Eagles Still Have Plenty of Questions at Cornerback
The Eagles are running out of bodies at cornerback, Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes are locked in a battle for one of the final roster spots, but are running out of time to get back before the regular season begins.
Neither Marsh nor Hughes will play in the preseason finale on Thursday against Oakland, each suffering from a broken hand
"We are concerned," admitted Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. "With three of those guys going out, that's where postgame on Thursday will be a big day in terms of what becomes available. But our whole thought is we've got to play with what we've got. So that is a concern when you have three guys at the same position out right now."
Marsh fractured his left hand in the team's second preseason game, while Hughes suffered a broken hand in Saturday night's preseason game against the Jaguars.
"Don't have that yet," Kelly said of the timetable when those guys could return. "When can they come back? There will be a consultation with our doctors. When can we expect them? Is it back week three, is it back week eight? All of that has to go into the final decisions of who is playing 53."
Kelly admitted that due to the injuries and lack of numbers at the position, that he is going to have to play his starters in the final preseason game against the Jets tomorrow night.
"Our starters will not play, although in the secondary we may have to have one or two just because of the injuries at that point in time. We've got to kind of finalize that in the next day or two here. But with [CB Eddie] Whitley and [CB Brandon] Hughes and [CB Curtis] Marsh being out, we can't go through with just four guys available back there," Kelly said.
Whitley left the game against the Jaguars in the third quarter with a right knee injury, he was waived from the team on Monday. The situation with Hughes is a little more concerning when you think about what Kelly said about when can he come back will play a big factor in who makes the team - Hughes was already on the bubble, if he can't get back soon, he could be gone after Thursday.
"So there may be one or two of the secondary guys that we're going to have to roll through there a little bit," Kelly said. "But besides that, we'll have to keep the ones out. Then get the guys trying to get that cut down from 75 to 53, the predominant amount of work, so we have big decisions to make on Fridays and Saturdays."
But it's not just Hughes, but the position he plays. Whitley was waived this week, rookie Jordan Poyer had a lot of hype as a seventh round steal, but hasn't flashed that potential during camp, and the former third-round pick Marsh is still recovering from his fractured hand.
"There's a lot up in the air right now and I think every chance you have an opportunity to see our guys compete; and obviously the games are different than the training sessions out here," Kelly said. "It's the last real good shot of us getting an opportunity to see how they react in an environment. It's as close to a regular season as you can get, so it's a huge night for all of those guys."
One player who will be on the field, though: Trevard Lindley. The former fourth-round pick was considered a long-shot to make the team, but might have a chance now with Marsh and Hughes both missing this game with injuries.
Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, and Brandon Boykin are the only locks to make the team, while Lindley, Hughes, Poyer and Marsh still fighting for what could be two or three spots.