When Miami waived former Eagles running back Jordan Howard this week, it looked like a no-brainer for an Eagles team that has lacked an inside-the-tackles, short-yardage back. Sure enough, as soon as Howard cleared waivers, the NFL Network reported that he was headed back to the Eagles, at first to the practice squad, a league source confirmed.
That’s likely a procedural move as Howard must undergo five days of COVID-19 testing before he can fully join the team. So, no need to use a roster spot on him right now. Howard will not be eligible to play Sunday at Cleveland, which is a bit of a shame since the Eagles could be without running back Corey Clement. Clement is on the COVID-19 reserve list because of an exposure to someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Howard is still just 26, though his stature has declined steadily since his Pro Bowl rookie season of 2016 with the Bears, when he ran for 1,313 yards on 252 carries, 5.2 yards per carry. Last year, in his only season with the Eagles after arriving in a trade, he carried 119 times for 525 yards and six touchdowns. Howard sustained a shoulder injury that limited him to 10 Eagles games, and led the team to allow him to become a free agent. Howard signed with the Dolphins, who used him mostly at the goal line this season. His 28 carries for just 33 yards include four touchdowns.
Miles Sanders obviously is the Eagles’ feature back, and Boston Scott is the No. 2, but Clement hasn’t made a great case for himself as a third option. The team also has Jason Huntley, a rookie who was a fifth-round pick of the Lions. Huntley has played in four games, carrying three times for 14 yards. He is likely to be active at Cleveland if Clement is not.
Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave has not had the impact the Eagles expected when they signed him to a three-year, $39 million contract as a free agent last offseason. When Hargrave spoke with reporters Thursday, he acknowledged that he has had problems transitioning from the Steelers, 3-4, read-and-react defense to Jim Schwartz’s aggressive 4-3 scheme.
Hargrave said he had a better idea of how to ”shoot my hands” after making a read than he does when firing off the snap. “It’s just getting reps and learning how to play in this scheme,” he said. “But I feel like every week I’m getting better at it.”