- Associated Press
Thursday, September 21, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - An injury list littered with defensive backs has the Philadelphia Eagles searching for ways to stop Odell Beckham Jr. and the rest of the Giants.

Top cornerback Ronald Darby went down in Week 1. Starting safety Rodney McLeod and versatile defensive backs Jaylen Watkins and Corey Graham got hurt last week against Kansas City.

That leaves defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz mixing and matching. The Eagles claimed safety Trae Elston off waivers and are trying linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill in the secondary, too.

“That’s just life in the NFL,” Schwartz said. “I think every situation is different, your opponent is different, the game situation is different. So I don’t know if there’s anything that you draw back and do. We’ve seen wide receivers, you know, New England Patriots’ Troy Brown played nickel. I had a wide receiver play nickel for me when I was in Detroit. It’s not unusual in the NFL. There are only 46 active.”

Beckham has been slowed by an ankle injury and missed the first game while the Giants are off to a 0-2 start. Their slumping offense has scored fewer than 20 points in eight straight games, including a playoff loss.

An ineffective offensive line hasn’t given Eli Manning much time to find Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and rookie tight end Evan Engram.

But a banged-up secondary could help New York bust out. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles’ leader on defense, isn’t worried .

“We’re a little thin right now, but we have a few backup plans in case somebody else gets hurt,” Jenkins said. “We’ll have to get creative. But as of right now we’re game-planning with everything we’ve got, not changing anything. We’ll move forward and see what happens.”

If Philadelphia’s fierce pass rush puts pressure on Manning, that’ll help whoever is covering the receivers. Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox and Co. have eight sacks in the first two games and Schwartz is bringing the heat with timely blitzes.

“It’s going to come down to the play of our D-line,” Jenkins said. “They’re definitely going to need to help us in that regard so we don’t have guys out there trying to cover some really good receivers for a long amount of time with a really good quarterback.”

NOTES: Darby (ankle), Graham (hamstring), McLeod (hamstring), Watkins (hamstring) and DT Destiny Vaeao (wrist) each missed practice again on Thursday.


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