The Eagles threw us a curveball today. They cut ILB Emmanuel Acho and added ILB Najee Goode from Tampa.
I have watched college tape and parts of 2 preseason games today to see Goode in action. My reaction…meh. He does some good things, but never looked like a player I’d cut Acho for. My one hedge is that I liked his college tape more than the NFL tape. I mention that because West Va ran a 3-3-5 defense. In Tampa he was in a 4-3. Goode doesn’t have the speed to go sideline to sideline. Playing behind a 3-man line usually means less ground to cover.
There are things to like about Goode. He has a thick, squatty build at 6-0, 245. He is a physical player. He’ll take on blocks. Tampa had him blow up FBs on iso runs. In the preseason finale, Goode broke up one pass (that he probably should have picked off) and then a few plays later made a good pick and returned it for a TD.
I just didn’t see anything special about him. He doesn’t have great instincts. He’s not speedy. He isn’t a great hitter.
I wonder if Tom Gamble maybe liked him a lot for SF’s 3-4 defense prior to the 2012 draft. Goode did look like a natural 3-4 ILB to me. It could be that the Eagles had a high grade on Goode. Ironically, I had Acho rated just above Goode in the 2012 draft rankings. I didn’t love either guy, but preferred Acho since he seemed more athletic.
The Eagles obviously value Goode since they did make the move. I hope he does prove to be a natural fit in the 3-4 and plays well.
More than a few fans are upset that the Eagles kept Casey Matthews over Acho. I agree with that. I’ve said the last few weeks that Acho looked like the #3 ILB to me. I stick by that.
I went back and re-watched 2 1/2 quarters of the Jets game to take another look at Acho, Matthews and Knott. I still like Acho best of them as an ILB. I do like Casey better in coverage and STs. Knott is the bottom of the group.
The one knock on Acho is that he can look confused on some pass plays. He’s really good on runs. He moves through traffic, finds the ball and tackles well. Some of you will throw PFF grades at me. I just re-watched the plays over again and focused on each LB. Casey did good things in coverage. There were 2 separate plays in the 1st Qtr when he knocked down the receiver. This is legal inside of 5 yards and something DeMeco Ryans is really good at. Casey must have picked it up from him. I love it. You take the guy out of the play, within the rules, and get a chance to knock the crap out of him in the process.
Casey did look better on STs from what I could tell. It can be tough to judge certain aspects without the All-22 tape, but I watched and re-watched to see what was going on as best I could.
I think Casey, Acho and Knott all played well enough this summer to deserve spots.
I thought Acho had starting potential. I didn’t see that from Goode due to his lack of speed, but again…that was in a 4-3, 1-gap speed defense. He might be a much more natural fit in the 3-4.
As an outsider, I don’t fully understand the Acho for Goode change. The coaches and personnel guys saw this as the way to go and I trust them for now. They’ve made good decisions so far this year. Not perfect, but good.
This one does have me scratching my head. I hope over time I’ll come to understand the thinking and the move will pan out.
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The Eagles added Trenton Robinson to the practice squad. He is a 5-9, 193 S/CB. Good speed. Plays bigger than his size, but still has limitations because he is small. Played both S and CB in college. Primarily a S, but filled in at CB when needed. The Eagles needed a S with some cover skills so this is a good move.
There was a lot of buzz on Robinson prior top the 2012 draft. Some thought he could go as high as the 3rd/4th round. I never bought into the hype. Solid prospect, but you can’t ignore the size factor.
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There is a report that the Eagles will add S Keelan Johnson to the practice squad. He’s 6-0, 209 and a good athlete. This would be a good move. We need some size back there.