Stewart Bradley, out for the season with a torn ACL
Only one week into training camp and injuries to the Eagles are starting to mount. The random quad contusion and stinger injuries are just camp bumps and bruises, but when you starting right tackle leaves with back spasms – an injury that kept him out of the line-up most of last season – and your starting middle linebacker tears his ACL, problems arise.
As reported yesterday, Stewart Bradley, the starting middle linebacker for the Eagles and a PhilaTude favorite, tore his ACL and will be out for the season. This is a huge loss for the Eagles. He was becoming a vocal leader on the defense and solid middle linebacker against the run and in pass coverage. Bradley appeared to be in excellent shape and poised for a solid season leading the defense. This is especially noteworthy that Bradley will out of the line-up because he was considered a strong vocal leader to help alleviate the leadership void left by Brian Dawkins. The Eagles will probably replace Bradley in the line-up with little Joe Mays or Omar Gaither. Rumors are swirling that the Eagles are going to sign Matt Wilhelm, formerly of the Chargers and Ohio State, but he isn’t a starter, just a depth guy. My perspective is to give Mays the nod. Of course, he will compete with Gaither in camp, but Joe Mays definitely knows the defense and could provide a serious infusion of competitiveness and toughness. The loss of Bradley hurts, but if Mays comes through, this could be a big surprise of the season.
Shawn Andrews’ injury bothers me. I am concerned that he is still having issues post back surgery, especially when he came into training camp in good shape, ready to play football. He is penciled in to be the starting right tackle, a new position for him in the NFL. If he returns to the excellent form he showed as the “Big Kid,” I think he will be a solid right tackle, but this nagging back injury is cause for concern. I hope Coach Reid has a real back-up plan if Andrews can’t go. Speaking of Coach Reid, yesterday he refused to update the media on the injuries to the Eagles players. Apparently, he was aggravated that the media knew the Stewart Bradley situation prior to it being announced officially by the team. Coach Reid, while you think you are punishing the media, you are only hurting the fans. The media provides the fans with the information they want, no matter how they get it (as long as it is legal and ethical). So, by Coach Reid not reviewing the injuries with the media, I have no clue on the status of the injured Eagles, including Shawn Andrews, Stacy Andrews, Brian Westbrook and Trevor Laws – all integral parts of this Eagles team.
While it’s still early and the regular season is about a month away, these injuries worry me and continue to mount. The key is to get to the season healthy and prepared to win.
Notes: It’s about time that the Eagles 1st round draft choice signed his contract. Jeremy Maclin signed a 5 year deal with the Eagles. Now, the question is – when will he show up for camp? I hope he will be available for the afternoon session today. If Maclin expects to contribute and play a key role on this Eagles team, he better learn and catch up quickly. At this rate, he might be destined for the inactive list or on special teams duty.