TAMPA — The Eagles on Monday afternoon elevated receiver Devon Allen and punter Braden Mann for their Monday Night Football game against the Buccaneers in Tampa.
Allen, 28, joined the Eagles last spring and spent the entire 2022 season on the practice squad. The Olympic sprinter has never played in a regular season NFL game. Monday night’s will be his first. Allen hasn't played in a game that counted since the 2016 college season at Oregon.
The Eagles will enter this game without Quez Watkins (hamstring), who was ruled out on Friday. That left them with just four healthy receivers on the roster: A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Olamide Zaccheaus and Britain Covey. By elevating Allen, they’ll have five receivers active for this game.
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During the preseason, Allen has shown some real ability as a gunner on the punt team. Last week against the Vikings, the Eagles’ gunners were Kelee Ringo and Sydney Brown. If Brown has a bigger role on defense in Week 3, perhaps Allen can take over at one of the gunner spots. The Eagles have also used Josh Jobe as a gunner but his role was increased on defense in Week 2 and might still be significant after the loss of Avonte Maddox, who is on IR after having pec surgery. Allen could also fill a role as a kick returner in the absence of Boston Scott.
The Eagles made a punter switch after Weeks 1 and 2. They began the season with incumbent punter Arryn Siposs but with a mini bye week elected to cut Siposs and sign Mann to their practice squad. This is the first of three possible elevations for Mann.
Mann, 25, was a sixth-round pick of the Jets out of Texas A&M in 2020. He spent the first three years of his career with the Jets until this offseason when he was cut in favor of veteran Thomas Morstead.
In his NFL career, Mann has averaged 45.4 yards per punt and 39.3 net yards per punt. He likely represents a modest upgrade from Siposs, who really struggled in the first couple weeks of the season.
“He's done it in this league for a few years,” Eagles special teams coordinator Michael Clay said last week. “It's always nice knowing that he wasn't coming from a different climate, being in New York. It's tough playing in the northeast in the wintertime, especially MetLife for a punter.
“It's pretty tough, so for Braden to be able to do that and understanding these late games and everything like that, but we're excited about him. I've obviously followed him coming out of college, Texas A&M, so just very excited to work with him both as a punter and a holder.”
While the Eagles really like Mann’s ability to punt in tough conditions, he won’t have to worry about that in his first game with the Eagles. The forecast in Tampa looks pretty good, although there’s a chance of a thunderstorm.
For the first two weeks of the season, the Eagles elevated Siposs and punt returner Covey. Siposs is no longer with the Eagles and Covey is now on the active roster.