The Eagles escaped with a 31-21 victory over the Texans this afternoon, but in doing so, they lost a key defender for the remainder of the season. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, linebacker DeMeco Ryans ruptured his left Achilles tendon, and is out for the rest of 2014.
Ryans, 30, injured the same Achilles as a member of the Texans in October 2010, and missed the remainder of that season, as well. Philadelphia acquired Ryans in 2012 in exchange for a fourth-round pick, and he’s been a stalwart for them ever since. He’s started 39 games during his time with the Eagles, racking up 219 tackles and five sacks while stabilizing the middle of a Philly defense that’s often been suspect.
The Eagles still have Mychal Kendricks, one of the best young ‘backers in the league, playing inside in their 3-4 defense, but the club will need to find someone to play next to him. Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho are the backup ILBs on Philadelphia’s roster, but both are uninspiring options. The trade deadline has obviously passed, but I’ll be surprised if the Eagles don’t bring in a veteran option at linebacker. Ex-Saint/Jet Jonathan Vilma is available, for one, and has experience in a 3-4 scheme.
Quarterback Nick Foles was also injured in today’s contest, and while we’re awaiting word on the severity of his injury, it sounds like the team will be without its leaders on both offense and defense for some time. As Eliot Shorr-Parks of the New Jersey Star-Ledger notes (on Twitter), the loss of Ryans could be more impactful than the potential loss of Foles, as Mark Sanchez is at least a capable backup at QB, while the backup LBs leave much to be desired.