Eagles Notebook: Eagles tap Patterson as starting right corner over Hobbs

Patterson
Patterson
Posted: November 02, 2010

Dimitri Patterson said he didn't have any idea last week he was about to become a starter for the first time in his 5-year NFL career.

In Philadelphia, there was considerable speculation about the health and future of cornerback Ellis Hobbs, after Hobbs' epic fourth-quarter failure to cover Tennessee receiver Kenny Britt in the 37-19 loss that took the Birds into their bye. Patterson never heard that talk; he spent the break in Orlando with his 3-year-old daughter, Dimiah, he said, relishing the time away.

But when Patterson showed up at the NovaCare complex yesterday, he said he was told he is the new starting right corner, supplanting Hobbs. Adding to the intrigue, on a day when no Eagles coaches were available to speak, was that Hobbs did not practice. Instead, he visited a doctor for unspecified tests. A team spokesman said the doctor visit had nothing to do with Hobbs' disintegration against the Titans, a game in which Hobbs and rookie safety Nate Allen were burned for four Britt catches that totaled 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Unless Hobbs has a cold he caught during the break, that lack of connection might be a tough sell. Replays show him seemingly unable to cut or dig hard, particularly on a 42-yard Britt catch over the middle. Overall, Britt's seven catches for 225 yards were a record for an Eagles opponent, in the 78-year history of the franchise.

"It was a surprise, but hey, it's an opportunity and I'm grateful for it," said Patterson, a 27-year-old who has never started an NFL game, in 41 appearances with the Redskins, Chiefs and Eagles.

As Patterson noted yesterday, he was exclusively a special-teams player before he came to the Birds as a free agent in 2009. He originally was signed by Washington as a free agent out of Tuskegee.

"I'll humbly accept any opportunity that's afforded to me . . . I'm a competitor at the end of the day, and if you're in professional sports, no one wants to be second," Patterson said. "You're not working out in the offseason to be second, you're working out to be first. You just have to make sure you're prepared when the opportunity comes."

It wasn't like he'd never thought about moving up.

"You think about it every day," Patterson said. He just never had gotten the chance. Now he's finally getting it, with the Eagles about to face Peyton Manning and the Colts.

Patterson was asked if he could have done a better job on Britt. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott explained after the game that he didn't feel he could flip Asante Samuel to the other side without Samuel practicing there. He didn't explain why neither Patterson nor Joselio Hanson was an option, when it became clear Hobbs wasn't functional.

"I'm a competitor and I'm going to feel like I can cover anybody, so Kenny Britt was no exception, this week will be no exception and the rest of my career will be no exception," Patterson said. He intercepted a pass at San Francisco Oct. 10, with Samuel sidelined by a concussion. "This is a day-by-day league. I just take it day by day and one opportunity at a time, and this is the opportunity that I have."

Patterson, a strong performer as a gunner in kick coverage, leads the Eagles in special-teams production points. He said as far as he knows he will retain that role.

Birdseed

According to the NFL Network, the Eagles put in a waiver claim for ex-Steelers linebacker Thaddeus Gibson, who was claimed by the 49ers with a higher waiver priority. Gibson was Pittsburgh's fourth-round pick this year out of Ohio State . . . Defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley practiced, the Eagles said. Bunkley said he is "day-to-day," as he attempts to return from a severe elbow injury . . . Tight end Brent Celek, whose 21 catches for 229 yards and two touchdowns are way behind last year's pace (76/971/8), said he needed the bye week to get over a nagging wrist injury. "I feel like a different person," Celek said. "You have to be mentally tough, but sometimes when you get a nick here, a nick there, it starts to wear on you . . . I feel like I'm close to a hundred percent right now" . . . Left tackle King Dunlap (knee) did not practice but said he hopes to get on the field tomorrow, when workouts resume. *

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