Eagles Elevate Greg Ward
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Many fans have asked why the Eagles haven't tried something different at wide receiver and those critics may be about to get their wish.
Injuries to Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) have left the embattled starters questionable for Sunday's game against 8-2 Seattle so Philadelphia elevated slot receiver Greg Ward from the practice squad on Saturday.
To make room for Ward on the roster safety Rudy Ford was placed on injured reserve stemming from an abdomen injury that worsened in practice during the week.
Ward, a star quarterback in college at the University of Houston, spent part of his week as the scout team signal caller mimicking Seahawks star Russell Wilson because of his size and athletic similarities. He's spent at least part of the last three seasons on the Eagles practice squad as he made the transition from college QB to NFL slot option.
Ward also spent the spring in the now-defunct AAF with San Antonio and showcased his skills as both a receiver and returner. He joins a group that will have only four healthy bodies against Seattle, joining the recently-returned Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins, and rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside.
If both Jeffery and Agholor push through and the former practiced in only a limited fashion this week while the latter didn't practice at all Ward might not even be active but if the latter is unable to go the Texas native figures to be the slot WR with the others mixing in on the outside.
Ford, meanwhile, got an opportunity to be the third safety in Jim Schwartz's Big-nickel looks in the loss to New England last week and held up well in his first limited opportunity. It will also more than likely be his last as an IR designation right now means Ford has to sit out at least eight games.
While the Eagles still have both their return designations remaining, Ford is not the type of difference-maker that would be earmarked for a return and even if he was a deep playoff run to the NFC Championship Game would be needed before it could even be considered.
Without Ford, who is also a core special-teamer, the Eagles are down to only three safeties, starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, along with rookie Marcus Epps, who was just claimed via waivers from Minnesota two weeks ago.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen