Lindley, Patterson could bolster cornerback spot

Dimitri Patterson is another promising backup at cornerback. His strong preseason, along with Trevard Lindley's, raises questions about Macho Harris' status. Harris could move to safety.
Dimitri Patterson is another promising backup at cornerback. His strong preseason, along with Trevard Lindley's, raises questions about Macho Harris' status. Harris could move to safety.
Posted: August 30, 2010

Trevard Lindley got an opportunity Friday night, and he took advantage of it.

In a preseason game in which the Eagles' starters played for three quarters, Lindley, a fourth-round draft pick out of Kentucky who has played a reserve role at cornerback, played two series with the first team. On one, he had an interception to stop a Kansas City drive that had just crossed the 50-yard line.

If Lindley and Dimitri Patterson, another cornerback who had a strong preseason, can carry their play into the regular season, they could solidify the depth at a position that was considered one of the Eagles' biggest liabilities heading into training camp.

Their performances have threatened the standing of Macho Harris, who has played sparingly in camp and the preseason. On Sunday, Harris was practicing at safety, where he played last year. He had been at cornerback since April's draft but appears to have fallen out of the competition there.

When Lindley got into the 20-17 win over the Chiefs, he played at right cornerback, in place of Ellis Hobbs.

"I saw a guy that can compete at this level," Hobbs said. "It's all about testing yourself in this game and continually moving up."

There is no question about the starting job: Head coach Andy Reid stressed that it still belongs to Hobbs.

Lindley, though, appears to be rising. Listed third on the depth chart before the game in Kansas City, he took snaps with the second team in Sunday's practice. Harris had been listed as Hobbs' backup before the game.

Although Lindley had some success working against the Eagles' third- and fourth-team receivers in training camp, Reid said he wanted to see the rookie corner against some better competition, so he gave him a chance against the Chiefs' starters.

"I wanted to get him in with the ones and just get some experience, really, against their ones," Reid said after the game. "It looked like he did a pretty decent job."

Lindley's biggest play came with the Chiefs on the Eagles' 46-yard line. He dropped into coverage on Chris Chambers, and when a Matt Cassel pass went off the fingers of tight end Tony Moeaki, the corner and receiver each had a shot at the ball.

"Me and the receiver both hit the ball, and it just popped right up," Lindley said. He stayed with it to make the interception.

He finished the game with three tackles, an assist, and two pass breakups.

In the previous two preseason games, he had three special-teams tackles and a near-interception against Jacksonville that was ruled incomplete.

Patterson has similarly stood out in coverage and on special teams, solidifying his spot on the roster.

Meanwhile, Harris, who had hoped to bounce back this year at cornerback, his natural position, missed much of training camp with a hamstring injury and did not play in the first two preseason games.

Harris declined an interview request Sunday, but after the second preseason game, he acknowledged that he was worried about his place on the team, given his inability to get on the field.

But Lindley has made strides. After standing out as a junior at Kentucky, winning honors as an all-Southeastern Conference cornerback, Lindley was hampered by injuries in his senior year and slipped to the draft's fourth round.

The 6-foot, 183-pound defender has long arms that help him play physical defense.

Working with the first-team defense, he said he just tried to "keep doing what I've been doing."

He'll get another chance to do that Thursday against the New York Jets, when he and his fellow backups will see most, if not all, of the playing time.

"Now what he needs to do is stay focused, stay humble about it," Hobbs said. "Great game, but move on from it and move toward this next game."


Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 215-854-5214 or jtamari@phillynews.com.

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