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December 13, 2016

Eagles make six roster moves

Eagles NFL
121316WendellSmallwood Gary Landers/AP

Eagles rookie running back Wendell Smallwood's season is over.

The Philadelphia Eagles' loss to the Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon didn't just put them at 5-8, and 5,000,000-to-1 shots to make the playoffs. The Birds also sustained a number of injuries, as three players will head to the injured reserve list.

Let's take a look at the five roster moves the Eagles made last night.

Eagles place LS Jon Dorenbos on IR

We covered this in greater detail on Monday, as Doug Pederson announced that Dorenbos' season was over during his press conference with reporters Monday afternoon.

Eagles place RB Wendell Smallwood on IR

Smallwood had his ups and downs as a rookie this season with the Eagles. His best moments came in the Eagles' blowout win over the Pittsburgh Steelers when he ran 17 times for 79 yards and a touchdown. His worst moment came in the Eagles' loss at Dallas, when Smallwood inexcusably fumbled with a 10-point lead, leading to a Cowboys field goal.

On the season, Smallwood rushed 77 times for 312 yards (4.1 YPC) and 1 TD. He caught 6 passes for 55 yards and no scores. Smallwood showed enough this season for the Eagles to feel confident that they have a contributor in the backfield going forward, but not so much that Smallwood showed that he can be trusted as a three-down back at this stage in his career. The Eagles will almost certainly work extensively on Smallwood's pass protection next offseason.

Smallwood suffered a right MCL sprain in Sunday's loss. 

Eagles place OT Matt Tobin on IR

Tobin was beaten badly by Redskins edge rusher Ryan Kerrigan on Kerrigan's game-sealing sack-fumble Sunday afternoon, and with good reason. On the play before, Tobin sprained his MCL, and could barely move. He is signed through the 2017 season.

Eagles sign CB Dwayne Gratz

Gratz (5'11, 199) was a former third-round pick (64th overall) of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. In his fourth year with the Jags this season, he was released and claimed off of waivers by the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams released him a month later.

Gratz is a semi-local guy from Piscataway, N.J. He went to UConn, where he started his final three seasons. In those three seasons, he had 167 tackles, 8 INTs, 3 forced fumbles, 24 pass breakups, and 10 tackles for loss.

In his pro career with the Jaguars and Rams, Gratz has played in 43 games, starting 25 of them. He has 119 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 forced fumbles, and 12 pass breakups. He will turn 27 in March.

Gratz signed a two-year deal, so this was a move made by the Eagles with the idea in mind that he'll compete for a roster spot in training camp next season.

Eagles sign Byron Marshall from the practice squad to the 53-man roster

Marshall is an intriguing player, in that he played both running back and wide receiver at Oregon. In 2014, he had 74 catches for 1003 yards and 6 TDs for the Ducks. He also carried the ball 52 times for 392 yards and 1 TD. In 2013, he was primarily a running back, when he rushed for 1038 yards and 14 TDs on 168 carries (6.2 YPC). He missed most of the 2015 season with an ankle injury.

In training camp, Marshall showed good hands for a running back, but has has some work to do in pass protection. With Smallwood on injured reserve and Darren Sproles in the concussion protocol, the Eagles needed another body at running back, however, it is likely that Kenjon Barner will be the player who receives an added workload when Ryan Mathews needs a breather.

Eagles sign LS Rick Lovato

Lovato will, of course, be Dorenbos' replacement over the final three games. Whether he can do magic tricks is to be determined.

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