The Eagles didn't have to look very far in their search for another safety to add to the roster after starting free safety Nate Allen was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon. As a member of the team's practice squad, Jamar Wall already had a locker in the NovaCare Complex. But when he got word Tuesday that the Eagles were promoting him to the active roster, Wall was still pretty excited.
"It was a relief," he said. "You always want that chance to prove yourself. I've been working hard every day and I guess it finally pays off to be patient and wait for your opportunities."
It's been an interesting season for Wall, who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys - the team that drafted him in the sixth round of the 2010 draft - during the final roster cutdown. Wall was then signed by the Houston Texans and played one game, recording one tackle on special teams, before being released two weeks late. For both the Cowboys and Texans, Wall was a cornerback. But Eagles general manager Howie Roseman saw something in Wall that made him curious about a possible position switch. So the Eagles brought in the Texas Tech product as a member of the practice squad and moved him to safety.
"We moved him into the safety spot because he was such a physical corner," Reid said of the 5-10, 202-pound Wall. "Since he's been here, it looks like he's picked things up well and I'm curious to see how he does out there. He was a good special teams player too. We'll see how he does."
Wall said the transition to safety has actually gone smoother than he expected.
"It was kind of tough at first, but I actually feel more comfortable there," Wall said. "It's a little bit more challenging playbook wise but I think I feel more comfortable and I can be a better athlete there.
"At free safety, there's more of a view to be able to really look into the open field. I think I have good instincts and I think it fits me."
With Kurt Coleman and Quintin Mikell now the starters at safety, Wall and Colt Anderson become the backups. Knowing that he's always one or two injuries away from significant playing time, Wall said that he's prepared to play both free and strong safety.
"I'm a bigger guy. I think if I have to, I can fit a hole if I'm the strong (safety), and I think I have enough quickness and instincts to play free (safety)," Wall said. "So I think it very well fits me. I think I can do both interchangeably like the system asks for."
For Wall, an important part of getting on the field will be special teams, where Anderson has excelled since arriving in Philadelphia.
"I think I can be a great special teams contributor," he said. "I'm always going to play as hard as I can; I've never taken a play off. I think they have me at gunner and jammer this week. Jammer is just like being back at corner, something I've done. Gunner, I can use my size to my advantage, try to get downfield. Whatever the put me at, I'm willing to do."
And Wall definitely wants to get on the field, because having watched most of the Eagles season thus far, Wall wants a chance to help contribute to what is amounting to a special season in Philadelphia.
"It's exciting," he said. "I know when I'm watching on TV for the away games, I'm going crazy. So now to actually be on the sideline and be more of a part of the team, I'm sure it's going to feel much better."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 6:11 p.m., December 22