Doctors had to take out of piece of Mike Patterson’s skull in order to operate on his brain, and then reattach it. So it’s not like we’re talking about a high ankle sprain or something – this is uncharted territory. Patterson was thought to be a go for training camp, but athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said that he hasn’t healed as quickly as anticipated and Patterson’s return could be months away.
At quick glance, the Eagles are seemingly very deep at DT:
|NT||Mike Patterson||Antonio Dixon||Derek Landri||Ollie Ogbu|
|UT||Cullen Jenkins||Fletcher Cox||Cedric Thornton|
However, there are two DT positions in the Eagles defense, the UT and the NT. They are different. The Eagles like to line up the NT in the gap between the C and the G. It’s his job to shoot that gap and be disruptive enough that the offense has to double him. The Eagles go three deep at NT: Mike Patterson, Antonio Dixon, and Derek Landri. The UT, meanwhile, typically lines up on the outside shoulder of the other G. The idea is for the UT to get one-on-one matchups with the G, while also forcing one-on-one matchups with the DE on the OT. You want your UT to have some good pass rushing ability. That’s the position that Cullen Jenkins plays. Behind Jenkins, the Eagles have first round pick Fletcher Cox, and player they really like in Cedric Thornton.
Here’s what I’m talking about. Patterson (the NT) is circled in red. Jenkins (the UT) is circled in blue. Note their alignment:
Derek Landri was a stud when he got his opportunities last season, but Antonio Dixon is a bit of a question mark after missing almost all of last season with a torn triceps. There is also a possibility that Fletcher Cox could be so good that he can play either spot, but that remains to be seen. Either way, this injury most certainly eats into the Eagles’ depth along the DL.