Rookie Dennis Kelly is expected to fill the void if Watkins can’t go. Kelly, a fifth-round pick out of Purdue, played exclusively at tackle in college. He worked in at guard during training camp and has gotten some reps at practice, but is inexperienced at the position.
“It’s different,” said Kelly. “It’s got it’s pros and cons just like tackle does. It’s faster but at the same time I can use my size and my length a little bit better, can get my hands on someone right away and take out their opportunities.”
Kelly is 6-8 and 321 pounds. He said Watkins had “rolled up his ankle, but I didn’t think it would be that bad.”
Watkins, like the rest of the offensive line, has had his share of struggles this season. His outing against the Lions was arguably his worst this year, though Andy Reid sounded generally pleased with his performance overall.
“I won’t tell you that his last game was his best game. He had a few games in there that were just top quality games. He just needs to get back to doing what he does,” said Reid. “Danny is a good football player. That’s why he’s here, that’s why he was a first round pick, so you just go play.”
Watkins was listed as a full participant at practice on Wednesday but then missed the next two days.
Citing some negative press he has received, he told a few reporters Monday that he would not be talking. He changed his tune later in the week.
“I was a little disappointed with just the way myself and the team had been playing. I just didn’t really have anything to say and said, ‘I think it’s best if I don’t say anything today,’” said Watkins, who went on to address his struggles against Detroit.
“Overall, just the focus and technique, I got away from it. I felt things had actually been going pretty well up until that point. And I feel I had done a pretty good job of getting honed in before each game – got ready for the Giants and Pittsburgh and Arizona. It just kind of got away from me that game.”
Kelly has played three snaps for the Eagles through six games.