The monumental challenge facing Christian Elliss

The monumental challenge facing Christian Elliss originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

He was undrafted out of Idaho. He’s been released five times by three different teams. He spent most of the last two years on the Eagles’ practice squad.

Now he’s a starter.

Christian Elliss will make his first NFL start Thursday night when the Eagles face the Vikings at the Linc, and it will be quite a challenge for the 24-year-old undrafted linebacker from Idaho.

He’s replacing Nakobe Dean – who made his first NFL start on Sunday – and he’ll be wearing the green-dot helmet to communicate plays from the coaches to the defense.

And he’ll be doing it all against an explosive offense, a four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, a two-time Pro Bowl tight end and a head coach who won a Super Bowl two year ago as the Rams’ offensive coordinator.

On national TV.

“Wherever the coaches have me, wherever they put me, I’m excited to play,” Elliss said Tuesday. “I’m excited to improve from last week. I think there’s a lot of things that we can work on, especially in the LB room. Me in particular.

“Things that we can get better at. So going into this week, that’s the mindset.”

The Eagles have had a handful of undrafted linebackers start games over the years, most recently T.J. Edwards and Alex Singleton. But then you have to go back to Akeem Jordan late in the Andy Reid Era and before that Mike Reichenback in the 1980s.

Elliss had only played 29 defensive snaps before Sunday in Foxboro – seven as a rookie in 2021, 22 last year, all in mop-up duty.

He played a career-high 34 Sunday and that number might double Thursday night.

The Eagles placed Dean on Injured Reserve Tuesday with the ankle injury he suffered in the third quarter Sunday. He must now miss at least four games, which means he’ll be back Oct. 15 for the Jets at the earliest.

With Dean out, the Eagles don’t currently have a linebacker on the roster who was with the team on opening day last year. Elliss and Zack…


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