Brad Smith & Some Roster Talk

Posted: November 13th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 43 Comments »

The Eagles did sign WR/STer Brad Smith on Tuesday. They cut B.J. Cunningham to make room for Smith.

Smith broke ribs back in the preseason. Buffalo put him on short term IR, meaning they could release him when healthy. Smith went off IR on Friday and started getting calls. I didn’t realize he was on short term IR. Back in the summer I thought he might be of interest to the Eagles if cut by the Bills. This move makes a lot of sense to me.

Smith is a good role player. He can be an effective WR. He’s not a workhorse type, but is a guy you can throw the ball to once or twice a game and count on him to make the play. Smith is a good runner. You can use him on end arounds and reverses. Smith has experience as the Wildcat QB. He has good size and strength and will block on run plays. Smith also is a big help on STs. He’s got 4 KOR TDs, including one last year. Smith will help cover kicks and punts.

Chip Kelly wants players who can help the team. He is willing to develop talent, but Kelly isn’t going to just give a young player a blank check. At some point, players have to show they deserve their roster spot and/or playing time. Smith is the kind of guy who can step in quickly and find a niche on this team. He took away Cunningham’s spot and could eat into Damaris Johnson’s role. Those guys haven’t done enough to secure their roles.

Don’t expect Smith to suddenly get mixed into the offense a lot. He’s just a role player that has value. I don’t know if Kelly will mix in Wildcat plays with Smith. I don’t anticipate that, but never say never. Smith was a mobile QB in college and has done well in the Wildcat in the NFL. He can run the ball and he can run the option.

Smith could also become the emergency QB. James Casey has that role now, but Smith should be better. He’s got a QB background and has thrown 9 passes in his NFL career.

It can’t hurt that WRs coach Bob Bicknell was in Buffalo last year. He and Smith have experience together.

This isn’t a significant addition, but Smith has value. Solid move.

* * * * *

Ed Reed was cut by the Texans on Tuesday.  Should the Eagles be interested?

Yes, assuming that someone has invented a functional time machine. If not, then pass. Reed was a declining player last year. There is a reason the Ravens let him walk. He went to Houston and struggled to get on the field. Once there, he didn’t play well.

I know the Eagles have an injury at S with Earl Wolff being down, but adding a guy like Reed doesn’t make sense. He would not want to come here and be a role player. He’d want to start. That would be fine if he was a good player, but that’s not the case right now. The Eagles are better off with sticking with the current guys.

* * * * *

I talked in an earlier post about the roles that Najee Goode and Emmanuel Acho have as backup ILBs.

What about Casey Matthews? He’s been primarily working at OLB. This isn’t ideal, but that’s what the coaches have done. There are better OLBs on the street right now. The coaches value Matthews as a STs player. That’s why they’re trying to find the right spot on defense for him. I cannot imagine the coaches see Matthews as a good OLB. He fits the role for now.

* * * * *

Speaking of OLB…someone asked about Brandon Graham and why he’s still not playing a ton.

The coaches still must see him as not being good enough to take away time from Connor Barwin and Trent Cole. Some of you will roll your eyes and start quoting PFF stats. You’re missing the point.

This isn’t a question of whether Graham can rush the passer. He can. This is a question of how Graham fits in as an OLB in the Eagles new 3-4 defense. Based on his limited reps, I’m guessing the Eagles aren’t thrilled with his current skill set or his development.

Graham has had some good moments. He’s gotten into the backfield. He’s been disruptive. The problem we have is that we still don’t know how the coaches grade him out overall. Is he a good run defender? Does he execute assignments properly? And so on.

Is this the right thing to do? It is easy to get frustrated with the staff, but they’ve made some good decisions this year. Time has proven them right on some things. The coaches brought Vinny Curry along slowly on the D-line and he’s shown definitive progress as a 3-4 DE and 2-gap player. Bennie Logan has developed into a good NT. Graham is still a good pass rusher, but the coaches must not think he’s shown significant progress as an OLB.

* * * * *

Russell Shepard has not caught a pass for the Bucs this year. He does have 4 STs tackles and 2 FFs.

Jeff Maehl has 5 tackles. He has caught 4 passes for 67 yards and 1 TD.

The Bucs are better at covering KOs. The Eagles are better at covering punts.

I’m curious to see if Shepard pans out. This could be a move the Eagles regret. Or it could be much ado about nothing.


43 Comments on “Brad Smith & Some Roster Talk”

  1. 1 T_S_O_P said at 2:30 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    When Schiano goes, Sheperd will return. Keep the faith.

  2. 2 Anders said at 3:16 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    I was sad we couldn’t sneak him on the ps. He was apparently too good on st in the pre season

  3. 3 ICDogg said at 4:57 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    As BLG from BGN tweeted, the Eagles are the only team in the NFL that haven’t had a drive start inside their opponent’s 20 yard line (red zone).

  4. 4 MFGor said at 5:29 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    I have a question not related to article. Do we use option routs? I remember there were lot of talk about option routes in preseason. Is it possible to know that WR is running option route? Thanks!

  5. 5 ICDogg said at 6:06 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Funny you should bring that up…

  6. 6 MFGor said at 8:01 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Thanks for the link. It would be nice to see more detailed analyses by Tim, Sheil or Tommy.

  7. 7 ICDogg said at 8:19 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    It’s a difficult subject to examine without knowing what the play call was on any particular play.

  8. 8 TommyLawlor said at 8:23 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Luckily, I’ve bugged Pat Shurmur’s office and have all that information.

    Transfer $2500 into my account in Nigeria and I’ll get you the plays, plus I’ll give you $3000 back. Win-win.

  9. 9 MFGor said at 8:46 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    My bank account in Armenia is frozen and they want 100$ to unfreeze it. Please send me a 100$ and I will send you 2500$ back.

  10. 10 A_T_G said at 8:47 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Just don’t use your bugged feed to check out replays. You will miss out.

  11. 11 A Roy said at 8:58 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    What’s the ##?

  12. 12 Kristopher Cebula said at 7:03 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    so tommy, is brandon graham trade bait at the end of the year or does he stick around? do you see any value in him?

  13. 13 TommyLawlor said at 8:20 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Huge question. The Eagles will have to make a tough decision. They would love to have him be the ROLB so they wouldn’t be moving on from another draft pick, but they can’t force a square peg into a round hole. This year they’ve been able to watch him play and they’ll know if another offseason and TC would enable him to play LB or if it just isn’t meant to happen.

    My guess is that he’s gone, but I’ve learned with Chip to never say never.

  14. 14 Insomniac said at 10:41 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    In 2014, Chip Kelly will think of a way to restore players to their pre-ACL tear form with the power of smoothies. One can hope right?

  15. 15 Neil said at 11:00 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Science has done crazier things…like graft some patellar tendon to where the ACL used to be.

  16. 16 Insomniac said at 12:01 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Next thing you’ll know we’ll 3D print out ACLs and keep them on the sidelines.

  17. 17 Joseph Dubyk said at 7:36 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    PFF is not a be all end all grading system anyway. I think BG is over rated by Eagles fans anyway. He never drew double coverages or chips. His 6 sacks were kind of ‘over rated sacks’ if that makes any sense. He’s obviously not built like a 3-4 OLB and he’s clearly a 4-3 DE… We should’ve tried to trade him in the offseason. I don’t think we’ll garner anything more than a 3rd for him at this point in his career… But there’s a lot of teams that could/should take a flyer on him if they need some young help @ DE

  18. 18 A_T_G said at 8:45 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Most of those statements could have been said of Curry a few months ago too, though. I don’t know that you can fault a new coaching staff with giving a talented player a chance to make the changes. That being said, he doesn’t seem to be making the changes. If he can’t, get some value for him.

  19. 19 ICDogg said at 9:11 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    I don’t see any team giving up much for Brandon Graham. If they can, “take the money and run”, so to speak.

  20. 20 fran35 said at 10:36 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    I agree with you here. His sacks have never wowed me. He has a good motor, but his pass rush skills are limited to bull rush and working hard. That is not elite. Trent Cole previously had elite pass rush skills. Not so much anymore. However, Trent is ALWAYS in his gap and always does what the coaches ask of him. He is a very good run defender and a leader despite the fact that we get very little as a pass rusher from him.

  21. 21 Joe Minx said at 12:53 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    PFF really galls me with their holier-than-thou attitude. They act like their grades are the supreme authority on whether someone is playing well or not when it’s clear their system is highly flawed. I hate the way everyone in the media quotes them now as if there is no more definitive resource out there.

  22. 22 Daniel Norman Richwine said at 7:47 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    Is the defense playing as you expected? Seems to be keeping the ball in front, making the other team earn it, trying to get turnovers. are they just getting lucky with keeping the opponents since Denver out of the endzone?

  23. 23 ICDogg said at 8:08 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    They are doing better than I expected. They aren’t that good, but they are better than the numbers might suggest. The fact is, they’re on the field a lot more than most NFL defenses, since the Eagles tend to have very short scoring drives when the offense is playing well. And when the offense is not playing well, they’re not on the field very long either. So our defense might have to face 12 more snaps than most teams face.

    It’s not a particular player who is “the weakness” on this D, but a general need to upgrade to get some more guys who can make plays.

    The schedule since Denver has been favorable as far as not facing good, dynamic offenses, and we caught a break that Rodgers was injured.

  24. 24 bentheimmigrant said at 9:24 AM on November 13th, 2013:

    I think if we can upgrade at corner, that would fix our biggest “weakness”. We’re already stopping the run, but without good coverage ability on the outside we really don’t have the choice except to give up receptions underneath. Replacing Williams will do a lot, assuming we can find someone who can make those catches tougher and still not give up the deep ball. I think my ideal offseason is a 1st on either CB or OLB, and grabbing a fairly high tier guy in FA for the other.

    I have to say though, Davis is doing a pretty good job considering the lack of real impact players in the secondary.

  25. 25 Anders said at 12:00 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    FA comes first, so finding a CB or OLB in FA and hoping to replace the other in the draft can be tough if you dont want to reach instead of going BPA.

  26. 26 bentheimmigrant said at 1:15 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    True enough. But that’s my ideal result, not necessarily my ideal approach. As it is, it wouldn’t be bad if we address both in FA – a second at either position in the draft would still be good.

  27. 27 Anders said at 2:41 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    I love to add a CB and OLB starter and S and OG for depth in FA.

    Then we can take what we want in the draft without going for need.

  28. 28 ACViking said at 1:04 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Re: Pro Football Focus Ratings

    Seems that the ratings make sense if they’re consistent with the “eye test.”

    Not my eyes as much as T-Lawlor, J-Bama, Fran Duffy — and folks in that class.

    Standing alone, the PFF data — for me, at least — falls under the rule of “Lies, Damn Lies, and . . . Statistics.”

  29. 29 Dominik said at 2:28 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Re: H2H

    You said you’d maybe want to get Barkley as our back-up next year, Tommy. Are you serious about that? I like Barkley from a personality standpoint (from what I read about him), but after seeing him this season, I would really have a bad feeling if Foles goes down. I didn’t had that feeling when Vick went down against the Giants, because I knew Foles would be capable. I wouldn’t think Barkley is capable (yet).

    And Kelly said multiple times that you’re only as good as your back-up QB in this league. Barkley looked terribly overstrained in the games this season.

    I’m with you on the draft strategy: if Foles continues to play well, either draft a good QB (if you think that he’s something special) in round 1 or 2 (altough I think we need a pass-rusher in round 1) or draft a development QB in round 6 or 7. No midround QB selection.

    But if you don’t draft a QB in round 1 or 2, sign a solid veteran via FA. It would be great if Barkley earns the spot as back-up, but like you wrote many times: let him earn the job, don’t hand it to him.

  30. 30 TommyLawlor said at 2:56 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Our judgment of Barkley is based on 2 games where he entered trailing by at least 12 points. He entered a tough situation. Matt didn’t help matters with his play, but you have to be careful about being too harsh on a rookie playing in unfavorable conditions.

    Matt won’t be given the backup QB. He’ll have competition from someone, be it a veteran or other rookie.

    In Chip’s mind, all 3 or 4 will actually be battling for the starter’s job. The guy who finishes 2nd will get to be the backup.

  31. 31 Dominik said at 3:02 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    I don’t want to rule out Barkley for the future. I get that it’s his rookie season and the situations weren’t easy ones.

    But to turn the question around: would you feel comfortable with Barkley coming in if Foles would go down next season?

    Of course Barkley will have competion for the back-up spot, but it shouldn’t be a 7th round rookie, imho. A 7th round rookie should be the #4 and go to the PS, where you can coach him up. The competition for Barkley next season should be: solid veteran or high draft pick. Would you disagree with that statement?

  32. 32 Neil said at 4:00 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Look how much better Foles looks in year 2. I trust Chip with developing QBs. I think Barkley is a risk to be a good backup, but not a huge one. We can go the route of GB getting guys in september if there’s really a huge need.

  33. 33 Dominik said at 6:05 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    The difference between Foles and Barkley is that Foles actually showed flashes in his rookie season (Preseason and regular season), Barkley didn’t.

    I say this again: I’m not saying that Barkley will never be a competent NFL QB, but I doubt that he will be one next season already. At least I want some kind of insurance. With 4 TO in 5 drives you can’t win a single game in this league and that’s what Barkley has in his book at the moment.

    If you go the Green Bay route you have QBs who barely practised with the team and don’t know the playbook inside out. Why would you go that route voluntarily?

  34. 34 ztom6 said at 8:38 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Barkley didn’t look nearly as bad as people are making him out to be. Yes he had some bad turnovers, but he also made some nice throws. By no means should he be handed anything, but he looks a lot less clueless than other rookie QBs I’ve seen.

  35. 35 Neil said at 8:51 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Well, Foles went from promise to possible franchiser. Barkley would need to go from awful to game manager. Seems like a similar jump to me. Barkley has played maybe a game’s worth of quarters in the hardest circumstance for any QB, passing every down to try to make a comeback while having had no preparation during the week. It would sure be impressive as heck if he didn’t look terrible in his circumstances, but I’m not ready to say he couldn’t be a #2 this year, letalone with another offseason. We need to see more of the kid. If the coaches felt comfortable with him based on what he shows in practice, I would trust their judgement.

  36. 36 Dominik said at 5:13 AM on November 14th, 2013:

    The trust in Kelly is one thing we have in common. He values the bak-up QB, so it’s in his best interest and judgement to pick a capable one.

    But I ask you the same question I asked Tommy: would you feel comfortable if you know that Foles is out for the game and Barkley has to finish the rest of the game?

  37. 37 Neil said at 9:44 PM on November 14th, 2013:

    Depends on the situation. I think he’ll be able to hold on to a lead. A back and forth kind of game, probably pretty iffy, and a losing game I don’t expect him to win. Could we realistically expect to get better performance from that spot, and if so what kind of investment would it take, maybe 3 or 4 mil to sign the right guy? Or do you just not agree that he could be as effective as I think with another offseason? I expect him to improve, and I also suspect he would have looked better if he hadn’t come in at the worst time for all his playing time.

  38. 38 Dominik said at 6:00 AM on November 15th, 2013:

    My main point is: don’t give him ANYTHING for free. He didn’t earn the easy path when playing this year (Foles did last year).

    The best option imho would be (under the assumption that Foles doesn’t play a “Dallas game” or two for the remainder of the season) to sign a good vet via FA. Good back-up QBs aren’t cheap, but worth the money. If Barkley beats him at camp: bravo, great. If he doesn’t, the world doesn’t end if Foles gets hurt.

    In other words: Barkley has to prove that he made a jump. He has to, if he wants to be the back-up next year. The 2013 Barkley isn’t good enough to be your back-up.

  39. 39 Neil said at 11:07 AM on November 15th, 2013:

    This I’ll agree with. A budget, sort of baseline backup would be a nice addition for competition. I hope we can draft another mid-late guy to do that, but if we can’t adding a FA would make a lot of sense.

  40. 40 Dominik said at 2:06 PM on November 15th, 2013:

    I’m against the mid-late guy, actually. A 7th rounder or UDFA as #4 QB wouldn’t be a problem, of course, but we have a 3rd year starter and a 2nd year 4th round pick as our #2 or #3 next year. I want a vet who knows this league and is ready to play. If Barkley beats him and earns the back-up spot: great. If he doesn’t we have a vet as back-up who doesn’t lose the games if he has to play (altough he wouldn’t win them, either, otherwise he wouldn’t be a back-up ;)).

  41. 41 Stormbringer said at 2:43 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Just saw Todd Christensen passed. He was a great player I watched growing up. RIP.

  42. 42 TommyLawlor said at 2:58 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Great pass catcher. Used to like him as an announcer, but he got weird over time.

    Sad to hear that he passed. Always loved a TE that wore #46 and caught so many passes.

  43. 43 dislikedisqus said at 5:16 PM on November 13th, 2013:

    Ed Reed has to be better than Kurt Coleman or Patrick Chung.