Rookie linebacker Stewart Bradley went the humble route yesterday, choosing not to emphasize the fact that in his first extensive action from scrimmage, he managed a sack and an interception at New Orleans. In the previous 14 games, Eagles linebackers had two sacks and one pick.
"It's tough to get those. I was just fortunate. That's just how it played out," Bradley said. "Obviously, it doesn't happen every game you play . . . I was fortunate that the defenses that were called were good calls, and the guys around me were making good plays and helped me out."
Bradley said he isn't worried about how he fits in next season, when Takeo Spikes comes back from his recent rotator-cuff surgery. On Monday, coach Andy Reid seemed to discourage speculation that Spikes, 31, might not be in the team's plans. Spikes took some time to get comfortable in the defense but played reasonably well in his first Eagles season.
Bradley (6-3, 254) offers more muscle in the middle than Omar Gaither (6-1, 235), but Gaither, a second-year player, also has done well, moving to the middle from the weakside this season.
Is he late or early?
The Eagles made an interesting roster move yesterday, jettisoning wideout Mike Gasperson, who was promoted from the practice squad last week (and could return there), to sign corner Tanard Davis from Carolina's practice squad.
Interesting, because this is the final week of the season. Davis won't have much of a chance to learn the defense. Often, late-season signings are really for the next season, so the team has the player under contract, working in its offseason program, getting a headstart on minicamps.
Davis, given jersey no. 41, was hoping yesterday he might at least get to run downfield on kicks this week against Buffalo.
"I don't know too much about the defense, but special teams is just out there, being a beast," Davis said.
Davis was driving from the Charlotte area to his father's house in Atlanta when his agent called to say the Eagles were signing him, he said.
"It was a good Christmas gift," he said. "In this business, things like this happen."
Davis (5-9, 184) is a Miami native who played for the Hurricanes, initally accepting a track scholarship and walking on in football. He began his college career as a wideout, then switched to defense. After running a 4.25 40 during a predraft workout at Miami, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted free agent, and spent the 2006 season on their practice squad, earning a Super Bowl ring. The Colts cut him just before the current season started and he ended up in Carolina.
Taking the long view
Rookie quarterback Kevin Kolb said he would like to see some playing time in Sunday's season finale, but said he understands Andy Reid's decision to leave the quarterback hierarchy alone, with Donovan McNabb leading the team's attempt to finish 8-8 and A.J. Feeley listed as the second QB. That pretty much ensures Kolb won't play before the fourth quarter.
"I was hoping to [play in the finale], but the way Donovan's been playing, you hate to break up any kind of roll he's been on," Kolb said. "The team's playing well, so I don't blame him for not wanting to break that up."
Kolb noted that after nearly a full season of sitting, playing the second half of a game - as some observers had speculated Kolb might do this week - probably wouldn't be the key to his development, or anything.
"I don't know if you get much out of it, especially half a game," he said. "If you'd give me a little while to get into a rhythm, then maybe it would help out, but I don't know about this situation."
Kolb said he hasn't given much thought to 2008. Recent indications are that McNabb will return as the Eagles' starter. "When we get there next year, of course I'm going to be out there competing. If it doesn't look good, I'll just keep working 'til it does," he said.
Cornerback Lito Sheppard (knee), tight end L.J. Smith (knee), linebacker Omar Gaither (quad), and free safety Brian Dawkins (foot) did not practice yesterday. Gaither said he intends to play in the season finale . . . Right guard Shawn Andrews (knee) returned to practice and should play. *