The Eagles might have a linebacker problem but their secondary should be getting a much-needed jolt. Philadelphia activated safety Will Parks to the 21-day practice window as the hometown kid gets closer to a return. The former Broncos star was one of their prized free-agent signings, a hybrid cornerback-safety who went to Germantown High School.
He has been dealing with a hamstring injury since training camp and hit injured reserve on Sept. 6.
“Well there’s different grades of hamstrings, different levels of hamstrings,” head coach Doug Pederson told reporters about Parks last week. “His was significant enough to miss the amount of time that he’s missed, but he’s another one that we’re slowly working back.”
The injury bug has bitten the Eagles hard this season, especially in the secondary. Safety Rudy Ford — one of their best special-teams players — is on injured reserve with a hamstring issue while starting cornerback Avonte Maddox is out due to a bum ankle.
Starting safety Jalen Mills has been subbing for Maddox at corner, with veteran Marcus Epps and rookie K’Von Wallace taking turns opposite Rodney McLeod. Parks could slide right into a starting role in Philly and hopefully band-aid a lot of coverage problems.
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Eagles Waive 2 Rookies: S Grayland Arnold, DE Casey Toohill
Arnold — another cornerback-safety hybrid — had been seeing increased snaps on special teams as a gunner and saw a team-high 16 snaps on special teams in Week 5. He was mentioned as one of the possible breakout stars out of all the undrafted rookie free agents.
Toohill, a seventh-round linebacker out of Stanford, was making the transition to defensive end in the NFL. The 6-foot-5, 254-pounder had 14.5 sacks in college, including eight during his senior season. Toohill really stood out at Eagles’ training camp as an edge rusher and a guy naturally suited for the Joker role. He played 22 snaps in Week 2 against Los Angeles but never got another opportunity.
“I think it just comes down to your own habits, your own routine,” Toohill said at the beginning of camp. “For me, there are many ways to improve and it’s not always just physically on the field. It could be mentally, it could be emotionally, it could be anything like that. You have to self-evaluate.”
Eagles Protect TE Jason Croom, DB Elijah Riley
Croom gives them added depth at a position of need as Dallas Goedert remains on injured reserve. The team has starter Zach Ertz and veteran Richard Rodgers on the active roster, along with newcomer Hakeem Butler.
Croom went undrafted out of Tennessee in 2017 and spent his first two years with Buffalo. The 6-foot-5, 246-pounder has recorded 22 receptions for 259 yards and one touchdown in 16 career games. He played two offensive snaps for the Eagles in Week 5 versus Pittsburgh.
Riley was a four-year starter at Army where he recorded seven interceptions and 201 total tackles (17.5 for loss). He flashed at training camp and caught the eye of head coach Doug Pederson for the way the 5-foot-11 safety battled in coverage.
“Grayland [Arnold], along with a lot of other young safeties, K’Von [Wallace], Elijah [Riley], those guys have done a really good job in what they’ve been asked to do,” Pederson said early in camp. “I said this last week. It’s a very difficult situation for safeties. There’s a lot to learn, a lot of moving pieces. They don’t have many opportunities to get chances to sort of get their feet under them.”
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