Roster Moves

Posted: October 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 41 Comments »

Brian Rolle, my cyber son, is gone.  It hurts to write that, but this is his own doing.  Rolle was a major disappointment on STs.  All you have to do is look at the Eagles STs Production Points list to see how far down he is.  Frankly, that is embarrassing.

Here’s what happened.  Brian was an undersized guy at Ohio State.  He played with a real chip on his shoulder.  The results spoke for themselves as he had a terrific career.  He was a late pick by the Eagles and came here with low expectations.  Rolle quietly had a good TC and showing in the preseason.  That led to him starting in Week 4 of the regular season and holding the job the rest of the year.  He was solid.  Not great, but solid.

Rolle was here for the offseason stuff and the OTAs, but you can’t tell anything about a LB in that non-contact setting.  The summer rolled around (ya like that?) and Rolle was expected to build on his rookie year.  Let’s say he played at a 6 out of 10 last year.  This year he needed to be at a 7.  Instead, he was more like a 5.  He actually regressed.  In the preseason we saw him blow coverages a few times.  Not good.

Rolle lost his starting job.  The team hoped he would respond in the right way.  The coaches liked Brian and wanted him to turn things around.  The hope was that getting benched would be a serious wake-up call to him.  He would then shine on STs and play with a new sense of urgency, wanting to get his job back.

Instead, Rolle acted as though STs was beneath him.  We saw this with Omar Gaither a few years back.  Gaither actually had the audacity to say aloud that he was too good for STs after losing his starting job in 2008.  I don’t know that Rolle ever did this, but his actions speak volumes.

Rolle had 1 tackle in 4 games.  We had plenty of KOs and punts.  One stinking tackle?  Mardy Gilyard had 5 and wasn’t here the whole time.  You do have to understand that not every player on STs is designed to make tackles.  Some eat up blocks so the gunners can make tackles.

If you watched on Sunday night, you know that David Wilson had interstates to run through.  Our guys were not holding their lanes.  They were getting blocked, not defeating them.  Rolle had a chance to make the tackle on the opening KO, but failed.  There was a KO in the 2nd half when he was blocked way too easily.  There was a lack of production, and frankly, a lack of effort.  That is simply inexcusable.

I love my cyber son, but he played his way into getting cut.  He is saying the team will regret cutting him.  When you screw up in life, don’t play the blame game.  Take that as a wake-up call and respond the right way.  He also told Tim McManus “I didn’t get a chance this year”.  I guess he’s got a point if you don’t count the OTAs, Lehigh, the PS games and playing on STs in the regular season.  He really hasn’t been given a chance.  Ugh.  So disappointing to hear.  Wow, that is just delusional.

I wish the best for Rolle.  He can play in the NFL, but only if he’s locked in with laser-like focus and doesn’t lose his edge.  Rolle is a fringe guy.  Those players walk the roster tightrope all year long, all career long.  Life is hard for them.  There is no let up.  There is no “I’ve made it”.  We’ve seen this with other players.  Tank Daniels looked so good as a rookie, then struggled after that.  OT Calvin Armstrong played his way onto the team as a rookie.  He got married and admitted that he got soft.  Was cut the next summer.

The problem is that these guys have money for the first time.  More money than they’ve ever seen.  They have a role, whether starter, backup, or developmental prospect.  They bust their butt to get the job, then let up once they’ve got it.  That was okay in high school and college.  In the NFL, there is a never-ending supply of players who want your job.  You must keep an edge.  Some guys simply can’t do that.  Apparently Brian Rolle was one of those guys.

Good luck, son.

* * * * *

To replace Rolle, the Eagles added LB Adrian Moten.  He played here for a couple of games in the preseason.

In my 2011 draft rankings, I had Brian Rolle as the #11 OLB prospect.  I had Moten as #12.  Moten was a good player at Maryland.  Playmaker.  Finished his career with 6 INTs, 15.5 sacks, 13 pass breakups, 5 FFs, and a blocked kick.  Solid athlete.

Moten has bounced around the NFL.  He’s good enough for teams to be interested, but not good enough to really stick anywhere.  He’s coming here to be a backup LB and STer.  Having been on the street, you can bet he’ll be fired up and going all out on STs.  There will be no sense of entitlement with Moten.

Moten was here in the preseason.  He was added to eat up some reps.  There was one game where he stood out to me.  It was late in the game and most players had that look like “let’s get this over”.  Moten was going full tilt.  He was playing for a job.  He was playing with purpose.  Moten was going to impress anyone who watched that tape.  He didn’t care about the fact he was going against scrubs late in a preseason game.  He was all business.

And that is the attitude you want in a fringe player.  Remember this great quote from Gordon Gekko in Wall Street “Give me guys that are poor, smart, and hungry”?  That is what you need on STs.  You need guys that will embrace doing the dirty work and also get it done.

Don’t look for Moten to come in and be some star.  Just expect him to do his job.  That’s more than we got from Rolle.

* * * * *

Someone on Twitter asked about why we didn’t just promote Ryan Rau.  He is a pure MLB.  We’ve already got Casey Matthews as the backup to DeMeco Ryans.  Rau is a guy the coaches like, but we needed to add an OLB.

One benefit to cutting Rolle is that this should get the attention of Matthews and Jamar Chaney.  They have been okay on STs, but not good enough.  Last year Matthews was very good on STs and that earned him playing time on defense.  Casey hasn’t stood out this year.  He needs to.  Casey isn’t 100 percent safe.  He needs to pick up the pace.

* * * * *

The other roster move was cutting LS Kyle Nelson from the practice squad and re-signing OG Julian Vandervelde.  Julian can concentrate on playing OG now.  Maybe Howard Mudd will still tinker with him as a C.  We’ll see how that goes.

* * * * *

NFL Gimpy wrote a good MAQB column.  Some really good notes on parity in there.  He also has rookie QB notes and his usual Underpaid/Overpaid players of the week.

* * * * *

Tony Romo threw 5 picks last night and Dallas lost.  That was fun to watch.  Dez Bryant may have played the best and worst game of his career in the same night.  Playmaker who drops passes and makes way too many mental mistakes.  How do you trust that guy?

Brian Urlacher…is now officially old.  He’s not 100 percent healthy, but wow…he is not the same guy we’ve watched in the past.  Lance Briggs is still lights out.  And Tim Jennings might be having the best year of any CB in the NFL.

_


  • Anders

    Matthews is still number 4 on the team in ST production. Also something Eliot pointed out Polk got zero ST points so why are the Eagles still activating him? (He played 11 snaps this week)

    • TommyLawlor

      Matthews isn’t bad per se, but compare him to last year. He was a STs standout. He needs to get back to that level.

      • Anders

        Im no ST expect, but could his pre season injury and not having Anderson and Cooper (and last game Jordan) have an impact?

        • Julescat

          Anderson Cooper?

          • Anders

            You know 2 of your best ST players last year

    • TommyLawlor

      Not sure what to say about Polk. Need to check him out.

    • iskar36

      I have been wondering the same thing. I thought Lewis has shown potential to be a solid backup, but he has been inactive all season so far. With Polk not providing anything on STs, it makes no sense to me why he is active over Lewis.

      • TommyLawlor

        Lewis is getting a message from the coaches. I don’t know if this is for something football related or off the field, but this is some kind of a message. Let’s hope he gets it.

        • Julz

          Jeez I thought he was injured :/

  • TheRogerPodacter

    saw this in a Domo article:
    –The absences of Jason Peters and Jason Kelce is showing in the Eagles’ poor red zone production. In their last three games, they’ve converted just 3 of 11 red-zone opportunities into touchdowns, including 1 of 4 Sunday.

    if this continues, red zone efficiency is going to become a HUGE concern!
    (that one that we converted was BARELY in the RZ, we got to the 19 yard line IIRC. two yards farther out and the play would have probably been the same for a TD, but it would have looked like 0 for 3 in the RZ!!

    • Mac

      We can probably count on D. Bell to get some holding penalties this year in the RZ. That should help to open our offense up.

    • Julz

      Interesting theory. I think JP and Kelce’s biggest strength is their ability to block then move onto the second level in the run game. Not exactly suited to the RZ. Obviously JP is extremely gifted beyond that and we miss him in a lot of areas. I just think this team isn’t really suited to playing in the RZ. We’ve got Shady who is arguably the best back in the league in open space but not so adept at plowing it into the endzone from a yard out and we have small receivers who just aren’t big targets to throw at. It’s definitely a problem we need to address, and we’ve tried by picking up guys like Cooper and McNutt (didn’t turn out so great) but haven’t found an answer yet.

  • nicolajNN

    I think you’re a little too fast in blaming it all on Rolle. I bet if you had done a better job at the dinner table this wouldn’t have happened.

    • TommyLawlor

      Guilty.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    Tommy, interesting note by Jimmy on twitter. i for one am glad that we have people to keep track of these things!
    Bear Pascoe is the first player named after a circus animal to catch a TD against Philly since Elephant Williams in 1962.

    • TommyLawlor

      Now that is funny.

    • A_T_G

      It was a good run while it lasted.

  • T_S_O_P

    Gaither though did then end up becoming captain of the ST unit. He may not have been happy, but he played.

    • TommyLawlor

      Gaither sulked for a few weeks, but once the team got hot late in 2008, he bought in and played STs.

  • T_S_O_P

    Someone on Twitter asked about why we didn’t just promote Ryan Rau. He is a pure MLB. We’ve already got Casey Matthews as the backup to DeMeco Ryans. Rau is a guy the coaches like, but we needed to add an OLB.
    As they are both on the PS, wouldn’t April have had a good look at who is the better ST player and specifically coverage player?

    I hope it is similar to the Anderson transaction 2 years back. It seemed he single handedly changed our coverage units after his promotion from Minnesota’s PS.

  • teltschikfakeout88

    Tommy I have been waiting for this for a while; in general that is. Guys that won’t play hard on ST’s should be evaluated and moved if necessary. I am hoping that this does get peoples attention in the short term as this sort of thing can change the mood of the locker room if it is continous but the ST’s coverage has been bad and puts our defense in a hole to start with. Something had to be done.

  • teltschikfakeout88

    Also I would love for you or Jimmy to do a post on ST’s points production and what the focus is on and how those points show….production and not “Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics”

    • TommyLawlor

      I’ll look into that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

    Rolle failed because you sucked as a parent.

    • TommyLawlor

      I should never have shared my PBR and pudding with him. Made him too soft.

  • ACViking

    Re: the late Chas Henry

    Bobby April may not have liked what he thought he was seeing from Henry.

    But I’m not sure I like what I’m seeing the past couple years from April.

    How ’bout that!

    Where are the Uber STs we were told to expect?

    • TommyLawlor

      Fair question. I don’t know the answer. I’d love to really address this question, but STs is the secret group on a team because no one writes about it. You don’t know much beyond what you see.

      • Julescat

        the first rule of special teams is nobody talks about special teams

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-DiLeo/100000156792866 Steven DiLeo

    Any update on Riley Cooper?

    So far rookie WRs have been underachieving. Danarius Johnson is 4th among rookies in total yards.

    • TommyLawlor

      Riley is practicing this week…I think. Close to returning.

    • SteveH

      I prefer to think of it as Damarius Johnson is overachieving.

  • ian_no_2

    I’m on the Rau bandwagon – he was better on special teams than Moten, and Casey may be better at WILL. Casey will boost Maalox sales in Philly if Ryans twists his ankle and goldielocks returns to MIKE. Eagles had good success with keeping Thornton and The Starting Center on the PS last year and they’re betting no one will pick up Mr. Big Sky. That said, I’m just one of those hypemongers who wanted Vontaze Burfict in the late rounds (‘eight tackles, two tackles for loss, a quarterback sack, hit on the quarterback and a pass broken up’ yesterday.)

    Eagles kick return D missed Colt, Cooper and Jordan.

    • ian_no_2

      forgot Havili too, good game after a year on the PS

  • TheRogerPodacter

    hmm.
    i wonder if we can compare chas henry to mcbriar yet?
    henry has 15 points in 3 games to mcbriar’s 9 in one game.
    i dont know the number of punts for each team, but i’d imagine that henry has a lot more than mcbriar.

    • TommyLawlor

      Henry had a lot more punts, 16 in 3 games to just 4 on SNF for McBriar.

  • Mac

    The one kickoff return I distinctly remember… Casey Matthews ran down behind two guys who hit the two man wedge. He then positioned himself to the right (maybe) side of that pile and he and I both impacted the play by standing still and watching Wilson burst through a gaping hole!

    • SteveH

      So what you’re saying is we should blame you for the poor ST’s play Sunday night. Its noble of you to take the blame at least.

  • GFF

    Bothers me a lot that Rolle (and Gaither, and others) don’t have the good sense or humility or whatever to look back to Trotter for inspiration: dude came back to Philly, busted his arse on special teams, and thereby earned a starting and starring role on a superbowl team.

    • A_T_G

      Or even the sense to realize playing special teams for the Eagles is Still better than going to work at uncle Ronnie’s construction company.

  • P_P_K

    It’s too bad Brain was released, as he was a fan favorite (at least on Igglesblitz). I’m not sure, though, that it’s accurate to attribute his demise to lack of effort, being pissed at losing his strating position, or any other psychological aspect. There’s no way for us to know what was going through the young guy’s mind. It may just be that he’s not that good or that his skill sets don’t work for this particular team.

  • aub32

    Hey Tommy, do you think you could do a post on the difference between the 2011 and 2012 draft classes. I am interested in how they could get such different results with the same GM and staff. Taking a look at last year’s draft class:

    D. Watkins – Average to slightly below average starting RG
    JJ – Cut in 2nd year (hasn’t been picked up to my knowledge)
    C. Marsh – 5th CB, just lost his primary outside backup role to Hughes
    A. Henery – Jury is still out, but shows promise
    C. Matthews – Voted next LB most likely to be cut
    D. Lewis – lost his backup role to 7th round 2012 pick (may be on the way out)
    J. Vandervelde – Cut by multiple teams, but brought back due to injuries
    J. Kelce – Average center, but the athleticism and intelligence for big things
    B. Rolle – Overachiever, but undersized and eventually out in 2nd year
    G. Lloyd – Only mentioned to compare last year’s 7th to this year’s 7th
    S. Havili – Solid FB. Can be a decent weapon, blocks and plays STs well

    As you see there are only a few picks still on the team, and there don’t seem to be any gems, outside of possibly Kelce. This year 7/9 picks made the team with one of the other two making the PS. Also, the didn’t just make it; they play prominent roles as starters or primary backups. Not to mention the future best player in the entire league in Nick Foles. Is this year an aberration and a lot of luck? How could the two classes be so many worlds apart?