INDIANAPOLIS – Veteran Stephen Tulloch made his Eagles debut Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium … late in the second half.
Tulloch, 31, was just signed earlier in the week. And after years of being a starter in the NFL, Tulloch comes to Philadelphia as role player.
When was the last time he played in the fourth quarter of a preseason game?
“Wow. Two thouuusaaandd,” he said, trying to think. “Six, maybe … seven. But I didn’t have any training camp here, so it’s good to be out here and just run around.”
On one of Tulloch’s first plays of the night he was called for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness, and didn’t appear on the stat sheet otherwise after playing 19 snaps. Still, he was happy just to be back on the field.
After spending all of training camp on the street and missing the first two preseason games, this was his first real football action in a long time. And he didn’t feel much rust.
“Not really, man,” he said. “Just get my feet back under me again. It’s just different. I haven’t played since Jan. 3, but to get out there and see the calls and get familiarized with everything.”
There isn’t too much with which to get familiarized since Tulloch is not just a veteran of the NFL but also Jim Schwartz’s defense. He played in it in Tennessee and then Detroit. In fact, it’s what made it possible for him to even see the field during Saturday’s 33-23 win.
How did the defense look to him?
“The same way it always looks when my man Schwartz puts it together,” he said. “It’s very simple. He’s going to work to the guys’ strengths and it’s always been a productive defense as long as I’ve been a part of it. He has the talent here, the talent on this team, to be able to execute the defense.”
Aside from the defense on the field, there was something else familiar about Saturday night. As a MIKE linebacker, he had the earpiece in his helmet, which means direct communication with Schwartz.
“You know how Jim is, he’s going to make sure you know everything,” Tulloch said. “Not just give you the call, but tell you what to look out for. He’s a madman when it comes to that. He’s studying film, he knows to look for certain down and distances. It’s good to have him back in my ear again.”
In his six seasons under Schwartz, Tulloch was a piece in two top-10 defenses, so he’s seen this scheme work at a high level.
Now that he’s been with the Eagles for a few days and has seen what they have to offer, he thinks this defense should be a very good one.
“A lot of talent,” Tulloch said. “Like I said, that D-line is special. [Malcolm Jenkins] on the back end, [Rodney McLeod]. There’s a lot of good young talent here and this is perfect for this defense. Guys will fit very well here and this defense should be a top-ranked defense.”