WITH ONE running back - rookie Wendell Smallwood - on injured reserve with a right knee injury, and another - Darren Sproles - going through concussion protocol, the Eagles signed Byron Marshall off of their practice squad Tuesday.

Marshall, an undrafted rookie out of Oregon, has spent the entire season on the practice squad. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Tuesday that Marshall has been very impressive on the scout team this season.

"I'm not sure what action he'll see," Reich said. "But I can just tell you, watching scout team this whole year, if you took the 10 most eye-popping 'wow' plays on the field this year, Byron might have three or four of them. (Plays) where he's running scout team and he runs a route or he makes a cut against our defense that (makes you) go, 'Whoa!' We'll look at each other and say, 'That was legit.' So he's got some explosiveness and elusiveness to him."

Means to an end

Defensive end Steven Means was activated Sunday for just the seventh time this season. He played 11 of 48 defensive snaps. That was just nine fewer than he played in the previous 12 games.

"We're going to try to find every way we can to affect that game," defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "We thought (Means) could give us a boost. We made a commitment to get him some reps.

"He plays with toughness. He made a couple of plays in the run game in his limited role. Going forward, we'll look at that every week."

Means was one of five defensive ends activated for the Washington game. Six if you include special-teams ace Bryan Braman. Typically, they've activated just four.

Veteran Connor Barwin played 25 snaps, which was just eight fewer than the Eagles' other starting defensive end, Brandon Graham. But it still was the smallest percentage of snaps (52.1) he's played all season.

Barwin, 30, has just four sacks, 10 hurries and three tackles for losses this season. Last year, he finished with seven sacks, 17 hurries and 10 tackles for losses.

"(Barwin) has sort of gone the way the defense has," Schwartz said. "I wouldn't say he's struggling. But it's hard to feel good about your production (as a team) when you're not getting any sacks, and it's hard to feel good about your production when you're not getting the job done on third down.

"Connor's been a consistent player for a long time in the NFL. I do think that the fresher we can keep him, the better chance he has to be productive. Hopefully, this (playing fewer snaps) can help him."


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