NFC East: greg salas

The Philadelphia Eagles’ waiver-wire spree didn’t really materialize Sunday. The team was awarded just one player, former Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Shaun Prater.

One possible reason for the relatively light activity: The Jacksonville Jaguars, who are two spots higher than the Eagles on waiver claims, were awarded a stunning seven players. That included two players, DE/LB Chris McCoy and TE Clay Harbor, who were released by the Eagles.

Prater is 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. A fifth-round pick out of Iowa last year, Prater spent his rookie season on injured reserve with patellar tendinitis. He is not expected to be a factor right away. The Eagles will roll with Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher (who played with Prater at Iowa) outside and Brandon Boykin in the slot.

But at least Prater can practice and play. To make room for him, the Eagles released Curtis Marsh, another member of their disastrous 2011 draft class. Marsh had surgery on his broken hand last month and was not available for the last two preseason games.

A couple of other roster-related notes:
  • The Eagles signed four players to their practice squad, all of whom were released over the weekend: OT Michael Bamiro, RB Matthew Tucker, WR Greg Salas and LB Travis Long. They have four more spots to fill.
  • Didn’t do too poorly on my projected 53-man roster, which was posted Friday morning. I had 48 players right. And where I was incorrect, I might have been right in a couple of spots where the Eagles turn out to be wrong.I had McCoy staying and Casey Matthews going. We’ll see how that one turns out.

    I had Salas and Russell Shepard among six wide receivers. The Eagles kept five, including Jeff Maehl. That’s two Oregon guys who made the team that I didn’t expect.

    I thought they’d keep 10 offensive linemen, including Matt Tennant. They went light there, cutting Tennant, and kept one more tight end than I expected: Emil Igwenagu.

    Finally, they kept two more DBs than I expected. One was Colt Anderson, who will play only on special teams. The other was Marsh, who was released today. So maybe I had 4.5 players wrong.
  • Roseman made two trades involving a running back for a linebacker. He got Emmanuel Acho, who made the team, for Dion Lewis, who is on IR in Cleveland. And he got Adrian Robinson, who was cut Friday, for Felix Jones, who made the Steelers roster.
  • The Eagles were off today and have some conditioning work scheduled for Monday. They’ll be off again Tuesday. The practice week for Monday night’s game at Washington begins in earnest on Wednesday.
Most significant move. It’s always eye-catching when a team gives up on a first-round draft pick after just two seasons, but guard Danny Watkins had become irrelevant long before being released Saturday. So the departure of the former firefighter means less on the field than it means symbolically.

It was decisions like drafting Watkins, who was already 26 and had been playing football for just four years, that led to the Eagles’ sharp decline in Andy Reid’s final two seasons. Reid crowed that he had a stud who could step right in and dominate at right guard. After 30 months and 18 starts, Watkins is gone.

Versatility is the key. Head coach Chip Kelly and GM Howie Roseman placed a heavy emphasis on versatility in making decisions, especially at the back end of the roster.

Linebacker Casey Matthews, who plays on all four special-teams units, stayed instead of Chris McCoy, who had a good preseason. Tight end Emil Igwenagu, a strong point-of-attack blocker, beat out Clay Harbor, whose skills were similar to the other tight ends. Wide receiver Jeff Maehl, a high school safety, beat out Greg Salas and Russell Shepard because he’s a tougher special-teams guy.

“We were looking for different skill sets, especially at the back of the roster,” Roseman said. “We felt there was room for some role players on our team.”

What’s next. The Eagles have the No. 4 spot when it comes to being awarded waiver claims. Roseman plans to take advantage of that in order to fill some holes that remain on the roster.

“Sometimes that’s hard to do at this time of year,” Roseman said. “[Jaguars GM] Dave Caldwell’s probably thinking the same thing two spots ahead of us on the wire. We have a draft board set up. We spent an inordinate amount of time on guys we thought would be on the bubble.”

The most pressing needs are in the defensive secondary, where the Eagles are thin at cornerback and simply unimpressive at safety, and at linebacker. There were only three outside linebackers on the roster as of the 6 p.m. deadline.

The cuts:

QB: Dennis Dixon, G.J. Kinne. RB: Matthew Tucker. WR: Greg Salas, Russell Shepard, Ifeanyi Momah, Will Kelly. TE: Clay Harbor. OL: Danny Watkins, Dallas Reynolds, Matt Tennant, Matt Kopa. DL: Antonio Dixon, David King. LB: Chris McCoy, Travis Long, Everette Brown, Adrian Robinson. DB: Trevard Lindley (injured), David Sims. Placed DE Joe Kruger (shoulder) on IR.

Few surprises as Eagles cut to 53

August, 31, 2013
8/31/13
4:41
PM ET
The Philadelphia Eagles got their roster down to 53 with nine more cuts Saturday. The most notable, of course, was former first-round pick Danny Watkins. A few others were more surprising.

Wide receivers Greg Salas and Russell Shepard both had very good training camps. With so many injuries at the position, including projected starter Jeremy Maclin, they looked like candidates to make the team. Both were released. That means Jeff Maehl, who played for coach Chip Kelly at Oregon, made the 53-man roster. Clay Harbor, the tight end who attempted a midsummer conversion to wideout, was also released.

Outside linebacker Chris McCoy, who stood out in Thursday's preseason finale against the Jets, was cut. Emmanuel Acho made the team, as did reserve inside linebacker Casey Matthews. Another linebacker, Travis Long, was cut.

While running back Matthew Tucker looked very good all summer, the Eagles kept just three backs. Tucker, Shepard and tackle Michael Bamiro, a 6-foot-8 behemoth, could all wind up on the practice squad.

The 53-man roster looks like this, pending late additions via trade or the waiver wire:

Quarterbacks (3): Matt Barkley, Nick Foles, Michael Vick

Running backs (3): Bryce Brown, LeSean McCoy, Chris Polk

Wide receivers (5): Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, DeSean Jackson, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Maehl

Tight ends (4): James Casey, Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, Emil Igwenagu

Offensive Line (9): Allen Barbre, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, Dennis Kelly, Evan Mathis, Jason Peters, Matt Tobin, Julian Vandervelde

Defensive line (7): Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Clifton Geathers, Bennie Logan, Isaac Sopoaga, Damion Square, Cedric Thornton

Linebackers (8): Emmanuel Acho, Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham, Mychal Kendricks, Jake Knott, Casey Matthews, DeMeco Ryans

Defensive Backs (11): Nate Allen, Colt Anderson, Brandon Boykin, Patrick Chung, Kurt Coleman, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Hughes, Curtis Marsh, Jordan Poyer, Cary Williams, Earl Wolff

Specialists (3): Jon Dorenbos, Alex Henery, Donnie Jones

Halftime thoughts on Giants-Rams

September, 19, 2011
9/19/11
10:18
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Not completely sure what I've just watched, I will attempt to offer my review of the first half that somehow finds the New York Giants leading the St. Louis Rams 21-6.

Mike Sando of the NFC West blog just pointed out on our live chat that the Giants have had some players make unbelievable plays -- the touchdown catches by Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon and the alert fumble recovery touchdown by Michael Boley chief among them -- and that the Rams have not. And I guess that's as good an explanation as any for how a team could look as bad as the Giants looked in that half and still be up by 15 points.

Eli Manning threw the ball considerably better on that last touchdown drive than he had at any point earlier in the game. He had been underthrowing deep passes to Mario Manningham and throwing tentatively on shorter routes, as if he has no trust in his receiving corps. But he let it loose as he got into that two-minute-drill rhythm, and the result was a third touchdown that seems to have put the Giants in control of the game.

The Rams have helped, to be sure. Rookie Greg Salas fumbled a punt that set the Giants up for their first score. And an insane third-down play call on which Rams quarterback Sam Bradford threw a backwards pass that Cadillac Williams failed to (a) catch or (b) realize was still a live ball led to the Boley touchdown. Mistakes doomed the Rams last week against the Eagles, and they've done so thus far to the Giants' benefit.

It's clear that the return of Justin Tuck helps the defense, as he's made several big tackles to prevent big gains by Rams running backs. And it's too obvious to even mention how important it is that Nicks recovered from his knee injury in time to play this game. He's a superstar in the making, and on the first touchdown drive he showcased once again his incredible ability to locate the ball before the defender does and catch it -- even one-handed, if that's what it takes. The Rams have done a better job of covering him since, which makes it more important that Manning trust Manningham and that the injury with which Hixon limped off just before halftime isn't too serious.

Regardless, the Giants should be running the ball anyway, as they've had success doing so and now have the big lead. If you don't see a lot of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs in the second half, the Giants will be playing with fire.

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