Ex-Eagles Super Bowl Champion Hits IR, Team Adds Former Baylor CB

Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Getty Halapoulivaati Vaitai celebrates a score with the Eagles.

The Eagles officially added Jameson Houston — called “one of the best lock-down” cornerbacks in the Big 12 — to their practice squad. The team brought Houston in for a tryout last week and needed secondary depth after sending Cre’Von LeBlanc to IR with a high ankle sprain. Houston recorded 86 tackles, one interception and 16 passes defensed in 35 games for Baylor.

Philadelphia is down to four cornerbacks on the active roster in Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Michael Jacquet, along with safeties Jalen Mills, Marcus Epps, Rodney McLeod, Will Parks, K’Von Wallace. Cornerback Craig James remains on injured reserve and safety Rudy Ford is battling a nagging hamstring injury. The Eagles also have hybrid defensive backs Elijah Riley and Grayland Arnold on the practice squad.

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Eagles Remain Confident in Maddox

Maddox, who is starting opposite Slay, has drawn criticism for not making a smooth transition to the outside. He has moved around over the past three years from safety to nickel corner to outside corner.

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz doesn’t have an issue with Maddox’s performance through 10 games. Last week, he was flagged for defensive pass interference in the end zone during the first quarter to put the ball at the Eagles’ 1-yard line. However, the defense made a goal-line stand.

“We have confidence in him no matter where he is on the field,” Schwartz said. “He’s a good, tough football player. He’s had some rough patches this year, but he’s also bounced back and had some really good patches. He’s probably a lot like our defense and really he had about one bad play in that game, the pass interference and his eyes got a little bit bad and had to go chase a play and put himself in a tough position on that play.”

Schwartz went on to assess the play of his other cornerbacks last week versus Cleveland. He called out Robey-Coleman as having one of his best games of the 2020 campaign.

“I thought Nickell Robey had one of his best games of the year for us,” Schwartz said. “We were playing a lot of man-to-man, particularly on third downs, and there were a lot of bunch situations, a lot of pick situations and we really saw Robey’s, his veteran experience out there sorting a lot of that stuff out. I thought he covered really well in this game, and I thought we saw good signs from those guys.”

Lions Place Halapoulivaati Vaitai on IR

Former Eagles swing tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai was placed on IR. Vaitai inked a five-year, $45 million with the Lions this offseason but has been saddled with a nagging foot injury dating back to training camp.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound versatile offensive lineman made seven starts for Detroit bouncing around between right tackle and right guard. He has allowed 4.5 sacks in seven games this season. Vaitai was a vital cog on the Eagles’ 2017 world championship team and started 10 games, including Super Bowl LII, at left tackle after Jason Peters went down.

Many had poked fun at the Eagles for letting him go in free agency, although Vaitai’s signing has been deemed a “colossal mistake” by some in Detroit. Either way, “Big V” is out for at least three weeks and probably longer.

“Big V’s out there battling every day and I think he’s pushing through some things that have restricted him a little bit,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said, via Detroit Free Press. “He’s a tough guy. He just goes out and really tries to do everything he can to help the team. At that point, I’ll probably leave it at that as far as that’s concerned.”

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