Losing Graham thins out the defensive end rotation.
As if the final weeks of the season weren't going to be difficult enough, the Eagles will now have to do it without two starters on defense as Stewart Bradley and Brandon Graham are expected to miss the rest of the season.
Once Graham hit the turf, there was an immediate cause for concern due to the way he was writhing and clearly in pain. When they showed the replay, I was hoping for some sort of contact to his knee that would imply perhaps a sprain or hyper-extension.
No such luck. He's clearly shown attempt to plant and having his leg give out on him. More often than not, that means a torn ACL.
Those fears were realized Monday as head coach Andy Reid announced Graham had in fact torn his ACL and would be out for the remainder of his rookie season.
Graham had been an off-and-on starter with Juqua Parker, starting six of the first 13 games of the season. Parker will now be expected to start the remaining games and will likely see more snaps than he's used to seeing in a single game.
Rookie defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, who has been more than disappointing, will likely be active for the rest of the season as the team's fourth end. The problem, however, is that both he and Darryl Tapp are right defensive ends. One of them, likely Te'o-Nesheim, will be asked to play out of position.
Bradley injured his elbow after being cut by one of the Dallas Cowboys running back. When he put his hand down to break his fall, his elbow clearly gave out and created one of the nastier replays you'll see this season.
The elbow bent in, let's say, an unusual fashion. It didn't take years of medical school to know it was dislocated and that the team would likely need to find a replacement for the final weeks of the season and hope he can return for the playoffs.
I'm not a huge fan of Bradley's and losing him doesn't worry me too much, but there's no denying that at this point he's the best option in the middle. Rookie Jamar Chaney did a good job filling in, but there's no guarantee he'll be the guy moving forward.
Veteran Omar Gaither has seen significant time in the middle in past seasons and even started one game in the middle this year when Bradley was forced to miss with a concussion. Gaither, however, has been falling out of favor with the coaching staff for the past couple seasons and would have to really shine to prevent Chaney from starting.
Another option could be Kawika Mitchell, the former Buffalo Bills linebacker the Eagles worked out last week. Mitchell would likely need a week or two to pick up the defense first, but as a veteran he could step in without much of an issue.
If I was a betting man, I would put my money on Chaney getting the first starts of his young career with Gaither as his backup and replacement on the special teams units.
In other injury news...
Rookie linebacker (and part-time safety) Keenan Clayton will miss at least one week with a sprained knee.