Birds complete practice squad; Value of preseason?
Birds complete practice squad; Value of preseason?
The Eagles have completed their practice squad with the signing of safety Chip Vaughn.
He was drafted by New Orleans in the fourth round in 2009 and spent his first season on injured reserve. He was cut Saturday after playing in all four preseason games and registering 12 tackles.
With the signing of Vaughn, the Eagles eight-man practice squad is set. WR Chad Hall, RB Martell Mallett, G/C Dallas Reynolds, C A.Q. Shipley, and DT Jeff Owens were re-signed by the Eagles on Sunday, while TE Garrett Mills, WR Jeremy Williams and Vaughn were added today.
Updated: The Eagles have signed tight end Garrett Mills and wide receiver Jeremy Williams to the practice squad.
The Eagles have one more spot to fill.
Mills spent the last three seasons with the Vikings, recording seven catches for 91 yards in nine games.
Williams was released by the San Diego Chargers over the weekend after signing as a rookie free agent out of Tulane. He had 84 receptions for 1,113 yards and seven TDs for the Green Wave in 2009.
Also, running back Charles Scott is heading back East. Scott was drafted by the Eagles and then traded last week to the Cardinals. He was released by the Cardinals and signed today to the Giants' practice squad.
Former Eagles wide receiver Jordan Norwood, a Penn State product, was added to the Browns' practice squad, giving new GM Tom Heckert another ex-Eagle on his roster.
Andy Reid concedes that he puts virtually no stock in trying to win the preseason games. The game-planning is minimal and the goal is to evaluate players.
The Eagles finished this preseason at 2-2 and have only had one winning record in the preseason in Reid's 12 seasons, going 2-1 in 2001. (The other game against Baltimore was canceled because of problems with the turf at the Vet.)
Here are the Eagles' preseason records under Reid and how the regular season turned out:
1999: 1-3, 5-11
2000: 1-3, 11-5
2001: 2-1, 11-5
2002: 1-3, 12-4
2003: 2-2, 12-4
2004: 1-3, 13-3
2005: 2-2, 6-10
2006: 2-3, 10-6
2007: 1-3, 8-8
2008: 2-2, 9-6-1
2009: 1-3, 11-5
2010: 2-2, ???
You might recall the last time the Eagles and Packers played, some poor decisions by the Eagles' punt returners helped Green Bay to a 16-13 win in the 2007 opener.
Greg Lewis muffed a punt that led to a touchdown and J.R. Reed tried to field a punt in heavy traffic in the final minute. Reed bobbled the punt, the Packers recovered and then kicked the winning field goal. Neither Lewis nor Reed had ever retured punts in a regular-season game.
With DeSean Jackson back there, that problem seems to be resolved.
The issues in the return game look to be on the other side this time around. When the Packers set their 53-man roster, Jordy Nelson was left as their main punt and cut returner. General manager Ted Thompson opted not to make another move or pull the trigger on any trades he was considering, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette.
The Packers were No. 24 in the league in punt returns last year and No. 19 in kick returns.
“I understand that (thinking),” Thompson said of the apparent shortcomings. “Again, we have a number of fellas that have done returns and done it pretty well. I think our special teams has been a focus all offseason. I know there were times during the preseason games where it didn’t look like we were performing well, but we think we have got a good 53-man roster, and we think that leads to having pretty good special teams. So that is what we believe in.”
The Packers also could consider running back Brandon Jackson on kickoff returns and receiver Brett Swain on punt returns. Rookie Sam Shields returned punts and kickoffs early in training camp but struggled with drops.
Here's one person sorta picking the Eagles to go all the way. Syndicated columnist Norman Chad has named the Eagles his "Team of Destiny."
"The NFC East has three Pro Bowl quarterbacks - McNabb, the Cowboys' Tony Romo and the Giants' Eli Manning - and Kevin Kolb. Kolb will outplay them all. It will be an almost identical situation to 1962, when the film "Lawrence of Arabia" had a cast that included Peter O'Toole, Anthony Quinn and Alec Guinness - and I accurately surmised that unheralded Omar Sharif would out-act them all.
"Kolb is the anti-Jay Cutler - don't get me started on that guy again; besides, my e-mail box can't handle the load of grammatically challenged ALL CAP messages from Cutler apologists - and, unconventional as it may be, my PBR-induced wisdom has him flying high with the Eagles, your 2010 Team of Destiny on the road to the Super Bowl."
The Eagles have five players on their practice squad thus far and have three spots to fill. The five thus far spent training camp with the Eagles; the remaining three seem more likely to come from outside the organization.
In other practice squad news, former Eagles draftee Paul Fanaika has landed with Cleveland. He was cut by the Browns over the weekend.
Also, Will Barker is on Tampa Bay's practice squad. No Eagles connection here. Barker is a product of the Haverford School and the University of Virginia.
The Eagles are off today and tomorrow and then begin their normal schedule of game week preparation on Wednesday for Green Bay.