The Eagles utilized a three-safety package on third downs last week against the Bears as Macho Harris played the role of nickel cornerback. Harris said that it's "more than likely" that he will reprise the role again this Sunday against the Redskins. A cornerback at Virginia Tech, the rookie said he was "comfortable" with the job.
"It's a lot of fun," Harris said. "Coming out of college knowing the position, I was comfortable, so I could really play ball."
Harris also said that he will be the kickoff returner if Quintin Demps is unable to play. Demps has missed the last two games with a high-ankle sprain. Special teams coordinator Ted Daisher said that the team will have a better idea on Friday whether Demps can play. According to Daisher, the Eagles want to see how Demps' ankle responds to practice. Even if Demps can play, Daisher left the door open for both Demps and Harris to return kickoffs.
"We'll have to see how healthy (Demps) is, how he's cutting, how he looks," Daisher said. "There's a chance that both may do it. We have to wait and see how he responds."
Harris is averaging 26.1 yards per kickoff return in seven attempts this season and netted a career-long 32-yard return last week against the Bears.
"I think he's done a good job. He's a north-south runner, very decisive with the ball. He's shown some toughness," Daisher said. "He found some seams last week. He's coming along nicely."
It's been a whirlwind season for the fifth-round draft pick. He opened the season as the starter at free safety. He notched a career-high 10 tackles in the loss to the Raiders. He suffered an ankle injury and missed the win over the Giants. The Eagles decided to put veteran Sean Jones in at free safety and he's started the last four games. Harris said that the experience to this point has prepared him to maneuver around the defense wherever needed.
"At first my head was spinning and stuff like that and it was tough for me to pick up reads, but now that I'm coming along I'm starting to read everything and it's starting to look slow to me now," Harris said.
The secondary has been in a constant state of change for the past few weeks. Nickel cornerback Joselio Hanson is serving a four-game suspension and still has to sit out for two more games. Cornerback and kickoff return man Ellis Hobbs suffered a season-ending neck injury against Dallas. Starting corners Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel have missed time over the past two weeks forcing players like Ramzee Robinson into action, despite being out of football the previous week.
The key to surviving the flux is communication says Harris.
"It's definitely tough. The coaches always focus on communicating," Harris said. "You communicate and everybody out there plays one defense, and like the coach says if we play the wrong defense but everybody is playing the wrong defense, we're all right. You want to communicate and just be on the same page with each other."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 11:37 a.m., November 26