It turns out the Eagles weren’t the only team impressed by defensive end Casey Toohill.
The Eagles' seventh-round pick beat the odds to make the Eagles roster after a solid training camp, garnering a shoutout from general manager Howie Roseman after cut-down day. The team clearly valued him going into the season, choosing him over Shareef Miller and Joe Ostman last month.
But Toohill is now a member of the Washington Football Team after Washington claimed him Wednesday, one day after the Eagles waived the Stanford graduate presumably with the hope he’d clear waivers and be eligible for the practice squad. The team needed the roster spot to make room for veteran defensive end Vinny Curry.
Curry, 32, was a part of the team’s defensive end rotation at the start of the year but hurt his hamstring in the season opener and was placed on injured reserve. He had five sacks last season and will likely slot back into the four-man rotation, even if it’s at the expense of younger players like Genard Avery getting reps.
Toohill had an improbably path to make the Eagles roster coming into training camp. He was a 3-4 linebacker in college and was considered a 'tweener — undersized as a 4-3 defensive end but too slow to stay at linebacker — as a prospect. Without an offseason of NFL strength and conditioning, Toohill bought weights and a squat rack so he could have meaningful but socially distant training sessions.
His progress during camp drew praise from both Roseman and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
“From the time he got here … he did nothing but improve,” Schwartz said. “He did nothing but do things exactly the way he was coached to do them. You saw that in the productivity that he had. Like I said, he looked different at the end than he did at the beginning. I really liked that. I really respected it. He very rarely made a mistake, and if he did make a mistake, he was quick to correct it. He played with a lot of energy and brings some size and speed to that position, some length and some speed. Really earned his way onto our team this year.”
Roseman added: “I think the thing that stands out with Casey is he’s got the tools in his body and he has the explosiveness in his body. He’s got a relentless motor, and happy for that kid that he’s got an opportunity to be on the 53.”
Maddox makes progress
Avonte Maddox made a partial return to practice Wednesday after missing the last two weeks with an ankle injury suffered in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Maddox has been the team’s starting cornerback on the outside opposite Darius Slay when healthy. In his absence, Jalen Mills moved from safety back to his old position at corner, and has had mixed results making the switch. Maddox’s eventual return would likely move Mills back to safety, taking inexperienced players like Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace off the field. It’s worth noting both Epps (rib) and Wallace (neck) missed practice Wednesday. During the portion of practice open to the media, Maddox worked out on his own, mostly doing straight-line running.
Slay missed practice with a concussion suffered late in the Steelers game. He was present for the session with a helmet on but didn’t do any drills. DeSean Jackson (hamstring), Alshon Jeffery (foot), and Richard Rodgers (neck) were all limited in practice. Lane Johnson sat out with his nagging ankle injury and Duke Riley was out with a rib injury.
Shaun Bradley, Jamon Brown, and Hassan Ridgeway missed practice with an illness, and Fletcher Cox missed for personal reasons.
Miles Sanders said his friends and family didn’t know how to feel when the Pittsburgh native scored against the Steelers last Sunday.
“All my friends are Steelers fans, so everybody’s tagging me on their posts and stuff, and they were saying they didn’t know whether to be happy or mad,” Sanders said. “It was definitely pretty exciting, and I had a lot of support throughout the city, even though they’re all Steelers fans, but they all supported me. It felt amazing. It was a moment that I’ll never forget.”
Sanders, who finished the day with 11 carries for 80 yards and two touchdowns, added two mementos to his collection from the game.
“I kept the two footballs that I scored, too, so I’ll never forget,” he said.