So far, Asante Samuel might be the defense's MVP.
Asante Samuel might not get the opportunity to give a follow-up performance to one of the best games of his career. Samuel missed practice Wednesday with an MCL sprain and the vibe coming out of the NovaCare Complex is that it could be more serious than first expected.
He likely wouldn't be in danger of missing more than one week, but being without Samuel against the 7-3 Chicago Bears would hurt.
In Samuel's absence, the starting corners would be Dimitri Patterson and Joselio Hanson, with Trevard Lindley playing in the nickel and either return specialist Jorrick Calvin or the newly-signed Brandon Hughes.
If you were wondering why exactly being without Samuel would hurt, that little run-down should have you wondering no longer.
Hanson is not a guy who plays very well on the outside. In the nickel, he's been very good, but when asked to bump outside he's been less than stellar. Lindley is a promising rookie, but hasn't shown that he's ready for extended action just yet.
Then there's Calvin, who is a return specialist, and Hughes who was just signed off the New York Giants practice squad. Needless to say, not a whole lot can be expected of him.
Not having Samuel would likely mean Nate Allen and Quintin Mikell would be relied upon more heavily to defend the pass. Sean McDermott likes to send Mikell after the quarterback or at least have him up in the box, but with Samuel sidelined that would be almost impossible.
There's no way McDermott has enough confidence in Hanson (or Dimitri Patterson quite yet for that matter) to leave him on an island. That means both safeties would have to stay back as safety valves. That opens up the underneath passing game and the running game for the Bears.
Without the threat of an eighth man in the box and two guys playing 12-15 yards deep, Matt Forte could come out his slump very quickly.
Head coach Andy Reid seems to think Samuel will play, but he's never been one to tip his hand with anything -- including injuries. We'll keep a close eye on the injury report as the week progresses, but be prepared to see the Eagles take on one of the better teams in their conference without their star corner.