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Eagles injuries: Practice squad may come into play against the Giants

Will the Eagles need to call on the practice squad to field depth on Sunday?

Al Bello

The Eagles enter Sunday night's battle against the Giants with a few injury question marks. With Mychal Kendricks, Chris Polk and DeMeco Ryans all possibly out for the game, the Eagles are pretty thin at a couple of major spots.

The Eagles are already lacking depth and talent at linebacker, so losing Kendricks and Ryans would put them in a big hole. The team has gotten by with Ryans and the rag-tag trio of Casey Matthews, Emmanuel Acho and Marcus Smith. However, not having a starting-caliber player like Ryans out there may expose his and Kendricks' replacements. Still, the Eagles need to work with what they have, while still keeping enough linebackers on the roster.

Practice squad linebacker Brandon Hepburn could get the call up to the main roster if the Eagles feel like Ryans can't play in the division game. This would obviously be less-than-ideal as Hepburn has never played a down in the NFL. When you consider that Acho was on the practice squad to start the season, that Matthews has largely been mediocre or worse throughout his career and that Smith is still in the early stages of learning the inside linebacker position, the Giants may be able to run all over the middle of the Eagles defense if Ryans can't go.

On the offense, Polk's possible absence is probably less concerning. Polk has been an effective kick returner but has yet to see a touch on offense. Josh Huff showed an ability to be successful as a kick returner in the preseason and the Eagles seem to be okay with Trey Burton as the third running back, a role he was given in Week 1. Depending on Polk's status moving forward, Matthew Tucker could be an option for a call-up.

Tucker filled in similarly last season for Polk, after an injury left him on the sidelines. The practice squad back had a fantastic preseason, so he could be an appealing add in the short-term. LeSean McCoy has struggled and the Eagles seem to only want to give Darren Sproles a small ration of touches, so the No. 3 running back may soon come into play. Tucker knows the offense and would likely be the most appealing option if Polk were out for an extended period.

At this point, it's hard to guess whether or not the Eagles will pluck Hepburn or Tucker off of the practice squad. However, the Eagles will probably need to make a move by Saturday night, which may indicate the health status of Polk and/or Ryans.

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