Eagles veteran protection increased for playoff sport vs. Giants

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The Eagles on Friday elevated Anthony Harris from their practice squad and will have him active for Saturday’s divisional round playoff matchup against the Giants.

Harris, 31, will play for the Eagles for the first time this season on Saturday night.

In 2021, Harris was a starting safety with the Eagles but the team decided to move on after the year ended. Harris ended up in Denver on their practice squad, was eventually promoted to the active roster and played in three games for the Broncos, all on special teams.

The Eagles brought Harris back in December after he was released by the Broncos the previous week. Harris has been on the Eagles’ practice squad since Dec. 13 and apparently they were saving him for the playoffs.

While the Eagles are still without Avonte Maddox (toe) for this game, adding Harris gives them a little more veteran depth. In Week 18, the Eagles used C.J. Gardner-Johnson as a safety in their base package and slid him into the slot on nickel downs. When CJGJ was at nickel, rookie Reed Blankenship played the other safety spot alongside Marcus Epps.

That configuration is likely to continue on Saturday night but the presence of Harris gives the Eagles depth and options. ’s possible Harris could be the extra defensive back in Jonathan Gannon’s seldom-used dime package.

If nothing else, Harris has played plenty of special teams snaps during his time in the NFL.

In his pro career, Harris has played in 98 games with 61 starts after going undrafted out of Virginia in 2015. He played for Gannon in Minnesota and has a strong grasp of this defense.

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Harris on Saturday night will be the Eagles’ only defensive back suited up with a postseason interception. While still with the Vikings, Harris picked off Drew Brees in the wild card round in the 2019 postseason.

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