They are moves made for the short-term projection and for the long-term vision of the 53-man roster. When the Eagles re-signed tight end Cornelius Ingram on Thursday, for example, they did so because they felt that Ingram's knee had improved enough to handle practice every day and that maybe, just maybe, he would soon be ready to help the Eagles win a game on a coming Sunday.
The Eagles treat the practice squad, the 8-player band of young prospects, very seriously. These are not throwaway decisions. Rather, the Eagles look at their practice-squad players as developing talents who have an opportunity to prove they can help if called up to the 53-man squad.
How many times have we seen a player promoted from the practice squad and help on game days? The most recent example is Chad Hall, who has made the most of his time on the 53-man roster after starting the season on the practice squad. Hall has become an interesting and productive niche piece in the Eagles' offense.
Players come and go quickly at the practice squad level. The roster jockeying is calculated. All 32 teams watch and evaluate every player on every roster, so when the Eagles needed to release running back Joique Bell to add safety Colt Anderson from the Vikings' practice squad, they knew Bell might be claimed by another team. He was, and Indianapolis makes for his third team of this NFL season (the Eagles signed Bell from Buffalo's practice squad on September 21).
These are players who are likely not to become stars. Rather, they supplement the roster, help on special teams and fill in when needed. Having Ingram back is particularly intriguing. He was a top-rate prospect based on his rookie performance in the spring and in the early part of training camp until a knee injury ended his rookie campaign. The Ingram who practiced this past spring and in training camp was not the explosive Ingram of a year earlier.
Now? We shall see. The kid has oodles of talent. The Eagles clearly saw something to bring him back. This wasn't a move made of sympathy. It was a move made to improve the team, even if the results aren't immediately noticeable.
** NEWS, NOTES AND A LITTLE BIT OF THIS AND THAT
- Who plays running back for Washington on Monday night? As compelling as the quarterback story is for the Redskins, of importance for the Eagles is who lines up at running back. Ryan Torain, who had a big game in October at Lincoln Financial Field, is battling a hamstring injury. Clinton Portis is recovering from the groin injury he suffered against the Eagles. It could be that Keiland Williams takes the majority of the handoffs from Donovan McNabb. It is a mystery that has some impact on the game.
- Another Redskins injury to note is a knee injury for return man Brandon Banks. The Redskins are not ruling him out for Monday night after he had surgery during the team's bye week. Banks is a dynamic return man.
- The Eagles are back at work on Thursday after having Monday through Wednesday off. However, many, many players reported to the NovaCare Complex during those days to get work in on their own. Good sign.
- Would love to see Jerome Harrison get a bit more work in the weeks ahead. He had his taste on Sunday with a pair of carries for 6 yards. He can help this team in the ground game.
- I can't say I know much about safety Colt Anderson. Quintin Demps, in case you were wondering, is playing in the UFL, so signing him would have required buying out his contract there and that wasn't going to happen. How much can Anderson learn in a week? He spent all day on Wednesday with the defensive backs coaches going over the basics.