If you looked at the box score and saw two catches for 18 yards, you wouldn't think that Kelley Washington did much to make his case to be a member of the 53-man roster when the Eagles cut their ranks from 75 by Saturday at 6 p.m.
But that's the beauty of Washington's game - he does so much more to affect the outcome than contribute as a receiver. Take, for example, Washington's two plays on punt coverage during Thursday night's 21-17 loss to the New York Jets.
In the first quarter, Sav Rocca punted the ball from the Jets' 47-yard-line inside the 5-yard-line. After a big bounce, the ball was headed into the end zone. But Washington was already there waiting for the ball and was able to keep it out of the end zone, dropping the ball onto the 2-yard-line where Eldra Buckley was able to down it.
"There are so many plays during the game that special teams comes up; big plays, game-changing plays," Washington said. "Whether it be a kickoff return, whether it be a downed punt inside the 10, whether it be a tackle inside the 10, there are so many plays that change the momentum of the game and that's what football's about, momentum."
Washington was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty on the punt coverage unit in the second quarter for not returning immediately to the field after being pushed out of bounds as a gunner. Washington said it was a call he'd never seen made before, but it only motivated him to make another play. So on the very next Rocca punt, Washington was waiting at the pylon to play goalie for a Rocca punt that went out of bounds at the 1-yard-line.
"It was an opportunity for me to go out and really make some plays," said Washington, who added that it was his "first last preseason game" in a long time. "I wanted to make a big play, or some plays, out there today. You just have to go out there and do the best you can and understand that it's not in your hands, it's up to the organization."
And that's the next step for Washington, waiting out the tense couple days ahead of the roster trimming. The pertinent questions for Washington are how many wide receivers the Eagles will keep and where Washington stacks up with another veteran wideout, Hank Baskett. Last year, the Eagles kept seven wide receivers to open the year, but that won't be the case this year. Both Washington and Baskett are reliable wide receivers who bring more value on special teams. But this isn't Washington's first rodeo. An eight-year veteran of four different teams, Washington knows how things work in the NFL.
"They've got a lot of young talent here, young receivers, talented receivers. But I really feel I could help them out playing special teams and being a good, solid backup receiver," Washington said. "I could help them out playing special teams a lot ... but that's something for the coaches and the organization to determine.
"If it doesn't happen here, hopefully it will happen somewhere else. That's all part of the business."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:56 a.m., September 3