Veteran safety Corey Graham ready to start for Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Corey Graham is ready to fill a starting role.
The Philadelphia Eagles won’t have safety Rodney McLeod for Sunday’s game against Tennessee and a report says he’s going to miss the rest of the season following knee surgery on Thursday. Coach Doug Pederson is expected to update McLeod’s status on Friday.
Graham has played 55 percent of the defensive snaps, so the 33-year-old is already a key part of the defense. He has started 66 games in his 12-year career.
“I’m prepared and I’m ready to go,” Graham said after practice. “It really doesn’t change much. I’ll probably just play double the amount of plays now. But the way we do things, I’ll be in the same role.”
McLeod missed only two games in his previous five seasons. Graham called him the “fix-it guy” in the secondary.
“If something went wrong, he was back there to fix it,” Graham said. “It’s a tough loss. He’s one of our core guys. It’s hard to replace a guy like Rodney.”
The Eagles rely on three safeties quite a bit in their defense. That’s why Graham has played more than half the snaps. It allows defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz to use Malcolm Jenkins in a variety of ways, include nickel cornerback and linebacker, along with his usual safety spot.
Deiondre’ Hall is the only other safety on the active roster and Tre Sullivan is on the practice squad. Backup cornerback Rasul Douglas has safety skills.
“We cross-train a lot of guys,” Jenkins said. “We’re versatile. We have guys who can come in and play a role. I don’t know if we’ll hand over Rodney’s entire package to one guy. It might be sliced up.”
NOTES: RB Jay Ajayi returned to practice after missing one game with a back injury and revealed he had suffered a small fracture. “It’s a pain tolerance thing,” Ajayi said. ... WR Alshon Jeffery (illness) and RB Darren Sproles (hamstring) didn’t practice Thursday.