McDougle set for his debut

Updated: November 5, 2003, 8:54 PM ET
ESPN

PHILADELPHIA -- Jerome McDougle watched helplessly while the Philadelphia Eagles lost one defensive lineman after another to injury.

The rookie defensive end from Miami finally can do something about it, having been cleared to play for the first time this season against the Green Bay Packers on Monday night.

"I'm excited. I'm ready to go now," McDougle said Wednesday. "I was out there in practice, jumping around."

McDougle, the 15th pick in last April's draft, has been sidelined since the preseason finale with a high left ankle sprain. He also hurt his hip and knee, but the ankle injury was the most serious.

A standout in college, McDougle was expected to make an immediate impact after the Eagles traded up 15 spots with the San Diego Chargers to get him. Instead, he became just another member of the defensive line to go down with an injury.

The Eagles lost defensive ends Derrick Burgess (Achilles' tendon) and Jamaal Green (leg) for the season before the opener. Defensive tackle Paul Grasmanis (Achilles' tendon) went down for the season in Week 2, and run-stuffing tackle Hollis Thomas (biceps) was lost for the season two weeks ago.

"It's been frustrating," McDougle said. "It can get you down mentally, but I'm past that now. I'm back and I'm ready."

Expectations were high for McDougle in the offseason. The Eagles hoped he'd help replace three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Hugh Douglas, who left for Jacksonville through free agency.

The Eagles have struggled rushing the quarterback, getting just 15 sacks. Defensive tackles Corey Simon and Darwin Walker each have three, but N.D. Kalu's two sacks are the only ones by ends.

Last year, the Eagles got 26{ sacks from their defensive ends, including a team-high 12{ from Douglas. Douglas has just one sack for the Jaguars in eight games.

"I have high expectations for myself," McDougle said. "I"m going to go out there and do what I know I can do."

McDougle probably will share snaps with Brandon Whiting on the left side and could get some on the right side for Kalu. McDougle eventually plans to be playing every down.

"I'm an every-down guy, not just pass downs. I play the run and the pass," he said. "I bring speed, a high motor, I'm explosive, a run-stopper, everything."

McDougle had 114 tackles and 14 sacks in two seasons at Miami, and was a second-team All-American last year. He held out for a week in training camp, but picked up the defense quickly after reporting.

His teammates are eager to see McDougle on the field.

"When I saw him line up on the left side in practice, I just smiled," Kalu said. "We know how bad he wants to be out there, how frustrated he was. He's a top pick, he has a lot of talent and he hasn't been able to show people what he can do."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index