Eagles Blocked from Adding Safety Help
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles still have an open roster spot after shutting down rookie running Donnel Pumphrey last week and they tried to fill it by signing safety DeAndre Houston-Carson off the Chicago Bears practice squad.
The Bears, however, responded by elevating Houston-Carson, who was a sixth-round pick in 2016 when Eagles personnel guru Joe Douglas was still in the Chicago front office, to their own 53-man roster.
Philadelphia is dealing with a number of injuries in the defensive backfield, the latest being hamstring injuries to starting safety Rodney McLeod and hybrid Jaylen Watkins.
McLeod is expected to miss a few weeks, according to an NFL source leaving Jim Schwartz with Malcolm Jenkins and Corey Graham, who was dealing with his own hamstring tenderness last week, as the likely starters in Week 3 against the New York Giants. The only backup would be veteran special teamer Chris Maragos.
"That's just life in the NFL," Schwartz said of the injuries. "I think every situation is different, your opponent is different, the game situation is different. So I don't know if there's anything that you draw back and do. We’ve seen wide receivers, you know, New England Patriots’ Troy Brown played nickel. I had a wide receiver play nickel for me when I was in Detroit. It's not unusual in the NFL. There are only 46 active, and if you get a couple guys injured, I mean, I don't know when the last time it's happened here, but when you keep seven offensive linemen active, you're going to see a tight end at offensive line if you get more than two injuries on the offensive line. It's just built into the business."
Others options who could play safety in the pinch are linebackers Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry, who both played safety in college. Gerry would have to be elevated from the PS, however.
"He's a guy that could do it, and we were gassing him up on the sideline, getting him ready to potentially do that," Schwartz said of Grugier-Hill. "That's one of the things, Nate Gerry is on the practice squad, but that’s another guy that could potentially do things like that. And they’re the guys that probably wouldn’t go into a game starting, but being able to get you out of a game."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen