Philadelphia Defense Banged Up as it Heads to Chicago

Joselio Hanson will start at cornerback on Sunday if Asante Samuel's knee sprain keeps him out.

The Eagles hop on a plane to Chicago tomorrow to take on the Bears with three key defensive players listed as questionable.  Cornerback Asante Samuel (knee sprain), defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (abdominal strain) and defensive end Juqua Parker (hip flexor strain) are all “day-to-day,” according to head coach Andy Reid.

“I haven’t made up my mind which ones, if all, will travel,” Reid said.  “As of today, they’re traveling and we’ll just see what happens and they’re all questionable here.”

Samuel leads the league in interceptions and the Bears have turnover issues, while Parker and Dixon are key components of the Birds’ improved run defense.  The Bears are likely to try to grind out yards on the ground with running back Matt Forte, and while they’ve thrown more than run overall this season, that’s changed since their bye four weeks ago.

In the last three games, Chicago has increased its rushing attempts each week while averaging more than 36 runs compared to 30 passes.  The Bears won all three games.

Reid said all three of his injured players are improving, but wouldn’t speculate on whether any will be available Sunday.  If they can’t go, Brandon Graham would start at defensive end, Brodrick Bunkley would take over at defensive tackle and Joselio Hanson would start at cornerback.

“I’m just excited to go out there and play,” Hanson said. “I just want to have fun and try to get to 8-3 so I just want to go out there and have fun and really make plays.  It’s the NFL, it’s a dream, so live your dream.”

If he starts, Hanson will have big shoes to fill, as Samuel has seven interceptions.

“Hey, I’m just going to play my game and hopefully I can get a couple,” Hanson said.  When Cutler’s propensity for throwing interceptions was brought up, Hanson added, “One guy had four in one game, so hopefully I can have a game like that.”

For Eagles news and insight, follow Ryan Messick on Twitter.

Topics: Antonio Dixon, Asante Samuel, Bears, Brandon Graham, Brodrick Bunkley, Eagles, Eagles Injuries, Joselio Hanson, Juqua Parker

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