Nakobe Dean Out Several Weeks; James Bradberry In Concussion Protocol
Results on an MRI of Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean’s right foot indicate that the second-year linebacker is out for a few weeks, but the outcome is still better than expected.
Sources confirmed to Inside The Birds an NFL Media report that Dean is expected to be out several weeks with a foot sprain – probably about four, ITB is told – with a foot injury, leaving the Eagles short-handed for Thursday’s home opener against the Vikings.
UPDATE–Eagles coach Nick Sirianni confirmed the reports and said he’s thankful Dean’s injury isn’t worse.
Dean left Sunday’s 25-20 win over the Patriots with his right foot in a walking boat. There were initially internal concerns that Dean’s injury was more serious and potentially season-ending, sources said.
Sirianni also said cornerback James Bradberry suffered a concussion against the Patriots and is in the protocol.
Given the time it typically takes for an NFL player to clear the protocol, it’ll likely be very hard for Bradberry to play Thursday night against the Vikings, which would leave the Eagles without two starters against Minnesota.
Dean, one of several former Georgia standouts on the Eagles’ defense, avoided surgery. but his absence over the next few weeks leaves the Eagles even thinner at inside linebacker, where they were already thin.
The Eagles took a risk Sunday in the season opener, taking on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium with just three off-ball linebackers on the active roster. Zach Cunningham started alongside Dean as the two played most of the linebacker snaps, with backup Christian Elliss also subbing in at times.
After the Dean injury, the Eagles also used veteran safety Terrell Edmunds in a linebacker role for sub-packages.
The Eagles, who suffered some coverage breakdowns in their remade secondary, also had cornerback James Bradberry leave with an injury, along with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, which doesn’t bode well with a short turnaround to play a Vikings team that racked up 369 total yards in a season-opening loss to the Buccaneers.
The Eagles have two off-ball linebackers on the practice squad in Nic Morrow and undrafted rookie Ben VanSumeren. Morrow, a veteran free-agent signing, would be the most logical replacement for Dean, either as an elevation from the practice squad or a sign-up to the 53-man roster.
According to ESPN, the Eagles are also adding another linebacker to the practice squad.
With Eagles LB Nakobe Dean out for about a month due to a foot injury, Philadelphia is signing former Titans’ first-round pick, LB Rashaan Evans, to its practice squad, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 11, 2023
Evans, a 2018 first-round pick, played 17 games for the Falcons last year after spending his first four years with the Titans.
Dean’s slighter frame and wear-and-tear at Georgia was part of the reason he slipped into the third round of the 2022 draft, where the Eagles felt fortunate to land the national champion Bulldog.
The Eagles let their best linebacker, T.J. Edwards, walk in free agency in March to pave the way for Dean to enter the starting lineup after Dean mostly played special teams as a rookie.
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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