Watkins out; DeVan in
The Philadelphia Inquirer Blog - Eagles
Watkins out; DeVan in
Jeff McLane and Jonathan Tamari
It didn't take long.
Eagles top draft pick Danny Watkins is out as the starting right guard and the recently-acquired Kyle DeVan is in. DeVan, picked up off waivers on Sunday, took all the first team snaps during this morning's walkthrough, a team source said.
With just four days until the Eagles open the regular season at St. Louis, Andy Reid shook up his offensive line once again. This one wasn't as earth-rattling as moving Todd Herremans from left guard to right tackle, because Watkins has been struggling mightily, but it was just one more example that the line is a major concern heading into the season.
Asked if Watkins was his starter, Reid would not confirm, even though he had said following Thursday's preseason game against the New York Jets that the rookie was still at right guard.
"I'm not going to get into all the personnel things here," Reid said during his Wednesday press conference. "We'll see."
Watkins declined to confirm any changes.
"Nothing's changed for me," Watkins said. "We're approaching it like any other week, just getting familiar with the Rams' blitz and defense and fronts."
Since he was drafted in the first round of April's draft, Watkins has been penciled in as the starting right guard. He showed up late for training camp after negotiations for his contract lingered. He started once he arrived, but looked lost at various points in the first three preseason games.
He was also the only starter to play in the preseason finale against the Jets. Obviously, he didn't play well enough to hold onto his job.
"Sometimes it's good to take one small step back to take a big step forward," Reid said. Watkins "will be out there practicing. We got Kyle, who also can play, in that spot. We're comfortable with either direction that we go."
DeVan was released by the Colts on Saturday. He started nine games including all the playoffs for Indianapolis in 2009, and 12 games in 2010. Howard Mudd, the Eagles' current offensive line coach, was his coach in 2009.
"I’m not focused on getting the starting role – I’m focused on contributing and making this team the best it can be," said DeVan, who arrived and got his Eagles playbook just two days ago.
Since the first preseason game, the Eagles offensive line has had three starting right tackles (Ryan Harris, King Dunlap and Herremans), two right guards (Watkins and DeVan), two centers (Jamaal Jackson and Jason Kelce), two left guards (Herremans and Evan Mathis) and Jason Peters at left tackle.
"Coach Reid always does everything with the best interests of the team and the guys," Herremans said. "so this is the right move for right now."
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES:
-- With Joselio Hanson back in the fold, running back Ronnie Brown went back to having Brian Westbrook's old jersey number of 36. Hanson had his regular No. 21 on at practice today.
-- Reid said that quarterback Vince Young would be the only player not to practice today. Young has a hamstring strain and is still "day-to-day," Reid said. Reid also said that if Young wasn't available to play Sunday that he would be comfortable with dressing just Michael Vick and Mike Kafka at quarterback.
-- Reid said that Jeremy Maclin has taken all the first team repetitions at wide receiver during the last few days of practice. Maclin said he will start Sunday. He also said that he could be returning punts alongside DeSean Jackson. Asked if he's handled any punts yet in practice Maclin said, "No."
-- Speaking of Jackson, he still doesn't have a contract extension. Said Reid: "He's taken care of the business side, both he and Drew, and so now he's free to play football and not worry about that and that's what he's done. He said he would do it and that's how he's handled himself. He's been very focused."
Jackson, of course, sat out the first 11 days of camp, but has practiced every day since returning on Aug. 8. "I think DeSean has done great," Vick said. "I think his attitude exemplifies that. He wants to be the consummate teammate, he wants to earn everything that’s going to come his way, and if you see him out on the practice field or you see him in the locker room he’s a happy individual. And you can only control what you can control and things will happen when it’s time and I think he understands that.”
-- Reid said that tackle Winston Justice was shooting to play Sunday. Justice missed all of training camp and the preseason as he recovered from off-season knee surgery. Justice is now the backup right tackle to Herremans.
-- While Steve Smith has been saying that he wants to play Sunday, Reid sounded less optimistic about the chances the receiver will play.