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Andy Reid Says Other DTs Must Step Up In Mike Patterson's Absence

July 23, 2012; Bethlehem, PA. USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid addresses the media prior to training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
July 23, 2012; Bethlehem, PA. USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid addresses the media prior to training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

In case you missed the news yesterday, Andy Reid announced that Mike Patterson will miss all of training camp as he continues to recover from offseason surgery to remove an AVM on his brain. Doctors had to perform a craniotomy, which is exactly what it sounds like... They removed part of his skull.

Obviously this was a fairly major procedure and as Eagles trainer Rick Burkholter points out, not one that has much precedence in the league.

"I think if you look at the history of the National Football League, not a lot of players have had craniotomys where they've had a piece of their skull taken off and put back on. It's something that we thought he'd be ready since it's been six months since the surgery, and he's not. That's just what happened with the healing. Everyone heals differently, and we anticipate he'll heal up fully and be back playing. It's just not today."

Patterson, who has started since his rookie, leaves a hole in the lineup that Andy Reid says someone need to step up to fill. The first name he mentioned was Antonio Dixon.

"[Antonio] Dixon's here. We've got Dixon in the mix. We've got a bunch of players in that position, but we'll see how it all works out. We're going to rotate four guys so we've got four that we can do that with. [Cullen] Jenkins is in there too and then [Fletcher] Cox also. We'll just see how the rotation works out."

As Jimmy pointed over the weekend, Patterson plays the nose tackle role while guys like Cullen Jenkins and Derek Landri play the under tackle. So they're not quite interchangeable. Dixon is a prototypical nose tackle type in this defense, so he would be a natural fit to take over for Patterson.

Although Fletcher Cox appears to be built to play either role and as Reid also pointed out, expectations for him are high and the Eagles record as far as drafting DTs is pretty good.

"Well, you said it. First-round draft picks, you expect a lot out of. We've had success there, Mike Patterson being one of them, Corey Simon being another. We've had success with that position and guys getting in and playing early, so I would anticipate when he gets in there, he'll be working with the ones and doing that."

He probably should have also mentioned Brodrick Bunkley, who was a first round and also started a lot of games here.