Could Eagles Bring Back a Familiar Face at Safety?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Hint: It's one of the guys in this picture (not Trotter).

With Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid revealing that rookie safety Nate Allen will "struggle" to play this Monday against the Washington Redskins, the team is likely to start considering a safety to bring in for a week or two.

As it stands, the team has only two healthy safeties on the roster in strong safety Quintin Mikell and rookie Kurt Coleman, who stepped in for Allen after he was injured against the Colts.

Coleman played well and will get the start this week, but the team will need more than two healthy safeties.

The original plan was for Dimitri Patterson to kick back to safety, but he'll be starting in place of the injured Ellis Hobbs. Rookie linebacker Keenan Clayton played safety for two years at Oklahoma, but he has seen minimal snaps this season and likely isn't ready to step in if such a situation would arise.

The team also has safety/cornerback Jamar Wall on the practice squad but, like Clayton, it's doubtful the team would trust him to fill in.

So, with the guys on the roster ruled out, the next step is the free agent pool. While it's a fairly thin market, it is worth noting that there are two familiar faces still floating around in NFL purgatory -- Quintin Demps and Macho Harris.

Demps and Harris both got the axe for essentially the same reasons. They played soft, showed almost no signs of improvement, and the team had more pressing needs they needed to address.

Had the numbers been closer, it's possible one or both would have stuck around simply for depth, but it would have required going thin on either line (which Reid would never do) or parting ways with one of the team's young linebackers.

It didn't take a lot of evaluation to see parting ways with Demps and Harris was the way to go.

But now that the team is in desperate need of depth, it would make sense that Demps or Harris would get the call. Both guys know the defense, both have seen a lot of time in Sean McDermott's scheme, and as backups looking to get maybe 10-12 snaps it would make sense to bring in a guy who already knows what he's doing.

If they bring in anyone else, it would mean cramming them with the scheme and hoping they pick it up in time. With Demps or Harris, that's a step they can skip entirely.

So, if the choice comes down to Demps or Harris, who do they take?

For my money, it's probably Harris. Demps is a guy who plays far too recklessly, gets himself wildly out of position, and seems to think he's more of a play-maker than he really is.

With Harris, the biggest gripe was that he just had no interest in tackling. I'm not sure if he thought he was too good to tackle or if he was scared or if he just couldn't do it, but bringing down a ball-carrier was certainly not his strong suit.

If it's either of the first two reasons, perhaps sitting at home for half the season has humbled him enough to the point that he'll be excited for the opportunity to tackle someone.

In addition to being able to play safety, Harris could step in at corner in a pinch. Because let's not forget, the team is also thin there as well.

Patterson and Asante Samuel are the starters with Joselio Hanson in the nickel, but with Hobbs injured the only reserve corners are rookie Trevard Lindley and Jorrick Calvin. Lindley has seen some time but is still very much in the developmental stage, and Calvin is about 99 percent special teams player and one percent corner.

I'm not even sure Calvin has seen any reps at corner in practice, much less in a game.

Of course, if the Eagles bring in a corner until Hobbs is healthy, Harris' versatility just becomes an added bonus for the team to keep in their back pocket for a week or so.

There's no guarantee the team will bring anyone in while Allen gets himself healthy, but if they should choose to do so, Demps or (preferably) Harris, are the only choices that make sense.

UPDATE: According NBC-KECI in Montana (yeah, Montana) the Eagles are prepared to sign safety Colt Anderson off the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad. He will take the spot of the recently-waived Joique Bell on the Eagles' 53-man roster.

The team also worked out free agent defensive back Cary Harris. Absent from the workouts were Demps or Macho.

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