Changes Likely Coming At Safety For Eagles

Any illusions about potential depth at safety was erased when O.J. Atogwe was forced out of Thursday’s preseason finale against the Jets and onto the trainers table.

The same hamstring injury that kept him out of the previous two games tugged at him again. It was the final sign, if the Eagles needed one, that moves are necessary to bolster the position heading into the regular season.

“I’ve got to look at that,” Andy Reid conceded. “That’s one of those spots I’ve got to look at, just make sure we’re set there, and we’ll do that. We’ll go through all the positions but that’s one where there is some stiff competition, and we have to make sure we’re right there.”

In Andy Reid speak, that’s about as close as you’ll get to an admission that there’s an issue.

Rosters need to be trimmed to 53 by 9 p.m. Friday. With teams trying to put together the puzzle, trades are certainly possible. And once all the cuts are made, there will be a greater crop of talent on the market than currently exists. As a reference point, Adam Caplan has the top 5 available free agent safeties as Nick Collins, Melvin Bullitt, Chris Crocker, Charlie Peprah and James Butler. There are not a ton of appealing options at the moment.  Howie Roseman and Reid will have to get creative.

Atogwe has had his share of success over seven seasons with the Rams and Redskins. He has also had his share of injuries of late, which is a large part of the reason he was available this offseason to begin with. Atogwe was asked about his future following the Jets game.

“The criteria that they’ll use to evaluate players is different than what I may speculate,” said Atogwe. “I know I’m able to play this game at the highest level possible. I’ve proven that time and time again and I still believe, by God’s grace, I can still do that. Whether they believe that or trust that or have faith in that, that’s to their discretion and I fully support their decision.”

The 31-year-old only played in parts of two games for the Eagles this preseason, and was able to manage four tackles and one pass defensed. Reid acknowledged that the limited reps makes it more difficult to evaluate what he has in Atogwe.

“In the picture -perfect world you want to play every game, show them exactly what you have. But that’s not what I was led into, those weren’t the cards that I was dealt,” said Atogwe. “I’m not going to cry about what didn’t happen. I’ll be thankful for what did happen and the opportunities I did have and how I handled them.”

With Jaiquawn Jarrett still a major question mark, there is a great deal of unceratinty behind Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen, who has been dealing with a hamstring tweak of his own of late. With Atogwe unable to show his worth because of injury, the Eagles are sure to act.