Eagles reshuffle LBs going into game with Bears

November 21, 2009 9:35:16 PM PST
For the second consecutive week, the Eagles will go with a different look at linebacker because of a knee injury to weakside starter Akeem Jordan.

Coach Andy Reid ruled out Jordan for Sunday night's game at Chicago.

Will Witherspoon will again start at weakside LB, and second-year man Joe Mays will start in the middle. Chris Gocong, who started in the middle in last week's loss to San Diego, will move back to his customary spot on the strong side. Rookie Moise Fokou, who started the past two games on the strong side, appears to be the odd man out.

It's the sixth different set of linebackers the Eagles will start in their 10th game of the season.

"A lot will depend on the personnel group (the Bears) put out there," Reid said. "We have some different combinations we can use."

Mays became the starting middle linebacker in training camp when Stewart Bradley went out for the season with a torn ACL. Mays did not play well enough to keep the job when the season opened and lost it to Omar Gaither, who eventually joined Bradley on injured reserve with a foot injury.

"He's been working out there a little bit," Reid said of Mays. "He worked a little bit last week, too. Like I said, there are different combinations we can use."

Mays, a second-year linebacker from North Dakota State, was inactive for five of the team's first six games. He played the past three games, primarily on special teams, and played well on kick teams last week in San Diego.

"It's all come around," cornerback Sheldon Brown said. "I think it might be a good thing. You have Will playing will (weakside), which is his natural position. You have a guy in the middle who is a middle linebacker, and Chris is back on the strong side where he is used to playing."

Brown is used to starting at cornerback. Since he was drafted in 2002, he has played in all 121 regular-season games, plus another 12 playoff games. This week he is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury he suffered in San Diego.

"If I don't play it won't be my choice," Brown said. "I don't know what the percentages are, but I feel like I'm going to play." The veteran did limited work Thursday and Friday in practice. Reid said it will be a game-time decision.

"We'll see how it goes there," Reid said. "We'll just see how he does. He moved around pretty good today when he was in the team period. He took all the scout team reps yesterday and felt pretty good coming out of it. We'll see how that works out."

NOTES: Reid also said wide receiver Kevin Curtis (knee), safety Quintin Demps (ankle) and running back Brian Westbrook (concussion) are out for Sunday's game. Curtis will miss his eighth straight game, and Reid says he is still weeks away. ... Rookie Victor Harris will replace Demps on kickoff returns.


Load Comments