Grymes Set to Make Another Push at Eagles’ Roster
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Aaron Grymes is very familiar with the thesis that life is not always fair.
The undersized former CFL star was making a strong push to make the Eagles' roster last August when he put a period on his case by making a brilliant interception in the end zone against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Grymes' feel-good story came with a postscript, however. The 26-year-old Seattle native injured his shoulder on the very same play and a spot on the 53-man roster turned into a waived/injured designation.
Grymes was eventually brought back to the practice squad after injuries to Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks and now he's gearing up for another push toward the main roster at a position where the Eagles need depth.
“I think it’s pretty open,” Grymes said at his locker Tuesday after a rainy OTA practice finished up. “I kind of felt like that last year. I knew Nolan (Carroll) would be here, knew Leodis (McKelvin) would be here, there were guys you knew would be here.”
There are gimmees for the roster this time around as well, starting with second-year starter Jalen Mills, free-agent pickup Patrick Robinson and third-round pick Rasul Douglas.
With second-rounder Sidney Jones still rehabbing from a torn Achilles and likely to begin the season on the PUP or NFI lists, that still leaves plenty of room for depth.
And that's where Grymes fits in as he battles with players like Brooks, second-year man C.J. Smith, as well as former Jacksonville third-round pick Dwayne Gratz and perhaps Mitchell White, like Grymes a former star in the CFL.
“You kind of know there will be a couple guys that will be here," Grymes admitted. "But those last couple spots are still open. For me it’s just kind of trying to repeat what I did last year, except better, and obviously stay healthy.”
Throughout OTAs so far, Robinson and Mills have been the first-team corners with Mills moving inside to the slot in the nickel as Douglas replaces him on the outside.
Grymes has been mixing in with the second team, mainly in the slot, while Gratz and Smith handle things on the outside.
The process has been easier for Grymes this time around because he's already been through it once and understands what Jim Schwartz is expecting.
“I think it’s been a lot easier,” Grymes told 973espn.com. “Knowing the defense, things happen slower for me now because I’m not picking up the play and the guy I’m guarding. I’m just worrying about the guy I’m guarding because of muscle memory. I know where to be now, I know what to expect, I know the speed of the game. I know a lot of their routes and formations. For me it’s easier. I feel a lot smarter. I’m able to play faster because I see things slower if that makes sense.”
For now Grymes biggest obstacle remains his size. At just 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds with solid short-area quickness he seems to have been pigeonholed as an inside player by the Eagles and generally coaches need more versatility from backups.
What Grymes does best, however, is compete and if he plays like he did last summer while emerging healthy after doing it, it's hard to imagine the Eagles not rewarding that.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen