PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles could be without their top defensive playmaker as they face a team coming off a 41-point output last week.
Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who suffered a calf injury in last Monday’s win over the Indianapolis Colts, missed practice for the second straight day, Thursday, in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.
”Right now he’s very doubtful for today, actually he’s out today,” Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said before Thursday’s practice. ”We’ll see how he does Friday and Saturday.”
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Kendricks had a MRI taken this week, but Kelly said he did not have the results.
”I don’t know,” Kelly said. ”I don’t ask. Can we get this out of the way? I’m never going to ask. I don’t care. Just tell me if they can play or can’t play. That’s all I ever ask. I’m not a doctor. So it’s grade 32. I don’t know what that means. You don’t know what that means. Just tell me if he can play or can’t play that’s the conversation I have with (trainer) Chris Peduzzi and Dr. (Peter) DeLuca.”
Kendricks injured his calf late in the third quarter of Monday night’s game on a 2nd-and-8 play from the Colts 34 on the drive that led to Indianapolis taking a 27-20 lead. He did not return.
The Eagles came back to win, 30-27, on a final second field goal from Cody Parkey.
Kendrick’s absence would create a hole in an Eagles defense that has struggled in the first half of both of its wins, but played better in the second half.
Washington, which rolled up 41 points last week against Jacksonville, will test the Eagles’ defense with a balanced offense behind quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Alfred Morris.
”I think Mychal has just been a continuation of last year’s improvement,” Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis said Wednesday. ”I think you saw Mychal get better and better. We talk about it often with his understanding of the defense. He’s been highly productive in the first two games we’ve had. So I think he’s on an ascent and still is. He’s an ascending player.”
Last year, his first in Davis’ 3-4 scheme, Kendricks was second on the team in tackles with 137. He also had four quarterback sacks, six quarterback hurries, a team-high three interceptions and a team-high four fumble recoveries.
In the first two games this year, Kendricks leads the Eagles in tackles with 13, has one of the team’s three sacks and three of the team’s five quarterback hurries. If he cannot go Sunday, he’ll be replaced by either Casey Matthews or Emmanuel Acho.
Matthews immediately replaced Kendrick during the Colts’ game, but Acho then replaced Matthews on the Colts’ final drive.
Both backup linebackers have been splitting time with the first unit in practice Wednesday and Thursday.
Davis said the two are basically equal.
”We have complete confidence in both of them,” the coordinator said. ”We’ll see how the week plays out, but it could be Casey or Acho, or a mix of both. They’re both very intelligent guys that can set our front. They understand the defense thoroughly. So very similar skill sets, not a lot of differences between them.”
Acho, 6-2, 240, has played in a total of seven games in his three-year career and has never started.
Matthews, 6-1, 245, was a fourth-round draft pick of the Eagles in 2011. He’s played in 50 games over his four years, including four starts as the middle linebacker in the team’s old 4-3 scheme.