Eagles Elevate Starting-Caliber CB from Practice Squad

Giants a prime landing spot for newly-released Eagles CB Trevor Williams

Getty Ex-Chargers CB Trevor Williams defends a pass intended for Michael Crabtree

The Eagles added some much-needed depth to their secondary on Saturday.

Philadelphia elevated Trevor Williams from the practice squad to the active roster ahead of Sunday’s home opener. The veteran cornerback will be the team’s fifth corner after they placed special-teams ace, Craig James, on injured reserve. The Eagles are allowed to move one more player up from the practice squad before kickoff. Joe Ostman seems like the most logical addition considering the injuries to Brandon Graham (concussion) and Derek Barnett (hamstring).

Williams is a starting-caliber corner who has seen action in 39 games, including 27 starts, in four NFL seasons during stints with the Chargers and Cardinals. He had inked a futures contract with the Eagles last January before bouncing around between waivers and the practice squad.

The 27-year-old attended Penn State where he began his career as a wide receiver then switched to corner after his freshman year. His 86-yard interception return for the Chargers in 2018 was the fourth-longest that season. Williams has racked up 110 total tackles (four for loss), plus three picks and 22 passes defensed.

Multiple injuries (ankle, knee) have stalled a once-promising career but he’s a nice insurance policy behind Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Nickell Robey-Coleman and Cre’Von LeBlanc. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was pleased with the effort his cornerbacks displayed last week against Washington. Obviously, the end result wasn’t what they wanted.

“All our corners, playing that much man-to-man, put a lot of pressure on those guys,” Schwartz said. “Didn’t give up a lot of big plays down the field, which I thought was encouraging. Doesn’t change the result.”

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Doug Pederson Discusses Injury Management

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson admitted that it’s a bit of a balancing act this season in dealing with how to designate injured players. There are extra roster spots available and players placed on IR may return in three weeks as the NFL attacks the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a strategy on how teams manage the 53-man roster.

“You have 16 available [practice-squad members], but those four guys may come up or not. That’s an added bonus I think for every team,” Pederson said. “The three-week IR is obviously a different change which helps, right. You can move some things around. It’s a little different.”

Teams may also choose to protect four players from the practice squad so rivals can’t poach them, like the Eagles did with Jamon Brown. The deadline for doing that is 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The Eagles protected the following players: Jamon Brown, Joe Ostman, T.Y. McGill, Trevor Williams. Remember, practice-squad players are usually up for grabs and subject to waivers in a normal year.

“I rely obviously on Howie [Roseman] and his understanding of those rules probably more so than myself,” Pederson said. “I’m focused more on the team and the football side. Yeah, it definitely is week-to-week that way in roster construction.”

Josh McCown remains the team’s emergency/quarantine quarterback. He is sitting at home in Texas and ready to break the glass if needed.

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