Apparently, new defensive coordinator Sean McDermott is not afraid to roll the dice. Quintin Demps, who entered training camp as the starting free safety, said rookie Macho Harris had that role during Monday's brief practice.
Most players, including Harris, were not available to reporters after the closed practice, but Demps spoke at length about how he felt he had not made the most of his opportunity. Demps, who was the Birds' kick returner last year, apparently won't start the season in that role, either -- he said Ellis Hobbs will return kicks. Demps said he will be a special teams "gunner."
"I'm just going to come to work, man, pin my ears back and play football," Demps said. "When you've got an opportunity, you've got to capitalize on it."
Asked how he thought Harris won the job -- as a latecomer to what had been a competition between Demps and veteran Sean Jones -- Demps said: "He just had that hunger. When you first come in, like, I came in last year (as a rookie), you have nothing to lose. My second year, I felt like I had a lot to lose, so I was playing not to lose instead of to win."
Demps also said he didn't think his comments last week, in which he seemed surprised and annoyed not to have the starting job locked up, helped him in the final analysis.
None of the linebackers was available; the assumption is that Omar Gaither is starting in the middle.
Shawn Andrews practiced at right tackle and expects to play in Sunday's opener at Carolina, against Julius Peppers and the Panthers.
"Football is football. I'm physical, I'm athletic, and the big thing is just being fundamentally technically sound. The rest of it will take care of itself," said Andrews, when asked how hard it would be, not having played in a game since Week 2 last season.
Earlier, the Eagles completed their eight-member practice squad, bringing back three more players they'd waived on Saturday, when they were bringing their roster size down to 53. The only practice squad member who wasn't with the Birds in camp is linebacker Jeremy Leman, who was cut by the Panthers. Surely it's pure coincidence that the Eagles open with Leman's former team.
Among those returning is 2008 fourth-round draft pick Jack Ikegwuonu, nicknamed "Iguana" by teammate Asante Samuel. Ikegwuonu's recovery from a devastating knee injury suffered preparing for the draft has been slower than the Eagles had hoped. The other returnees are safety Reshard Langford and fullback Marcus Mailei.
Players are off tomorrow before a regular day of practice on Wednesday.