Reid sticking with Matthews at middle linebacker

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Reid sticking with Matthews at middle linebacker
August 20, 2011, 9:19 pm
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Another week closer to opening day and still no plans to make a move at middle linebacker.

Head coach Andy Reid told CSNPhilly.com Saturday rookie Casey Matthews will take all the reps with the first defense at middle linebacker in the coming week and will start against the Browns Thursday night.

Reid said he has no plans to remove Matthews from the starting lineup and is not considering moving Jamar Chaney from strong-side linebacker back to the middle, where he played at a high level at the end of last year. The Eagles believe Chaneys speed, size and athleticism are best-suited to strong-side backer.

Matthews came under a lot of criticism for his role in the Steelers two long touchdown drives in the first half of the Eagles 24-14 preseason loss at Heinz Field Thursday.

But Reid said Saturday, after the Eagles first practice since that game, that Matthews actually played well in the second quarter and is improving every day.

Reid said it was important to remember that the game Thursday night was Matthews first extended reps in the NFL. The starting defense only played briefly in the preseason opener against the Ravens one week earlier.

Matthews, a rookie fourth-round pick, has been working with the first defense since the first day of training camp last month.

Chaney lucky after cheap shot

Reid said Chaney was lucky not to suffer a serious injury Thursday night when he was hit in the back of his knee by Steelers offensive tackle Ramon Foster -- a hit Chaney called a cheap shot.

Looking at the cheap shot 73 for the Steelers gave me Thursday night, Chaney tweeted on his verified Twitter account. I should be be getting ready to have season ending surgery.

Reid said Chaney did practice Saturday, two days after suffering the scary-looking injury. Reid said Chaney also has a slight sprained ankle.

(He) received a tremendous blow on his knee ... but he was able to practice today and ran on it pretty good actually, Reid said. Hes very fortunate because he received a late hit on the back of his knee there. That could have been really a severe injury.

Harris, Laws return to practice

Veteran offensive lineman Ryan Harris (back) and defensive tackle Trevor Laws (hip) both returned to practice Saturday after suffering injuries at Lehigh.

Reid said Jason Avant (knee contusion), Antonio Dixon (back), Greg Lloyd (ankle), Juqua Parker (calf), Daniel Teo-Nesheim (hamstring strain), Fenuki Tupou (knee sprain) Jamar Wall (hamstring) didnt practice.

Reid hopeful Acuna can join Eagles soon
Reid said he hopes rookie offensive lineman Jose Acuna, who the Eagles were awarded on waivers from the Cowboys, will be able to join the Eagles at some point.

Acuna has not practiced with the Eagles since they acquired him on Monday, but he did meet with Reid to explain his situation. The Eagles then placed Acuna on a reserve list for players who have left the team for an excused absence.

I had a chance to meet with him and hes a great kid, Reid said. Hes got a full plate right now with two (ill) family members, so I told him to take care of that. Once that gets settled a bit then well go from there. Hes a good kid.

Eagles re-sign Wells

The Eagles on Saturday re-signed guard Reggie Wells, whom they acquiredshortly before last season from Arizona for a sixth-round pick.

Theversatile Wells appeared in eight games (one start) last season andplayed in 104 games (90 starts) in seven seasons with the Cardinals atleft guard (78 games), right guard (10) and left tackle (two).

The Eagles also released receiver Brandon Caleb and defensive tackle Charlie Noonan.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

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