Taylor Hart

Eagles get back their Hart

USA Today Images

Eagles get back their Hart

The Eagles on Wednesday signed defensive-tackle-turned-offensive tackle Taylor Hart ... again. 

Hart, 26, was once an Eagles' fifth-round pick back in 2014 as a defensive tackle out of Oregon. But he switched from defensive line to offensive line last offseason in an attempt to extend his career. It didn't really work at the time. 

Despite Hart having a really good spring and training camp, the Eagles went light on their offensive line, which left him without a job and without any real prospects. The Eagles brought him back for about 20 days during the season, but cut him when they signed Will Beatty off the street. 

Hart had been without a team until the Eagles brought him back to their 90-man roster on Wednesday. 

Hart's switch from defense to offense started late in the 2016 season, when the Eagles needed help in practice on the offensive line. Hart jumped over in a pinch but ended up looking much better than a defensive lineman playing the role of an OT. So after the season, he switched positions and began working with the team as an offensive tackle in the spring. 

While all of his NFL playing time has come on defense, Hart has still played in games, so he's not eligible for the practice squad. That means he has likely been trying to stay as sharp as possible while away from the facility. 

Before the Eagles signed him in October for that near-month stretch, Hart worked out with retired 20-year offensive lineman Jackie Slater in California. It's likely that's what he's been up to in the last few months. 

The Eagles have spent the last couple weeks filling out their 90-man roster. Since the Super Bowl win, the Eagles have signed 10 players, including Hart and nine players who were on their practice squad in 2017. 

The other players they've signed are WR Rashard Davis, OG Darrell Greene, CB D.J. Killings, S Tre Sullivan, WR Bryce Treggs, WR Greg Ward, CB De'Vante Bausby and TE Billy Brown. 

The Eagles won't be back together for practices (OTAs) until May, well after free agency and the draft are over. 

Eagles Notes: Carson Wentz tuning out national praise

AP Images

Eagles Notes: Carson Wentz tuning out national praise

It just so happens the best stretch of Carson Wentz's young career has coincided with two nationally televised games. 

So as Wentz took down Carolina on Thursday Night Football and Washington on Monday Night Football, the entire country got to see him look like the best quarterback in football. 

It's in part why he has been vaulted into the forefront of the NFL MVP discussion and why his jersey is selling better than anyone else's in the league. Pundits and talk-show hosts around the country have created much ballyhoo around the Eagles' quarterback. 

For a guy who tries to limit his exposure to publicity, good or bad, this could be problematic. 

So, is it getting any harder to tune out the praise? 

"Not really," Wentz said this week. "Just the nature of the flow of the season and how quickly you have to turn and go on to the next. Plus, I've always just been wired that way. Just block out as much as I can to stay focused. Can't get too high, can't get too low and just keep on grinding." 

Wentz doesn't watch TV and he tries to avoid reading about himself, but it's obviously somewhat unavoidable and will become increasingly so. At least for now, Wentz has been able to shield himself as much as possible. 

He said he's focused on the 49ers and it's easy to believe him. 

"You turn on the tape and you wouldn't think that's an 0-7 football team," Wentz said (see 5 matchups to watch).

Playing with Hart
Before the Eagles signed him this week to offer them some depth at tackle, Taylor Hart had spent the last couple months in California waiting and hoping another opportunity would present itself. 

That happened when Jason Peters went down for the season Monday night. 

After Hart was released by the Eagles at final cuts, he found himself in a precarious situation. Had the Eagles kept one more lineman, he would have been the guy. But after making the conversion from defensive tackle to offensive tackle, no teams other than the Eagles were willing to give him a chance, especially because he didn't have any practice squad eligibility left. 

Still, Hart thinks he made the right decision switching to the offensive line last spring.

"Yeah, I think so," Hart said. "I'm fully invested in it. It was tough being at home for a while, but I'm going to stick with it and try to prove myself with it."

About twice a week for the past couple months, Hart had been working with seven-time Pro Bowler Jackie Slater, who played for the Rams for 20 years before retiring after 1995. 

Hart and Slater worked on technique drills and Hart tried to work on both the offensive tackle and guard positions. The only thing he was missing was NFL competition. That's no small thing. 

"That's the biggest adjustment that I have to do here," Hart said. "You just have to work on your technique when you're away and just keep staying in shape." 

First-game jitters
Coming into Monday, Eagles linebacker Nate Gerry wasn't even sure he was going to be active. After all, he had just been called up from the practice squad after Chris Maragos went down for the year. 

But as the day went on, and because of Mychal Kendricks' hamstring injury, Gerry's role kept increasing and increasing. He ended up playing 15 special teams snaps in the win over Washington. 

And he was on the field for the very first play. At least he thought he was. 

Sitting by himself well after the end of the game, Gerry's whole day had been a blur. So much so that he thought he was on the field for the first snap of the game. He was on the field for the first kick return. The Eagles deferred Monday night. 

"Oh you're right, you're right," he said laughing. "I thought it was."

Gerry said he had been working to stay ready while he was on the practice squad and going against the Eagles' O-line and Wentz every day helped. 

He might have more opportunities coming — "just one ankle sprain away," he said — but for now, he was pretty happy to just experience his first NFL game.  

"It was a pretty cool experience for myself and all my family and all the people back home," he said. "Not a lot of South Dakota kids get to suit up for an NFL game so I had a lot of pride in doing that."

Quote of the Week I
"It ain't like basketball where I can go out and score 40 every night." — Alshon Jeffery on his lack of big numbers 

Quote of the Week II
"That worked out well. He needs to bring more plays from North Dakota State." — Corey Clement on the TD play from Monday

Quote of the Week III
"I thought, shoot, DeMeco could probably go back to Alabama and be the AD. That's how much weight his name carried." — Fletcher Cox on former teammate DeMeco Ryans

Random media guide note
Vinny Curry's favorite Halloween costume is The Ultimate Warrior.

Eagles sign DT-turned-OT Taylor Hart for depth; put Jason Peters on IR

USA Today Images

Eagles sign DT-turned-OT Taylor Hart for depth; put Jason Peters on IR

Updated: 4:58 p.m.

With offensive tackle depth now a question following the season-ending injury to Jason Peters, the Eagles have turned to a familiar face. 

After working him out earlier in the day, the Eagles have signed offensive tackle Taylor Hart to a two-year deal. To make room for him on the roster, the team officially put Jason Peters (knee) on Injured Reserve.

Bringing in Hart makes a lot of sense. He already knows the offense and his conversion from DT to OT went well this summer. He was actually the final offensive lineman to be cut as the team kept just eight heading into the season. 

With his years in the league as a defensive player, Hart was ineligible for the practice squad so he had been without a team since early September. The Eagles obviously wanted to check to see what kind of shape he's in before signing him. They must have liked what they saw. 

"All my grades on Taylor, when he was here, were very high," offensive coordinator Frank Reich said Wednesday afternoon. "This is a tough business, only so many spots. But I was very impressed with Taylor through OTAs and training camp and thought he showed a lot of good signs."

If Hart is signed, he'll be a depth piece at tackle, along with Isaac Seumalo. The Eagles could also call up Dillon Gordon, who has been on the practice squad all season. Meanwhile, Lane Johnson and Halapoulivaati Vaitai will start this week against the 49ers. 

Hart was originally a fifth-round pick of the Eagles in the 2014 NFL draft. He was a defensive tackle from Oregon at the time.