Injuries to Jackson, Weaver have big implications

By MATTHEW WATERS
Staff Writer — mwaters@highhopesblog.com

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Stewart Bradley in the first half of Sunday's opener. (Photo: Getty)

The Philadelphia Eagles going into week one were defined by their youth as they attempted to start their own legacy in the beginning of the post-McNabb era. The Eagles going into week two are simply trying to pick up the pieces.

Philly suffered some devastating losses in their 27-20 week one loss against the Green Bay Packers. The loss of the quarterbacks on each side of the ball, Kevin Kolb and middle linebacker Stewart Bradley, to concussions is bad enough, but at least they’ll be back eventually.

Center Jamaal Jackson and fullback Leonard Weaver were two important links in the offensive chain for the Eagles and are now gone for the season due to Weaver’s ACL tear and Jackson’s tricep tear. Center and fullback are two of the least glorified positions on an offense, but both Jackson and Weaver were set to play critical roles this season.

Weaver is one of the most reliable fullbacks since Mike Alstott and was always ready to take the ball on any down, especially third and short, but knew his role as a fullback was to protect on passing downs and block on halfback runs—both roles particularly important this season with young players at both positions. Now, it’s unclear what his future holds as the extent of the damage won’t be known until his surgery, which has not be scheduled yet. Because of how graphic the injury was, no one has ruled out any diagnosis, including career-ending.

Weaver was also an emotional leader on the team and was thankful for the role he was given in Philly; as he was helped off the field Sunday, seemingly not wanting to go out on a cart, it left many wondering whether his tears were just from the pain or the disappointment of a lost season. He later was quoted as saying he still intends to be a leader on the team, but it won’t be the same when he isn’t in the huddle hyping the guys up.

Filling in for him will be newly signed fullback Owen Schmitt, previously with the Seattle Seahawks, drafted out of West Virginia in 2008. Schmitt only had five carries in his two seasons in Seattle and is better known for his savage self-beating during the line up announcements in a game against Jacksonville last season. It’s great that the kid gets that excited to play, but the last thing this team needs right now is more head injuries.

Jackson, who underwent surgery Tuesday to repair his triceps, was the one piece everyone—fans, media and even teammates—were waiting on to return after a missed season as he rehabbed his ACL which was injured late last season. The line looked questionable at best in the preseason, but as long as Jackson came back from his injury and could hold his own they more than likely would be fine. Now, with Jackson sidelined, Mike McGlynn has to step up and be thankful he got all that practice in the preseason.

It’s refreshing that McGlynn holds himself and the line accountable and is quick to admit they made their mistakes, specifically with letting Clay Matthews wreck havoc in the backfield all afternoon, despite everyone on the line not playing together during the preseason.

“It’s tough having that camaraderie, but you cant make excuses,” he said. “We’re paid to do that, do our job, go out there and block. Like I said, we’ll get in that film room tomorrow and correct our mistakes.”

McGlynn plans on taking advantage of his new role, especially since he’s filling the role of a player who could now be tagged as injury prone. The offensive line will need him to shine, especially with Jason Peters and Todd Herremans both with ankle injuries.

All of this does not bode well for a week two game against the Lions in Detroit. These are not the Lions of old and played particularly well last week despite the loss to the Bears due to a controversial call on what would have been a game-winning touchdown for Detroit. Expect them to come in looking for vengeance, but it won’t be as easy without quarterback Matthew Stafford under center after suffering a dislocated shoulder. Come back Friday for my week two match up breakdown to see where the Eagles will shine and where their injuries may become glaringly apparent.

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