11 players don’t make the trip for a preseason game due to a variety of ailments, I call that a problem.
Needless to say, the Eagles have endured one of the most brutal and costly training camps/preseasons in recent memory, and it’s not even half-way over. Yikes.
What are we to make of all these hurts? I’ve decided to breakdown each guy and offer my unscientific opinion on the severity of each boo boo. Wish me luck.
- Shawn Andrews – Let me get this straight. He visited the surgeon who cut him open and the dude confirmed what Reid has been saying all along. It’s not “structural.” In other words, Shawn’s back hurts. Apparently, it hurts to the point where he can’t practice. The doc even told him he needs to start doing stuff to loosen up the muscles. Something besides jogging on a treadmill and bitching at the media. It seems like Reid is growing tired of excuses. Aren’t we all? I hate to say it, but if the Big Kid isn’t willing to put in the work necessary to get himself right, it speaks to a lack of dedication to the game… again. I still say the Birds will be lucky to get two starts from him this season.
- Todd Herremans – I read about the difference between a stress reaction and a stress fracture. Sounds to me like a reaction leads to a fracture, if you’re not careful. I hope Burkholder and his staff monitor this one closely. Because if they march Todd onto the field September 13th and he’s not healthy, I will be pissed. Luckily, there is depth with Nick Cole and Max. That being said, Todd is a Pro Bowl level player. A prolonged absence would be bad.
- Brian Westbrook – Looks good thus far. Will he be ready for Carolina? Barring a setback, I say yes. On the flip-side. How long can he go in ’09 before getting nicked? Does he still possess the explosiveness that made him one of the most feared backs in football? Not even he knows for sure. I’ve got my fingers crossed. Thankfully, Shady appears more than capable of filling the void if asked.
- Kevin Kolb – Dead. Man. Walking. With Vick lingering over his shoulder, I don’t care if Kevin takes another snap. A.J. will be the one to go, but I trust him way more than I do Kolb. I’ve seen Feeley win games. I’ve seen Kolb do squat.
- Trent Cole – Shoulder sprains are tricky. In particular, for defenders. They have to wrap up and drive players into the ground. It’s very easy to aggravate these types of maladies. Like Todd, I hope he’s not rushed back.
- Omar Gaither – Mild knee sprain. Not concerned.
- Stacy Andrews – I must applaud the trainers and Big Red for not throwing Stacy into the fire. It hasn’t even been a full eight months since he went under the knife. Although, I wonder if one of the reasons they are holding him back is the spate of injuries to his fellow linemates. Don’t press your luck seems like a sensible philosophy with Stacy.
- Darren Howard – Oh, boy. It’s deja vu all over again. L.J. Smith was feeling great in ’07 after his sports hernia surgery. Then he felt a pain in another area. Bye, bye L.J. Ditto for Curtis this offseason, who needed an “extra” procedure on top of the one he already had. And yes, he looks a step slow and somewhat tentative cutting in and out of routes. Howard is critical to this defense’s success. His ability to rush from outside and inside is problematic for offenses. I have a bad feeling about this one. Sorry, but I do.
- Sheldon Brown – Bruised ribs. No big deal. Besides, they have Hobbs.
- Bryan Smith – Perhaps the concussion knocked some motivation into him. He’s been a major disappointment and is in danger of being dumped.
- Victor Abiamiri – Vic made the trip, but how many plays will he make it through before getting hurt again? Three, five, seven? I place him in the same class as Shawn. Unreliable. Prove to me you can endure the rigors of an NFL season, maybe I’ll give you some love. Until then…
- Jason Peters – I saved the best for last. Do you get the feeling JP is not a fan of training camp? He held out with the Bills last year, and has been all but invisible with a “quad” strain this summer. I hope he’s a gamer, because at this point there hasn’t been much return on the $60 million investment. The dude is a monster with tons of talent. However, he also appears to be a tad lazy.
Again, they still have two games left after tonight’s. There will be more injuries. If three-fifths of the projected starting O-line is available opening day, consider that a positive. One positive in a sack full of negative.