Eagles Scoop: In return, Mike Patterson hopes to provide spark team needs
Published: Sunday, November 04, 2012
By BOB GROTZ
PHILADELPHIA — For Mike Patterson, the only thing tougher than waiting for his skull to heal was being unable to lead a team needing leadership.
Nine months after brain surgery and 15 long weeks after being placed on the reserve non-football illness list at training camp, the veteran of seven seasons and former first-round pick out of USC gets that chance.
The Eagles activated Patterson, a career starter, Saturday with the thinking that even a few snaps might supply the spark needed to shake them out of a three-game losing streak. Patterson is that kind of leader.
“I’m really anxious,” Patterson said. “I’m, more than anything, just excited to be back out there. It’s a fun game. I really love it. It’s just fun to play it and I just feel really happy out there.”
Rookie Fletcher Cox and Cullen Jenkins are slated to start at defensive tackle when the Eagles oppose the New Orleans Saints Monday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. With Jenkins nursing a sore knee, there should be plenty of snaps for Cedric Thornton, veteran Derek Landri and Patterson, who has vowed to go as hard as he can, as long as he can.
Thornton and Cox registered the Eagles’ only sacks in October, albeit in a 30-17 loss last weekend to the Falcons. That A-gap pressure is something defensive coordinator Todd Bowles can work with to boost the anemic pass rush.
“I’m going to try to do my best,” Patterson said. “If the play comes my way or I get a chance to make a play, I’m most definitely going to give it my all.”
Patterson started 106 regular season and playoff games entering the season, including 15 last year following an episode in which he blacked out during a seizure at a training camp. To this day, Patterson has no recollection of the event.
In late January, Patterson underwent a craniotomy, the surgeon removing a chunk of his skull to repair the arteriovenous malformation, then gluing it back in.
Each time Patterson showers, the scar reminds him of the life-saving procedure. Each snap he gets is a reminder of his will.
The Eagles cut hard-working linebacker Jason Williams to make room on the 53-man roster for Patterson.
The Eagles also revealed two early scratches in guard Danny Watkins (ankle) and wide receiver Mardy Gilyard (hamstring).
Rookie Dennis Kelly gets his second straight start at right guard. Damaris Johnson will be activated to return punts.
Safety Nate Allen (hamstring) is slated to make the trip to New Orleans and likely will be a game-time decision.
Allen and Jenkins (knee) are listed as questionable. Jenkins practiced fully Saturday and barring a setback, likely will play.
The Saints suffered a severe blow when it was revealed that running back-kick returner Darren Sproles is out indefinitely with a broken hand.
Sproles is second on the Saints with 39 receptions and four touchdown grabs. He ranks among the league leaders in yards after the catch.
Sproles averaged 28.7 yards on kickoff returns and 6.6 yards on punt returns.
It’s one less headache for Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and special teams coordinator Bobby April.
Also out is Saints wide receiver Courtney Roby (shoulder), who has one reception.
NOTES: Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie leads the Eagles with seven penalties. Two are for pass interference, two for holding, two for illegal contact and one for unnecessary roughness. Tied for second place with five penalties each are cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, defensive end Jason Babin and offensive tackle Demetress Bell. … Speaking of penalties, referee Clete Blakeman and his crew officiate Eagles-Saints. For whatever it’s worth, Eagles have won three straight games with Blakeman and his guys running the show.
… Saints tight end Jimmy Graham is second in league with seven dropped passes. Brent Celek of the Eagles is tied for seventh with five dropped passes. Saints receiver Marques Colston has four drops.
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Posted 04 November 2012 - 05:47 AM