Eagles have linebackers coordinator wanted before season
PHILADELPHIA (AP) For the first time since opening night, the Philadelphia Eagles will have the rotation at inside linebacker defensive coordinator Billy Davis hoped to have.
What Davis won't have is the inside linebacker who has made the most plays for him this season.
Rookie Jordan Hicks went on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn pectoral muscle, putting the burden on three veteran linebackers - Mychal Kendricks, DeMeco Ryans and Kiko Alonso - to pick up the slack.
All three should be healthy when the Eagles host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Kendricks, who missed all of three games and part of another with a hamstring injury, has been back for three weeks. Ryans, who missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, was listed as probable on Friday's official injury report. And Alonso, who missed five games, returned on a limited basis Sunday and should see increased playing time, this Sunday.
''It's a big hit,'' Davis said of Jordan's injury. ''You know, it's a shame that it happened, but as soon as I saw the nature of the injury, you've seen enough of them, been around enough, especially having a background in linebacker coaching, I kind of had an idea that's what happened.''
''We're back to the guys that we originally started with,'' he said. ''It's just a shame for Jordan because he really was coming along strong. I think he would have been a rookie of the year candidate without question.''
Hicks, who did not play a snap on defense in the opener, shares the team lead in tackles with 54, is first in solo tackles with 44, and has a sack, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Now it's up to Alonso, who was acquired in a trade with Buffalo for running back LeSean McCoy, to show those playmaking skills.
However, Davis still isn't sure how much Alonso can give him.
''That's a process to come. I think we played him about the right amount (last Sunday against Dallas) and we'll take it in the right way,'' he said. ''With all the guys who are injured, we have to be a little bit more on the conservative edge.''
The Ryans coming back should help the run defense, which has allowed two consecutive backs - Carolina's Jon Stewart and Dallas' Darren McFadden - to gain over 100 yards each.
''We have to get back to playing solid run defense,'' Ryans said. ''Playing the run is more than just one guy. It's everybody feeding off each other.''
NOTES: Left tackle Jason Peters (back), who missed last week's game against Dallas, is listed as questionable for Sunday. Backup safety Jerome Couplin (shoulder) and backup offensive lineman Josh Andrews (concussion) are out.
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