McKelvin battling balky hamstring
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.