Eagles Notes: Eagles add running back from Cardinals

JasonKelce (center), with Nic Purcell (left) and Matt Tobin, will get help in calling out the line's pre-snap blocking assignments. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff
JasonKelce (center), with Nic Purcell (left) and Matt Tobin, will get help in calling out the line's pre-snap blocking assignments. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff
Posted: July 26, 2013

The Eagles made the first of what will likely be a number of training camp roster moves on Wednesday by claiming running back William Powell off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals. The team released wide receiver Nick Miller to make room. 

"Preseason last year, we saw him, he was quick, tough, had good hands, got a lot of work," general manager Howie Roseman said. "This was a guy we thought could bring competition."

Powell, 25, is 5-foot-9 and 207 pounds. In 13 games for the Cardinals last season, including one start, he totaled 217 yards on 60 carries. He also had a strong preseason, totaling 249 yards for 5.9 yards per carry.

The Eagles are already deep at running back, so it's unlikely Powell will make the team. But he adds experience, and the timing is interesting because it comes after Matthew Tucker failed his conditioning test.

"Like Coach [Chip Kelly] says, it's an important part of our program to pass the conditioning test," Roseman said. "You have to do that to play in the NFL. We got to press our guys and have competition. For us, this is a bona-fide NFL player, and we're excited to have him." 

Pass-first safeties

In the spring, a few veteran Eagles safeties said that they would have less to do with stopping the run than they did in the previous two seasons playing behind Jim Washburn's wide-nine defensive front.

Rookie Earl Wolff said Wednesday that defensive coordinator Bill Davis won't be asking his safeties to sell out against the run.

"Honestly, every play we have in the playbook is always 'pass first,' " Wolff said.

Last season, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman were occasionally caught by play-action. In Washburn's system, the defensive linemen were told to think pass rush first, and so the safeties often had run-gap responsibilities.

Davis' safeties, it appears, will have a more traditional role.

Pre-snap chores

Jason Kelce will always be responsible for calling out pre-snap blocking assignments.

But the center won't be the only offensive linemen who will have this job in Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense. The guards and tackles will be responsible for calling and pointing out which defender they will block.

"In this offense, there's a little more responsibility put on the whole offensive line in general on echoing things, because instead of me sitting down, looking at the whole defense surveying things, we're trying to make this as fast as possible," Kelce said. "I still, at the end of the day, need to make the right call, but we're also allowing tackles and guards to help me out a little more."

Barkley's progress

Matt Barkley said he was feeling comfortable with the offense. Training camp has so far included just two practices, and veterans haven't taken the field, but every snap already counts for the quarterbacks, especially a rookie like Barkley.

"It's a slower pace but a quicker practice, so you do get one-on-one time," the Southern Cal product said. "But for us quarterbacks, everyone's out there, so it's normal for us. You get more time to work with receivers and tight ends and such."

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