Eagles Notebook: Salas opening Eagles' eyes

Posted: August 13, 2013

IT'S UNCLEAR exactly how many people were still watching the Eagles' 31-22 preseason-opening loss to the Patriots on Friday when Greg Salas made the catch of the evening, on the next-to-last snap.

With 13 seconds remaining, undrafted rookie quarterback G.J. Kinne chucked a long pass down the middle to Salas. It was overthrown, but Salas reached up with one hand, snagged it and tumbled to the turf at the Patriots' 2, a 35-yard gain.

The final 13 seconds of preseason contests generally belong to guys whose tape of themselves playing against the bottom of some other team's 90-man roster will serve as a career highlight.

But Salas was a fourth-round pick of the Rams in 2011, caught eight passes for 77 yards one day against the Packers. Is it hard to be out there in the final seconds of a preseason game, fighting for scraps from the feast?

"No, because you're fighting for a job right now," Salas said yesterday, after getting some rare first-team reps during the Eagles' public training-camp practice at Lincoln Financial Field. Eagles coach Chip Kelly noted after Friday's game that Salas is "one of those guys that just keeps showing up." His 54 receiving yards Friday, on three catches, led both teams.

Salas broke his left fibula midway through his rookie season. Then the Rams changed coaching staffs and he was traded to New England, which played him only once last year before putting him on waivers Nov. 24. The Eagles claimed Salas but never activated the former Hawaii star.

At 6-1, 210, Salas has the size Kelly covets. And with Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn already out for the season, he seems to stand a strong chance of making the roster.

"I never really got a full offseason with anybody," Salas said. "This is my first full offseason since I've been in the league."

Salas said the play was a double post. "The safety bit on the first post, and I was able to get open."

Jason Avant recalled Salas making the same catch in practice against the Pats last week. "He stayed on his feet in practice. We gave him a hard time [Friday]; we said if he stayed on his feet, he'd have scored a touchdown, so we weren't impressed."

Said Kelly: "I thought Salas was the one guy after the first three that really stood out to us," the best of the group behind DeSean Jackson, Avant and Riley Cooper.

Of course, this is not the league's most elite corps of wide receivers. Kelly acknowledged yesterday that he had tight end Clay Harbor working outside during the Linc practice, mostly because there is no wide receiver out there the Eagles feel like bringing in for a look, until other teams trim their rosters.

"He had three big catches for us on Friday night. He's probably the fastest of the tight ends. So until, really, there are some cutdowns and some guys available, we think the best route for us is the guys we have. If we can crosstrain Clay a little bit and get him to play outside receiver . . . we believe he knows how to play inside and understands a lot of route concepts . . . He's a big body. He's physical. Not worried about him blocking corners, and he's the one tight end we have that's got really, really good speed . . . We'll try to get him some reps this week so he can feel comfortable, and hopefully we can get him in a game out there."

Birdseed

The Eagles signed a long snapper, James Winchester, in case Jon Dorenbos doesn't recover from his concussion in time to play Thursday against Carolina . . . Tackle Lane Johnson missed yesterday's practice in the wake of the birth of his son . . . Tackle Jason Peters (hamstring) was a limited participant. He said he'll be fine for the season opener, and probably will play before then . . .

When Riley Cooper left the Eagles for counseling, cornerback Cary Williams called Cooper's N-word usage an "elephant in the room." Williams was asked yesterday about Cooper being back. "He said he made a mistake. I'm gonna leave it as a mistake and forgive him and move forward," Williams said . . . Chip Kelly said LeSean McCoy, who returned to practice after rehabbing a minor knee injury, is "a little bit more Chuckles the Clown than I am." That's fine as long as Shady stays away from the Peter Peanut suit. "I had an MRI and my knee's actually pretty good for a guy who's been in the league 5 years," McCoy, 25, said. "It was just a little sore from working so hard" . . . The Eagles said 28,000 people attended practice.

Click here for complete coverage of Philadelphia Eagles training camp.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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