Injuries keep piling up for Eagles on defense
PHILADELPHIA — Now injuries are piling up for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Linebacker Kiko Alonso and defensive tackle Cedric Thornton won't play Sunday at the New York Jets and linebacker Mychal Kendricks also may be out. The Eagles (0-2) have struggled on offense in the first two games. Losing three starters on defense won't make things easier.
"We've got depth and we're very confident with who we have in there," defensive coordinator Billy Davis said Tuesday.
Alonso hurt his surgically repaired left knee and Thornton broke a bone in his right hand in a 20-10 loss to Dallas. Kendricks, who injured a hamstring, has an "outside chance" to play, according to Davis.
Alonso missed the 2014 season with Buffalo after tearing his left ACL. There's concern he may have reinjured the ligament.
"He's still in the evaluation process, so we are crossing our fingers and hoping everything turns out for the best," Davis said.
Veteran DeMeco Ryans and rookie Jordan Hicks would start for Alonso and Kendricks. Ryans is the team's defensive leader, but has been slowed in his return from surgery on his Achilles tendon. He made two tackles on a goal-line stand against Dallas.
"DeMeco, we are bringing him back on a little bit of a pitch count because of the injury he's coming back from," Davis said. "But DeMeco Ryans is DeMeco. We have nothing but confidence in DeMeco."
Hicks knocked out Tony Romo for two months with a sack that broke his left collarbone
"Hicks is a very mature rookie," Davis said. "He went out there and it was not too big for him."
The Eagles signed linebacker Najee Goode, who was the team's final cut in the preseason, to add depth. Goode played here the past two seasons and started a game in 2013.
They also get back second-year linebacker Marcus Smith, a first-round pick who played little last season. He returns from a hamstring injury that forced him to miss most of the preseason. Smith was a healthy inactive against the Cowboys.
Thornton, who wore a semi-cast on his hand, could return in two weeks. He's played every game since 2012 and started 35 in a row. Brandon Bair and Taylor Hart will rotate in his place.
"Taylor is great at the technique that we play with shock and shed and the way he gets his hands on people and then disengages and gets to the ball," Davis said. "Taylor is going to be a good football player for us."