|Rookie guard Dennis Kelly, a fifth-round draft pick from Purdue, will play in his first NFL game on Sunday when the Eagles face the Atlanta Falcons. (US Presswire)|
The Eagles' patchwork offensive line just had another patch slapped on it, as it appears rookie Dennis Kelly will play in his first NFL game this Sunday and start at right guard against the Atlanta Falcons.
Usual starter Danny Watkins missed the last two days of practice with a chronic ankle injury and he's officially listed as doubtful for Sunday. Kelly, a fifth-round pick from Purdue, took the first-team reps in Watkins' place, and it's likely he'll be in the lineup against the Falcons.
When Kelly was asked the obvious question -- what does it feel like, getting ready for your first NFL start, he said. “It's exciting and very humbling."
Kelly started for three years at tackle for Purdue, but the Eagles moved him around during training camp and he's mostly worked at guard in practice since then.
But practice isn't a game and nobody knows how Kelly will do against a good Falcons defense, and that includes Kelly.
“You prepare as much as you can and you go into the game with a positive mindset, but after that, who knows?” he said. “My biggest thing is to go in there and hold my end up and not let these guys down. I just want to keep it as simple as possible, focus on what I have to do and help this team get a win. That would be the perfect start to my career.”
Veteran Todd Herremans,who was also moved to guard early in his career before moving back to tackle, said Kelly played well in the preseason and that the rookie has the tools to succeed at this level.
“He's smart and he's tough and he loves to play football, and those are three pretty good things to start with,'' Herremans said. “I'm sure he'll be a little nervous at first, but he'll settle down and play good football, and that's just what we need.”
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