JORRICK CALVIN, the Eagles' regular kick returner much of the season, who also fielded punts off and on, went on injured reserve yesterday with a back problem.
The abrupt end of Calvin's season was surprising. He returned five kickoffs for a 16.2-yard average last Sunday against the Giants and was not mentioned in any injury reports until Wednesday, when Eagles coach Andy Reid said, "Jorrick Calvin has a sore lower back, but he'll be out there today." In fact, Calvin did not practice Wednesday or yesterday, which didn't seem like all that big a deal until the IR announcement.
It's unclear what the Eagles are going to do about returns. They can use Calvin's roster spot, but this late in the week, it would be strange to add someone for this week's game who hasn't practiced with the team. Practice squad running back Joique Bell would be a possibility there. Chad Hall is already on the roster, as is, of course, Jeremy Maclin.
Calvin averaged 21.6 yards per kickoff return, the exact same average as fellow Eagles returner Ellis Hobbs, who went on IR with a neck injury a month ago. Calvin's overall yardage ranks 21st in the league.
Eagles center Jamaal Jackson made a rare locker room appearance yesterday. Jackson, who suffered a torn triceps in the season opener, noted that he'd suffered that injury once before, missing the 2004 season - and the Eagles went to the Super Bowl. But this isn't the kind of linkage he wants to take too far.
"I'm excited about the success the team is having," Jackson said. "I'm one of the biggest fans from my couch. It's great man, seeing these guys on a roll."
Jackson said he is back in the weight room now and expects to be full-go in 2011.
Jackson hurt his triceps in his return from ACL surgery. He said yesterday he has spoken frequently with first-round rookie Brandon Graham, who tore his ACL week before last at Dallas and underwent surgery this week.
"It's going to be hard, being that he's a defensive guy, and he runs around a little more than an offensive lineman," Jackson said. "The 7 months that I came back in, it might be a little bit of a stretch for him, but he'll be fine."
Jackson said successor Mike McGlynn "is handling it great. He's been progressing every week . . . doing a helluva job."
It isn't hard to infer that even though the ACL isn't connected to the triceps, one injury might have led to the other for Jackson, in the sense that he did not play in the preseason, and might not have been ready for regular-season rigors.
"Hopefully this offseason I can have a no-training-room, no-rehab offseason," he said.
Andy Reid talked this week about how teams tend to do things they haven't done before, to try to contain Michael Vick, and sometimes the Eagles struggle to adjust. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was asked about that idea yesterday.
"Any time you have a quarterback playing at high level, you're going to see different things that they've never done, and is not on film," Mornhinweg said. "Now, there are some good things to that and some bad things. The good thing is that they haven't done it much. The bad thing is you're not quite as prepared for it . . . Mike's gut instincts come into play on occasion, especially early, if you're seeing some things that you've never seen before.
"But you don't want to chase ghosts too much and start making stuff up, that they 'could do this,' and you adjust to it in the game. We do a little bit of [anticipating], but too much chasing ghosts is not good."
Special teams coordinator Bobby April played it sly when asked if the Eagles indeed sent someone off the field just before Sunday's onside kick to confuse the Giants. April did not exactly discourage speculation that the Birds might have just screwed up when David Akers kicked the ball and Riley Cooper recovered, with only 10 Eagles on the field. April said the true deception was in how Akers made it look like he was kicking the ball deep . . . defensive tackel Mike Patterson (knee) and wide receiver DeSean Jackson (foot) were listed as limited practice participants . . . Of the Omar Gaither block on the game-winning punt return that took out three Giants players, April said, "We call that bowling for dollars." *