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Eagles' Ed Reynolds intercepts his way into safety race

PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles are finding safety in numbers, especially in the number of safeties they have.

Earl Wolff, who had season-ending surgery on his knee last season, did not dress for Sunday’s preseason opener against Indianapolis. Wolff told NJ Advanced Media that his knee has “just been getting worse and worse every day. It got to the point where I couldn't walk after practice."

That’s the bad news for the Eagles. The good news is that they got some very good play from a couple of safeties who haven’t been talked about very much.

Ed Reynolds, a fifth-round pick last year who spent the season on the practice squad, intercepted two passes Sunday. Both balls were thrown by Bryan Bennett, the Colts’ rookie quarterback.

“It felt amazing,” Reynolds said. “It made me feel like I was in college again. That was my thing in college -- to go out there and be a ball hawk and give our offense more opportunities. It felt good, but it wasn’t like I was going out there and doing anything crazy. I was just playing our scheme and having good eyes on the quarterback and breaking and believing what I saw.”

On the first, Bennett threw a wild ball down the middle. Reynolds, playing a center-field role, was able to track it down and make the catch.

On the second, Bennett threw for an open receiver along the right sideline. Reynolds broke on the ball, stepped in front of the receiver and made the catch.

“I thought he showed up today,” coach Chip Kelly said. “He showed up, not only two interceptions but had a big tackle on the kickoff return after that touchdown late in the game. I think he's a guy that's pushing to make the 53-man roster and I'm happy for him right now.

“Part of it -- we put a big emphasis on how you play in the game. It's not just our training sessions. It's how do you play when it's live, full-go and let's go. And I thought Ed did a nice job and put himself in a pretty good situation coming out of Game 1. We'll see how he grows from here.”

Meanwhile, Chris Prosinski recovered a fumble and otherwise played pretty well. Prosinski was viewed more as a special-teams player than a candidate at safety. Chris Maragos, similarly branded a special-teamer, caused another fumble.

With Walter Thurmond starting at safety and potentially moving to nickel cornerback at times, there will be a need for a safety to step in.

Wolff was the favorite to win that job. But his injury and the performance of Reynolds and others have combined to change the odds.

“Whoever plays are the guys that we evaluate,” Kelly said. “So that's what the deal is. We have a deadline coming up right after that [Aug. 29] Packers game that we have to make our cuts and then we've got another deadline coming up immediately right after the Jets game that we have to make our cuts. It's got to be based on who is playing and who is out there and who is putting it on tape for us.”

Reynolds certainly put something on tape Sunday.

“Coming into this year, I just wanted to make sure that I came out and made an impression,” Reynolds said. “In the end it’s just going out there and playing ball, doing your job, and making plays. I felt a lot better this year just because I was able to participate in all of the spring, and all of training camp. It’s about staying healthy and doing what I need to do. Today is just the first day of trying to stack up good days.”