Training camp nutshell: Harbor gets reps at WR

Training camp nutshell: Harbor gets reps at WR

August 11, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Clay Harbor, seen here during training camp in late July, was selected by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft. (AP)

Back in minicamp, the Eagles had tight end Clay Harbor doing some work in drills at linebacker.

Now, head coach Chip Kelly has Harbor on the move again.

To wide receiver.

With a surplus of tight ends and a scarcity of wide receivers, Harbor on Sunday got some work at wideout.

Kelly said this isn’t necessarily a permanent position change or a sign that Harbor isn’t performing well at tight end.

It’s just a move to balance out the practice reps until first cuts later this month.

The Eagles have made it clear they don’t feel there are any wide receivers on the street who can help them, so until first cuts on Aug. 27, when a few dozen wideouts will presumably be released, Harbor will continue to work at times at wide receiver.

“We’ve got seven tight ends, and he already knows how to play inside because all the tight ends know how to play the slot,” Kelly said. “He had three big catches for us Friday night. He’s probably the fastest of the tight ends. Until, really, there’s some cut downs and there’s some guys available, we think that the best route for us is the guys we have.

“So if we can cross-train Clay a little bit and get him to play outside receiver now -- we believe he knows how to play inside and understands all our route concepts -- so it’s just a matter of the more versatile you can be the better impact you can make.”

Harbor caught three passes for 47 yards Friday night in the Eagles’ preseason opener. With Brent Celek, James Casey and Zach Ertz all in the mix, it’s not clear whether Harbor has a future with the Eagles, even though he’s had a good camp.

Harbor, originally a fourth-round pick in 2010 out of Southwest Missouri State, has 47 career receptions for 421 yards and four touchdowns

“He’s a big body, he’s physical, I’m not worried about him blocking corners,” Kelly said. “And he’s the one tight end we have that’s got really good speed, so it’ll be interesting and we’ll try to get him some reps this week and see if he feels comfortable. Hopefully we’ll get him in the game out there.”

Phillips banged up
Safety Kenny Phillips left practice Sunday with a quad injury. A team spokesman had no information on the extent of the injury.

Phillips was examined on the sideline by team physician Peter DeLuca and then walked into the locker room under his own power.

At first, it appeared DeLuca was working on Phillips’ knee, which would have been frightening, considering he’s had microfracture surgery and has only played two healthy seasons since 2009.

Injuries
Phillips was the only new injury from Sunday.

Running back LeSean McCoy (knee), defensive tackle Antonio Dixon (hamstring), linebacker Jamar Chaney (shoulder) and defensive end Chris McCoy (knee) all returned to practice. Jason Peters (hamstring) returned on a limited basis, participating only in individual drills.

Not practicing: Jon Dorenbos (concussion), running back Bryce Brown (quad contusion), linebacker Phillip Hunt (knee), receiver Damaris Johnson (hamstring), offensive tackle Dennis Kelly (back surgery), linebacker Casey Matthews (knee) and offensive tackle Ed Wang (knee).

Also, Lane Johnson was absent as he returned to Philly from Oklahoma, where his wife gave birth on Saturday to the couple’s first child.

Roster move
With Dorenbos out indefinitely after suffering a concussion during the preseason opener against the Patriots Friday, the Eagles signed long snapper James Winchester, an undrafted rookie out of Oklahoma.

The Eagles believe Dorenbos won’t be out too long, but with a game coming up on Thursday night against the Panthers and three open roster spots, it made sense to add Winchester instead of having tight end Brent Celek continue as the emergency snapper.

Head coach Chip Kelly said Dorenbos was feeling better on Sunday, two days after he got hurt, but didn’t have any other update on his condition.

Interesting note about Winchester: He ran a 4.58 at Oklahoma’s pro day, which would actually be a pretty good time for an outside linebacker or safety.

Starting reps for Watkins
Danny Watkins was taking reps with the first-team offense at practice Sunday.

All it took to get him there was Peters’ hamstring injury, Kelly’s back surgery and Lane Johnson’s wife having a baby.

Generally this preseason, when the Eagles have been thin at tackle, Todd Herremans has stayed at right guard -- where he projects to start this year -- and the coaches have used a variety of backups at right tackle.

But now, down four tackles -- Peters, Kelly, Johnson and Wang -- Herremans finally swung out to left tackle, where he played before getting hurt last year, and gave Watkins a shot at some practice time with the first offense.

Watkins, a first-round pick in 2011, is currently the second-team right guard with an uncertain future. He turns 29 in November -- yes, he’s older than Brent Celek (not to mention LeBron James and Michael Phelps) and has yet to make any positive impact on the team.

Peters was actually out at practice and participated in some individual drills but no team work. Kelly is out indefinitely after back surgery. Johnson was traveling back to Philly Sunday after his wife gave birth Saturday to the couple’s first child.

This and that
Bennie Logan got some work with the first defense. … Greg Salas worked at times with the starting offense. … Kelly singled out defensive tackle Damion Square, offensive tackle Lane Johnson and Logan as players who stood out Friday night.

What's next
The Eagles are scheduled to practice Monday and Tuesday at the Linc. They’ll have a short practice Wednesday closed to fans (and media) before Thursday’s game against the Panthers.

The remaining open practices at the Linc are scheduled for Aug. 17 and Aug. 26. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000.

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