Eagles Notebook: Eagles' Anderson returning to play special teams

Posted: September 13, 2012

COLT ANDERSON was a whirling dervish on special teams last season. But can a dervish whirl right into Game 2 with no preseason work and no Game 1?

Anderson, who turns 27 next month, hasn't played since tearing his left ACL when he was hit from the side trying to make a special-teams tackle last Dec. 1 in Seattle. He worked out on his own all through training camp, and started practicing fully last week.

"Last week I focused on playing as fast as I can, and it felt good to be out there," Anderson said Wednesday.

He said he will at least play special teams this week against the Ravens, now that the Eagles have cut 2011 second-round draft choice Jaiquawn Jarrett. That would seem to make Anderson the team's third safety, meaning he might see work in the defense, though Jarrett did not play any safety snaps in the opener. "I expect to be out there and play and pick up where I left off," Anderson said.

The only other safety sub is David Sims, the ex-Cleveland Brown the Eagles traded for on roster cutdown day; Sims said Wednesday that he, too, is preparing for a special-teams role this week.

Anderson said he started feeling he was getting back toward where he needed to be to play "around the middle of training camp." That feeling grew last week when practice went well.

Kurt Coleman was asked Wednesday what fans could expect, if Anderson gets defensive snaps. "Colt is just like he is on special teams. He knows how to find the ball and make plays," Coleman said. "I think Colt and I are very similar in the way that we play, in that we're always around the ball, we're always flying around, and we make a play when it comes our way."

Not surprisingly, the safeties spoke up for Jarrett, whose problems never entailed a lack of work or hustle.

"J.J.'s my guy. I wish him all the best of luck," Coleman said. "He will rebound from this. J.J.'s a tough competitor. He's a hard worker. Wherever he lands, he's going to make an impression."

Asked why things never worked out for Jarrett, Coleman said: "It's not that it couldn't have worked out. I stepped up into my role, Nate [Allen, the other starter] did his thing, so there never was a true opportunity for him to really get a lot of playing time."

Actually, if Jarrett had developed as expected, Coleman, a 2010 seventh-rounder, probably wouldn't be starting now. Last season both Coleman and Allen struggled at times, but Jarrett never emerged as a credible option.

Eagles coach Andy Reid didn't want to dissect the Jarrett experience Wednesday, and wasn't willing to give much insight into the earliest cut of a high pick in his 14-year reign.

"I have a lot of respect for the kid," Reid said. "I know he's going to end up hooking on with a team that probably plays a little bit more of his style in the secondary. I know he'll do a great job."

Reid indicated Jarrett might be better with a team that uses a traditional box safety, primarily to support run defense. (This assumes such teams still exist in the pass-happy NFL.)

"For the kid's sake you wanted it to work out," Reid said. "I think he'll land someplace that plays maybe a little bit more his style of secondary play, where he's up there and knocking the heck out of people."

Asked how a team knows when it's time to move on from a draft pick, Reid said: "I think you have to be honest with yourself. If it's working, then it works. If it doesn't, it doesn't . . . You give the kid an opportunity to make a living [elsewhere] . . . We're all human. We all have errors that we make at times. Where we think somebody is going to fit, it doesn't fit, then you give them an opportunity to move on."

Birdseed

Asked if Dion Lewis, no longer on the injury report with that hamstring, is still his No. 2 running back, Andy Reid said "we're still working through all that." . . . Wide receiver Riley Cooper (collarbone) practiced on a limited basis, for the first time since suffering the injury, July 28 at Lehigh. Obviously, Cooper won't be playing this week. "It felt good to get the pads back on and start running around. You feel like you're actually part of the team again," Cooper said . . . Also limited Wednesday were safety Kurt Coleman (facial lacerations) and cornerback Curtis Marsh (hamstring).


 

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