Eagles Notes: Eagles LB Phillips lost for season with knee injury

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Posted: July 31, 2013

The Eagles lost their second player to a season-ending injury in three days when linebacker Jason Phillips tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Monday's practice. It was the same injury that Jeremy Maclin suffered two days earlier.

The Eagles made an immediate roster move, placing Phillips on injured reserve and signing undrafted rookie linebacker Travis Long.

Phillips, 27, signed with the Eagles during the offseason to bolster the special teams. He was hurt during special-teams drills. Phillips was carted off the field and an MRI exam revealed the tear.

His injury will likely create space for another linebacker on the 53-man roster. Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, and rookie Jake Knott are competing as backups for DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks, with special teams a significant part of the decision.

Others injured included cornerback Brandon Hughes, who left practice early after hurting a hamstring. The Eagles also were missing wide receiver Arrelious Benn (knee), wide receiver B.J. Cunningham (foot), defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (hamstring), offensive lineman Todd Herremans (knee), and cornerback Cary Williams (hamstring).

No tackling

The Eagles wore pads for the second straight day, but they did not tackle. Coach Chip Kelly revealed that the Eagles would not tackle to the ground in training camp .

"We have four preseason games for that," Kelly said. "They're hitting pretty good when they get an opportunity. The big thing with tackling, you want to be on your feet anyway. We don't want people diving."

This is a departure from Andy Reid's style. His camps were heavy on contact. Kelly cited injuries as the reason for his decision on tackling.

"When you get guys on the ground, it is not really the two guys that get tackled, it's what's chasing it," Kelly said. "We're trying to keep everybody in every situation up. If I'm blocking my guy and I'm trying to finish to the whistle, two guys in front of me fell, that's where the biggest thing occurs. It's the pileups. Most of the time it's not the tackle or the tackler, it's the rest of the guys coming through. You have a lot of big bodies moving."

Players welcome this approach. And with two Eagles out already with season-ending injuries, the team must be careful - even though those injuries occurred in noncontact drills.

"It's better," tackle Jason Peters. "Everybody here's a professional. We know how to tackle, hit, and stuff like that. It's not good to hit your own guys. Guys can only get injured that way."

Sad about Maclin

Kelly's first reaction to Maclin's injury was not as a coach, but rather what Kelly termed "a human reaction of sadness." He said Maclin was a player whose life was football.

"I'm a big guy that asks the question 'Why?' all the time - why do we do this or that," Kelly said. "Most situations you get a rational answer. When a guy has a noncontact injury, it's kind of tough to rationalize. That's hard. It's hard to put into words for him. You feel for him."

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