McKelvin bat­tling balky ham­string

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Bob Grotz bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @BobGrotz on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA >> Roll the video and DeSean Jack­son still plays as fast as he runs. He’s the guy with two speeds - here he is and there he goes.

Pierre Gar­con is quick to get open in a walk­through.

Last week Jami­son Crow­der hauled in a punt, turned on the af­ter­burn­ers and scorched ev­ery­one on an 85-yard score. He was so far ahead of the pack it ended the chase at the 10yard line.

With all of those re­ceivers in play for quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins and Wash­ing­ton, this isn’t a great week­end for the Ea­gles to be un­der­manned at cor­ner­back.

Vet­eran Leodis McKelvin, who can keep up with most of the above when healthy, is ques­tion­able for the game due to a ham­string that be­gan to ail him be­fore the bye week.

Too tough to let his guys down, McKelvin is go­ing to give them every­thing he’s got Sun­day at FedEx Field.

“We’ll see how it goes,” McKelvin said. “I’m get­ting there, about 85 per­cent. But 85 per­cent of Leodis McKelvin is equal to be­ing able to play in this league. And I can do what I’ve got to do at 85 per­cent.”

Ea­gles head coach Doug Ped­er­son has op­tions. Rookie cor­ner­back Jalen Mills has got­ten plenty of snaps and has ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing fast, ex­plo­sive play­ers like Jack­son. The list be­gins with Odell Beck­ham Jr. dur­ing prac­tices at LSU.

“Sammy Coates, Amari Cooper, Ace San­ders,” Mills said. “The list is very long. It is a chal­lenge. When you face a guy who can just flatout run, and who can run routes as well you have to play tech­ni­cal sound foot­ball.”

Ped­er­son can play vet­eran nickel cor­ner Ron Brooks out­side. He can ac­ti­vate un­drafted rookie C.J. Smith, who demon­strated a knack for break­ing up passes dur­ing the pre­sea­son.

The Ea­gles can do worse than hav­ing a lim­ited McKelvin and the tech­ni­cally sound Nolan Car­roll start­ing at one cor­ner po­si­tion.

How long McKelvin is in play is an­other mat­ter. Ideally the Ea­gles would like to go with some­one else un­til he’s healthy. That’s just not prac­ti­cal now.

“Ham­strings can be funny for ev­ery­body and dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­body,” Ped­er­son said. “If he can go and con­trib­ute, it def­i­nitely help us on de­fense. If he can’t, then we’ll go as what we’ve done in the past and we’ll get him ready to go next week.

“The good thing is he’s feel­ing good right now.”

Good isn’t what you want go­ing against great, which is what Jack­son is when he’s healthy and mo­ti­vated. Good is all the Ea­gles have got right now.

Mills was asked if he would jam Jack­son at the line, which is what a de­fender should at­tempt against only if he has deep help from a safety … or an­other ca­reer in mind.

“I mean there’s so many dif­fer­ent ways be­cause he does so many dif­fer­ent things,” Mills said. “Some­times you can’t do one and not the other.”

The pass rush, on the other hand, can help out the cov­er­age.

And the sober­ing news there is de­fen­sive tackle Fletcher Cox, the NFC de­fen­sive player of the month for Septem­ber, also is listed ques­tion­able. With 3 sacks, Cox is tied for the team lead with Bran­don Gra­ham. Ped­er­son is hope­ful Cox will be ready to go by game time.

Run­ning back Ryan Mathews wasn’t on the in­jury re­port al­though he was ex­cused from prac­tice due to an undis­closed ill­ness.

“It just hap­pened, so I haven’t re­ally got to­gether with Chris Pe­duzzi,” Ped­er­son said, ref­er­enc­ing the Ea­gles’ trainer. “Un­til I have more in­for­ma­tion, I’ll let you know.”

••• Wash­ing­ton listed tight end Jor­dan Reed, who hasn’t prac­ticed at all this week due to a con­cus­sion, as ques­tion­able for the Ea­gles.

Also ques­tion­able are cor­ner­back Bashaud Bree­land (an­kle) and safety Su’a Cravens (con­cus­sion). Bree­land prac­ticed fully while Cravens was lim­ited.

Rookie first round pick Josh Doct­son (Achilles’ ten­don) is out.

••• Cox was fined $9,115 for un­nec­es­sary rough­ness in the Li­ons game.

The vet­eran grabbed the face­mask of Stafford, rip­ping the hel­met off for a penalty that ex­tended a TD drive in the sec­ond quar­ter of a 24-23 loss.

••• Wash­ing­ton head coach Jay Gru­den got some chuck­les dur­ing his con­fer­ence call with Philly area me­dia when he ba­si­cally was asked about the prob­a­bil­ity of ex­ploit­ing rookie right tackle Hal Vaitai, slated to make his first start Sun­day for the Ea­gles.

“I’m sure they feel good about their guy who’s go­ing to start … or who they say is go­ing to start any­way,” Gru­den said.

Ped­er­son was adamant that Big V, as he calls the fifth-round pick out of TCU, is the guy go­ing for­ward, not a one-week ex­per­i­ment.

“Fully com­mit­ted, fully com­mit­ted,” is the way Ped­er­son put it. “He’s had a great week of prac­tice and a good week of prepa­ra­tion. There’s a few men­tal things that we cleaned up dur­ing the week and that’s why you prac­tice. From the stand­point of him ex­e­cut­ing and do­ing what we ask him to do, he’s fine and we’re com­mit­ted to him be­ing at that right tackle.”

••• It’s safe to say the Ea­gles are im­pressed with Crow­der, the reign­ing NFC spe­cial teams player of the week.

Crow­der (5-8, 185) runs low and hard. Like Ea­gles coun­ter­part Dar­ren Spro­les, Crow­der is dif­fi­cult to find in the re­turn scrum.

“He’s a re­ally com­pet­i­tive re­turner,” Ea­gles vet­eran Chris Mara­gos said. “You can tell he’s re­ally try­ing to hit the home run ev­ery time. He be­lieves in his abil­ity and his block­ers. He’s re­ally, re­ally ag­gres­sive with the ball in his hands and he’s a tough matchup for us.”

Mara­gos said it’s es­sen­tial the Ea­gles play sound team cov­er­age with ev­ery­body in their lanes and “ul­ti­mately ev­ery­body needs to put a hat on the ball.

“That’s the big­gest thing, es­pe­cially with a guy as shifty and as quick as him,” Mara­gos. “He’s a tough matchup but we’re ex­cited for it.”

••• The Ea­gles signed guard Dar­rell Greene to the prac­tice squad.

Line­backer Don Cherry was re­leased from the prac­tice squad.


Ea­gles de­fen­sive back Leodis McKelvin walks off the field dur­ing last Sun­day’s game at Detroit.

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