On Tuesday afternoon, the Eagles made a series of roster changes, including placing starting middle linebacker Nakobe Dean on injured reserve.
Dean will be sidelined for at least the next four weeks, but is expected to return this season.
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said Monday: “We’re thankful it’s not going to be much longer because it could have gotten much worse.” “I’m thankful it wasn’t a season-ending injury.”
In addition to placing Dean on IR, the Eagles added Nicholas Morrow from the practice squad to the active roster and signed veteran Rashaan Evans in his place.
Dean, 22, made his first NFL start against New England on Sunday afternoon, playing the first 49 snaps of the game before injuring his foot. This was the first extended playing time in Dean’s career, and he played very well, especially against the run.
Without Dean, the Eagles used Zach Cunningham and Christian Ellis at linebacker to close out the game. The Eagles started the season with only three linebackers on their 53-man roster. Ellis and safety Reed Blankenship assumed responsibility for the Green Dots, getting defensive play calls from the sideline.
Ellis and Cunningham are likely to start for the Eagles against the Vikings on Thursday night, but Morrow should also be active. Morrow entered training camp as the favorite to earn the starting spot, but the Eagles added Cunningham on August 6 and Ellis made further offers on special teams.
“I’m really confident that [Morrow]” Sirianni said. “That’s why he’s on our 69-man roster. It’s because we believe in him. We believe in what he can do. We believe in his style of play, We believe in his physicality, his ability to line up the defense. We have a lot of confidence in Nick and if he has to fill that role, we’re excited and we’re excited for him to perform. I’m excited to see him and his opportunities.”
Evans, 27, was a first-round pick out of Auburn in 2018. After spending the first four years of his career with the Titans, he started all 17 games for the Falcons in 2022. During his career, Evans played in 76 games, started 67 and recorded a career-high 159 tackles in 2022. But he didn’t even participate in camp this summer, so he needs to catch up.