“Kelley Washington can do the math. He knows that he is one of six wide receivers vying for two spots with the Eagles.
But Washington is also versatile. He has been in the NFL for seven seasons, with three other teams. And he knows that his versatility, especially on special teams, can make a difference.
It’s something Washington learned after his third season in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2005, when it became clear that he wasn’t going to be one of the top receivers on the team.
“I realized that if you’re not a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver on the field, you can really make a big impact on special teams,” Washington said. “Week-in and week-out, there are plays that are going to be made on special teams that can change a game. I’ve blocked a punt before and made it all the way to the Super Bowl playing special teams. I know how much special teams can factor in a game.”
So do the Eagles.
Washington is battling with Hank Baskett, Riley Cooper, Chad Hall, Jordan Norwood and Dobson Collins for those final two receiver spots.
DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant have three of the five spots locked up. Cooper, the Eagles‘ fifth-round pick out of Florida, has a good shot at the No. 4 receiver spot.
The final spot, then, could come down to either Washington or Baskett, who played for the Eagles for three full seasons before his release last September.
“The wide receivers corps, that’s a competitive deal,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “Obviously, you can’t keep all of them. They’re making it tough on us, and that’s a good thing.”
The Eagles signed Washington as a free agent July 31. He was coming off his best season in the NFL, catching 34 passes for 431 yards last season with the Baltimore Ravens.
One can surmise that the Eagles wouldn’t have signed the 6-foot-3, 217-pound Washington if they were completely satisfied with Baskett, who has similar size, as well as extensive special teams experience.
Special teams coordinator Bobby April, speaking from past experience, said that special teams play can make the difference when the final roster spots are decided.”
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