By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — It seems a foregone matter of counting down the days. The Eagles have reluctantly resigned themselves to the fact that this season is over, and now is the time for some marginal players and younger players to prove what they can do.
One is special teams demon Colt Anderson.
A stalwart on special teams, Anderson had his troubles earlier this season when he spelled strong safety Nate Allen in the Eagles’ 26-23 Detroit overtime debacle on October 14. Anderson could start this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for free safety Kurt Coleman, who suffered a sternum contusion against Dallas and did not practice on Wednesday.
The Bucs average 27.8 points a game, fourth-best in the NFL, led by rookie running back Doug Martin. Tackling will be a priority, something the Eagles have not done very well this season. Anderson may be able to strengthen that area.
“It will be Colt [on Sunday at Tampa Bay],” Andy Reid said. “We’re taking [Coleman’s situation] day-by-day, but he’s sore. You’ll Colt in there possibly if Kurt can’t get himself together.”
Against Detroit, Anderson was thrust into an important role. With the Lions driving to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, Anderson was flagged for pass interference in the end zone, giving the Lions a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 13 seconds left and no timeouts. The Lions had to settle for a field goal and eventually won the game in overtime.
“I’m excited to go there and show them what I got, it’s going to be a great challenge,” Anderson said. “It means a lot. I’ve been practicing pretty well these last few weeks, and every week I felt more comfortable. That [Detroit] game was very frustrating. We were up 14 with a couple of minutes to go and lost, and I told my teammates I hope I get another chance. Any time you get more practice reps, it feels good.”
Washing Out Washburn: The Eagles let go of abrasive defensive line coach Jim Washburn on Monday—along with his gimmicky Wide-9 scheme—and replaced him with Tommy Brasher, the Eagles defensive line coach in 1985 and again from 1999-2005.
“Wash was a good coach, he wanted the best for us, and people may not have agreed with his ways, but people on the outside didn’t see,” Cullen Jenkins said. “Wash was a good guy. I can’t get into too much what we’re doing now, but it is a change for us, especially mentally. There’s new terminology and stuff like that. We have to make sure we know everything. I never really noticed [any friction between Washburn] with the other coaches. He’s a fiery person, but we never senses anything personal or anything like that.”
Said Reid about Brasher, “He’s a positive guy who’s upbeat and he’s all about the team and he wants to help us get better, and that’s the way Tommy was when he was here prior to his retirement, so that’s welcome. Tommy had an opportunity to meet with all of them had a chance to talk with him. It’s a good group that’s on board and they’ll work hard.”
Naming Foles: Andy Reid again asserted that naming rookie third-round pick Nick Foles as the starting quarterback the remainder of the season was his choice, but did reiterate “It was my decision, but do I communicate with other people, absolutely, I communicate, but it was my decision,” Reid.
Injury update: Reid reported that Kurt Coleman (sternum contusion), LeSean McCoy (concussion) and Michael Vick (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.
“McCoy still has not passed his test,” Reid said. “Danny Watkins is right about there, and he worked in a little bit at the left guard last week when we were banged up. The group we had there last week played well together and that’s important.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.