Hicks Says he Will be Ready for Season Opener
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Jordan Hicks has been limited throughout much of training camp and the preseason, first with a broken pinkie finger suffered during his Honeymoon in Greece and then with a groin injury that knocked him from the joint practice sessions with Miami.
Despite that, the star middle linebacker has no doubts he will be ready when the bell rings on Sept. 10 in Washington.
"None," Hicks said when asked if he would be a go for Week 1 prior to Monday's practice. "None whatsoever. I'll be there."
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, however, admitted that if the Eagles had a game to play today, Hicks would not be available and Nigel Bradham has been cross-training a bit at the mike spot in the nickel opposite Mychal Kendricks, the first time those two have worked together in such a circumstance.
"Right now, we've worked, even in practice yesterday, we have worked some stuff where Nigel Bradham moved into the Mike linebacker and Mych moved into Nigel's spot to get those guys out there in nickel together, and that’s something Nigel hasn't done," Schwartz said. "If we had a game today, [LB] Jordan Hicks couldn't play. It's our responsibility to get the guys that can best produce on the field."
To date versatile backup Najee Goode (who is also injured) has handled most of the work with the first team when Hicks hasn't been out there but Schwartz acknowledged there is a difference between rotating players in training camp and getting then ready to step in during the regular season.
"There's a difference between rotating during training camp and a regular-season game, trying to cover things," Schwartz admitted. "...Traditionally, what you've been seeing in training camp, you're sort of rolling groups, and getting guys reps.
"In practice, particularly in the last couple days, we've been working more Redskins type stuff, and things like that. It just gave us a good chance to work that. We're certainly optimistic that [LB] Jordan [Hicks] will be back. But our job, as a team, our job as coaches, is to be ready to be able to figure out a lot of different ways to go. And particularly a lot of times inside the game it's hard to do that. But when you have a week of preparation, you can mess with your lineup a little bit more."
Hicks, meanwhile, hopes to start doing some work at practice by Tuesday.
"I'll probably do some stuff tomorrow," the LB said. "Maybe not everything. But, going into Redskins week, I should be good."
The on-field leader of the Eagles defense has also been impressed with some of the younger talent behind him and the starters at the linebacker position, which includes second-year players Joe Walker and Kamu Grugier-Hill as well as rookie Nate Gerry.
"I think we're pretty good," Hicks assessed. "... Joe Walker's come a long way. The young guys, Kamu, Nate [Gerry], obviously, they're young but they're top-notch athletically. You see a lot of athleticism, a lot of play-making ability, from just about everybody in this group. I have a lot of confidence in our guys. I know we're going to keep working to get better."
-Nick Foles was back at practice and doing at least some work. Others held out of the session today included Gerry (hamstring), cornerback Ron Brooks (hamstring), defensive end Brandon Graham (triceps), receiver Paul Turner (scapula) and defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao.
-Veteran safety Corey Graham took Terrence Brooks' No. 24 while wide receiver Marcus Johnson has shifted from No. 84 to No. 14.
-Keep an eye on Gerry's hamstring injury. The Eagles may consider putting the rookie on injured reserve in order to get Grugier-Hill's and his special teams acumen on the final 53.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen