September 26, 2014

PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Eagles' offensive line will be banged up heading into Sunday's road game at San Francisco.

But the defense will also be without a key player.

Inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks will miss his second straight game with a calf injury suffered in the Eagles' Week 2 win against Indianapolis.

With Kendricks out of the lineup last week, the Washington Redskins rolled up 511 yards of offense and quarterback Kurt Cousins had a quarterback rating of 103.4.

This week the Eagles get 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who can hurt a defense as much with his running ability as he can with his passing.

Kendricks, if he was healthy, would have been a key to containing the mobile Kaepernick.

''Kaepernick has got that running quarterback skill set with a huge arm, so he can throw it vertically,'' Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis said this week.

''When he extends a down, he's probably at his best. So we're back to where we have to defend him as a runner and as a thrower, him in the pocket, him out of the pocket. It just stretches you out a little bit that you have to defend more things when you're dealing with a quarterback of his talents.''

In Kendricks' place, the Eagles will use a rotation of Casey Matthews, Emmanuel Acho and rookie first-round pick Marcus Smith, who was drafted to be an outside linebacker but played his first regular-season snaps last week inside.

''I think it's a benefit to him and us,' Davis said of Smith. ''He gets to go inside. You move inside, the visual part of it changes, you've got down pullers, it's a learning curve that's a little bit different, so at first he'll be a little more hesitant, but as he gets reps and we grow him, we'll see if he has the skill set in there.

''He really does add another dynamic of a pressure, of a blitzer in there from the inside linebacker position, especially in our nickel package. So we'll just continue to grow him and see where he is in there.''

Another problem the Eagles face without Kendricks is San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis. Davis is coming off an injury, a sprained ankle that sidelined him last week in the loss at Arizona. Davis practiced all week for the 49ers, but on a limited basis.

''If he's back, he's a handful,'' Eagles coach Chip Kelly said of Davis. ''He's probably the fastest tight end in the league. He's got legitimate speed from the tight end spot that can really stretch you.''

Acho, who may get the assignment of covering Davis at least at the start, respects his abilities.

''I know he is obviously one of the most explosive tight ends in the game, one of the best athletes in the game,'' Acho said after Thursday's practice.

''But you can't fear that by any means. We just have to do a good job of knowing our assignments, knowing where we have to help if we're in man coverage and utilizing that help. We just have to execute our game plan, whether we're in man or zone.''

NOTES: Other than Kendricks, center Jason Kelce (sports hernia) is listed as out. Kelce, who had surgery this past week, says he hopes to be back for the Monday night game against Carolina on Nov. 10. Rookie wide receiver Josh Huff, who has missed the first three games with a shoulder injury, is listed as questionable this week.

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

You May Like