More on the Roster Moves

Posted: August 31st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 147 Comments »

I’ve had some time to reflect on what the Eagles did. And many of you have questions. With that in mind, let me offer some additional thoughts on what happened today.

Is Cody Parkey the answer at PK? There were some veteran PKs cut in the last couple of days. The Eagles didn’t sign any of them to this point and I don’t expect them to. Parkey is a young guy with a strong leg. He showed on Thursday night that he can make long FGs in game situations and do well on kickoffs. Howie Roseman said today the Eagles followed Parkey while in college so this isn’t some random signing. This is a player they liked and STs coach Dave Fipp wanted to work with. My guess is that the Eagles stick with Parkey and see if they can develop him into a long term solution.

Could Michael Sam be of interest?  No. Sam is a lesser version of Brandon Graham. He needs to be a 4-3 DE. Sam doesn’t have the athleticism to be an OLB in the 3-4. The fact that he’s gay is completely irrelevant to whether the Eagles would have any interest.

Why did the Eagles keep Jeff Maehl?  I know more than a few of you think this is all about Oregon bias. Watch the Jets game. Maehl played well and that game and put himself in a position to make the team. If Arrelious Benn was healthy, I’d be upset with this move, but since he got hurt, I’m fine with it.

Maehl is the kind of WR that Kelly wants. He has some size. Maehl will block and is a solid STer. He can play in the slot or outside. Maehl has little to no upside and I understand some of the frustration with him making it, but I don’t think anyone else beat him out. Ed Reynolds was okay, but didn’t do enough that you felt you had to keep him. Damaris Johnson played his butt off, but he’s just not a good fit for Kelly’s offense. Johnson is an undersized guy with average speed. He can’t play outside. He’s not ideal in the slot. The fact he played RB in the preseason shows a great attitude, but he’s never going to be a RB in a real game. Johnson just doesn’t fit.

Who are some players that got cut that the Eagles might have interest in?

No slam dunks.

* WR Stephen Hill
* QB Tajh Boyd
* QB Jeff Tuel
* OL Vinston Painter
* LB Jake Bequette
* LB Adrian Hubbard
* CB Terrance Mitchell

Hill is big at 6-4, 215. Former 2nd round pick who struggled with the Jets. Lots of potential, but needs a lot of work.

Boyd failed to do much this summer and might not be of any interest, but if Kelly wants a young QB to throw on the practice squad, Boyd would make some sense.

Tuel is physically gifted, but needs a lot of work. Played at Washington State so Kelly knows him and what he can do. I like Tuel quite a bit as a developmental prospect.

Painter is a very athletic blocker and the Eagles value OL with that kind of ability.

Bequette is 6-4, 265 or so. Played DE at Arkansas, but would be a 3-4 OLB for the Eagles. I liked him quite a bit in college. Haven’t followed him much in the NFL.

Hubbard is a player the Eagles showed interest in this year in the pre-draft process. He is 6-6 and has very long arms. Not an explosive rusher. Would be better suited as the Jack LB.

Mitchell is a former Oregon player that I was high on heading into the draft. Tough and physical. Just lacks ideal speed.

I set ILBs apart all on their own. The Eagles are reportedly really looking hard for ILB help. First up are some veterans the team could go after to replace Casey Matthews right now.

* ILB Moise Fokou
* ILB Kelvin Sheppard
* ILB Pat Angerer

Fokou is a former Eagle that can play ILB or OLB. Also solid on STs. Sheppard was a mid-round pick by the Bills a few years back. He was awful while playing MLB for them. I think he would be better suited to 3-4 OLB since he wouldn’t have to cover as much ground. Angerer is small and has been hurt. That’s not an ideal combination, but he was pretty darn good a few years back.

Now for some young guys that might be better suited to the practice squad.

* ILB Shayne Skov
* ILB Korey Toomer
* ILB Andrew Wilson
* ILB Max Bullough
* ILB Chris Young
* ILB Steve Beauharnais
* ILB D.J. Smith
* ILB Andrew Jackson

I have not had a chance to study this group as NFL players so I don’t have a strong opinion on them.

It will be interesting to see if the Eagles make a move at ILB, or anywhere else. I get the feeling that Kelly and Roseman like this roster quite a bit. They won’t make a move unless they feel strongly about a player or position.

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Roster is Set…For Now

Posted: August 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 162 Comments »

The Eagles made their moves official. There were a couple of surprises.

The team decided to only go with 3 RBs. I was expecting 4. They went heavy at WR, keeping 6 players. Jeff Maehl, who had a good showing vs the Jets, got the final spot.

Dennis Kelly did make the roster. It could be that Matt Tobin’s ankle injury had a lot to do with that.

As expected, Emmanuel Acho was cut and Casey Matthews got the final ILB spot. This isn’t set in stone. Per Les Bowen, the Eagles are looking for ILB help. If they find someone they like better than Matthews, they’ll make the move.

Cody Parkey is your PK for now.

The roster:

QB – 3 – Foles, Sanchez, Barkley

RB – 3 – McCoy, Sproles, Polk

WR – 6 – Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, Smith, Huff, Maehl

TE – 4 – Celek, Ertz, Casey, Burton

OL – 9 – Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, Barbre, Tobin, Molk, Gardner, Kelly

DL – 7 – Thornton, Logan, Cox, Curry, Bair, Allen, Hart

OLB – 5 – Barwin, Cole, Smith, Graham, Braman

ILB – 4 – Ryans, Kendricks, Goode, Matthews

S – 4 – Jenkins, Allen, Wolff, Maragos

CB – 5 – Williams, Fletcher, Boykin, Carroll, Watkins

STs – Jones, Parkey, Dorenbos

The roster is only penciled in. You can bet that Howie Roseman is scanning the waiver wire for players of interest. There is also the possibility that he’s shopping players, most likely Matt Barkley.

While the team got the roster down to 53 players, don’t think that means that everything will stay this way.

Travis Long and Arrelious Benn did go to IR.

* * * * *

By keeping only 3 RBs on the roster, the Eagles could keep 2 on the practice squad. Matt Tucker is a virtual lock. Henry Josey could get the other spot. The Eagles reached an injury settlement with Kenjon Barner. I’m not sure how that affects his chances of being on the PS.

Here are some comments on the players who were cut from PE.com.

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Remember to check here if you have questions about practice squad eligibility. Great info from Sam Lynch.

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Saturday Morning Update

Posted: August 30th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 100 Comments »

A few news items broke on Friday evening that give us an even better idea of what the Eagles final roster is going to look like. Still just unconfirmed reports, but we’ll go with them for now.

The bad news came from Jeff McLane.

Really hate to hear that about Travis Long. He is a played the coaches liked, especially because of his versatility. He was an OLB that got cross-trained as an ILB. Long could play the run, rush the passer, cover and anything else you wanted from a LB.

The thinking was that the Eagles would go heavy at OLB, with Long being able to shift to ILB if needed. Now the Eagles will keep 5 OLBs and will need to choose another ILB to keep. The report is that Emmanuel Acho will be cut and Casey Matthews will make the team. This won’t sit well with some fans, but there is absolute logic to it. Matthews is a solid STer. He’s no stud, but is reliable and productive. He can also play ILB and OLB. Acho might be a tad better at ILB, but isn’t as good on STs.

I’m sure the Eagles will scan the waiver wire to see if any interesting ILBs get cut. It isn’t like Matthews is a player they love. The hope was to go with Long and cut him. This situation also was impacted by Jake Knott. The Eagles hoped he would take a big step forward this summer and become a key STer and backup. Instead he got suspended for 4 games and was hurt and unable to practice/play.

Matthews isn’t plan A or B. Heck he might not even be plan C. That could have been Jason Phillips. Matthews did what he seems to do best…survive.

Back to Long for a second. You hate to see a young player go through this. Long tore one ACL as a Senior at Washington State. Now he’s torn the ACL in the other knee. The good news is that he’ll have almost a full year to get ready for next Training Camp. Good luck to him.

* * * * *

A bit of news that will make some people happy.

Parkey had one great game and a week of practice, but it turns out that just might be enough. I think going with him is the right move.

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Roster projection

QB – 3 – Foles, Sanchez, Barkley

RB – 4- McCoy, Sproles, Polk, Tucker

WR – 5 – Maclin, Cooper, Matthews, Smith, Huff

TE – 4 – Celek, Ertz, Casey, Burton

OL – 8 – Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, Barbre, Tobin, Molk, Gardner

DL – 7 – Thornton, Logan, Cox, Curry, Bair, Allen, Hart

OLB – 5 – Barwin, Cole, Smith, Graham, Braman

ILB – 4 – Ryans, Kendricks, Goode, Matthews

S – 4 – Jenkins, Allen, Wolff, Maragos

CB – 6 – Williams, Fletcher, Boykin, Carroll, Watkins, Carmichael

STs – Jones, Parkey, Dorenbos

I went with Roc Carmichael as the 53rd player. I’m not sure who else to go with based on numbers. That and Carmichael plays a lot on STs. Nolan Carroll could fill that role, but if he gets hurt are you ready to rely on Jaylen Watkins?

I would prefer the team to find a Safety from somewhere else to keep, but if we’re going strictly with Eagles I’m keeping Carmichael.

This would be my practice squad

WR B.J. Cunningham
WR Quron Pratt
WR Ifeanyi Momah
RB Kenjon Barner
OL Dennis Kelly
OL Kevin Graf
DL Damion Square
DL Wade Keliikippi
S Ed Reynolds
open … maybe a LB or an OL

One interesting player would be Davon Morgan because of his versatility (S/CB). I thought he looked lost at S, but he interested me as a CB. If the Eagles go 6 deep at CB, they may want more of a pure S for the PS to develop along with Reynolds.

The practice squad is about both player development and…practice. You need guys that practice hard and can do a good job of acting as the upcoming opponent.

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The First Moves

Posted: August 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 82 Comments »

The Eagles have until Saturday to get down to 53 players, but went ahead and made some moves on Friday. Let’s take a look at what has already happened.

CUT

WR Quron Pratt
WR Ifeanyi Momah
QB G.J. Kinne
RB Henry Josey
OL Josh Andrews

There are some reports on guys who will make the team as well.

We’ve talked a lot about Burton in recent days. He has shown so much potential that you had to be nervous about cutting him.

There are some reports that Chris Polk will make the roster. If the Eagles feel he’s pretty close to returning, they may be willing to overlook the fact he’s been hurt this summer. Chip Kelly has praised Polk as a key STer, as well as being a RB the Eagles like. Never underestimate the importance of STs.

That makes total sense. Johnson can play. He’s just not an ideal fit for the Eagles. If Darren Sproles wasn’t here and Kelly didn’t prefer big WRs, then Johnson might be a guy the Eagles kept.

The only real surprise of all these moves might be the cut of Josey. While he was a lot of fun, you do wonder how his game translates to real games. It was fun to watch him run around defenders, but going against starting defenders is very different. The backup OL was dominant the last couple of weeks, which gave Josey plenty of running room. That’s not always going to be the case in real games.

There are other factors. How did he do in pass protection? How did he do on STs? And you also wonder if there were any concerns about how his knee would hold up.

Josey had a great summer and I hope he makes it onto someone’s roster or practice squad, whether the Eagles or not.

Speaking of the practice squad, both Pratt and Momah could be candidates for that.

* * * * *

One really interesting nugget is that the Eagles worked out QB Thad Lewis, most recently of the Buffalo Bills. Pat Shurmur worked with Lewis in both St. Louis and Cleveland so there is a connection to him. The reason this is interesting is that it makes you wonder why the Eagles are looking at a #3 QB? Could this mean that Matt Barkley is trade material?

I don’t know any more than you, but I could easily see the Eagles trying to deal Barkley. He is dying to get a chance to get on the field. Nick Foles is the Eagles starter for the next thousand years so that doesn’t bod well for Barkley.

It is possible Mark Sanchez could be a long term solution as the backup. He’s only here on a 1-year deal so that will have to be sorted out next February when Sanchez has to decide if he is comfortable as a backup or wants to go start somewhere.

Barkley doesn’t make sense as a long term player because he’s not going to be comfortable as a backup. He wants to play. If you can deal him now to a QB needy team like the Rams or Bills, do it. We’ll see if it happens. No idea how likely it is, but the move would make a lot of sense.

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Saturday is going to be a busy day so make sure to stay tuned for lots of news and rumor-mongering.

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More on the Game & Some Roster Talk

Posted: August 29th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 176 Comments »

Something occurred to me in regard to the kicker situation. After watching Cody Parkey have a strong game vs the Jets, where is Alex Henery’s head right now? If you wanted to keep him, could you trust him? Henery knows that even if the Eagles keep him, he’s on shaky ground. That has to affect his confidence. That could affect his performance. I think the missed FG in the Steelers game was due more to his head than his leg. I just don’t know how much you can trust Henery right now.

While Parkey had a strong showing, let’s not assume he’s going to be automatic from 50+ forever. The coaches have seen him in practice. They know how he’s been hitting the ball and if the game performance was an anomaly or a continuation of what he’s been doing everyday.

This is a tough decision because there is so little information on Parkey, but right now I’d go with him. Take the chance on the better leg.

* * * * *

Trey Burton is a player that I go back and forth on. He’s not ready to play against starters right now, based on what I’ve seen. He’s still learning the position of TE and he must get bigger and stronger. He is perfect for the practice squad. But…the guy looks like a gifted pass-catcher. Some team just might claim Burton if the Eagles cut him. While he might not be ready to play, he could be worth keeping on the roster for the future.

Burton would be perfect for taking James Casey’s spot in 2015. He is versatile and athletic. He is a willing blocker. Burton just lacks the strength to be a good in-line blocker right now. Like all young players, he also needs technique work.

* * * * *

I was hoping for more out of Ed Reynolds last night. I think he could be the #5 Safety, but I’m also not sure if the Eagles will keep that many. You only need 4.

Reynolds hasn’t earned a spot on the field. He’s had some good moments to be sure, but hasn’t jumped out and just grabbed your attention. He looks like someone that would be good for the practice squad. He’s got a future, but not much of a present. Burton has made a couple of wow plays and that’s why you want to be careful about cutting him. Reynolds hasn’t had any such moments and would likely go unclaimed if cut.

This isn’t just about him failing to pick off the pass. Don’t think…if he makes that play, he makes the team. I think that would have helped his case, but don’t think one play would have been enough. Reynolds needed to flash. Jaylen Watkins had a sequence last night where he was in on 3 straight plays. He looked tough and physical. That grabbed my attention. Reynolds made one good tackle. He was in on another stop, but it was less impressive. Guys trying to win those last few roster spots need to command your attention.

The one caveat here is that the Eagles love Reynolds for his brains and ability to understand defensive concepts. If he has continued to wow the coaches with his understanding of the game, that might be enough for them to want to keep him around.

* * * * *

Damaris Johnson had a terrific showing and did everything possible to impress the coaches. That still might not be enough. The biggest issue for DJ is that he’s a smaller guy with only average speed. He is very quick. He has a good burst. But he lacks the long speed you want in a smaller player.

Some of you may want to point out that Wes Welker also lacks speed. But Welker is great in other areas. DJ isn’t. Johnson was a great college football player. He had some good moments as a rookie in 2012. But I’m not sure there is a spot on the roster for him. He lacks the breakaway speed you want in a RS. He isn’t a gifted slot receiver. Johnson does have good RAC skills. And you know that Chip Kelly loves his versatility.

I won’t be shocked if Johnson makes the roster, but I’m not expecting it to happen.

I do give him a ton of credit for doing everything he can to make the team. If you watch Hard Knocks you see there are some players who just don’t have that same desire. Johnson knows his limitations and isn’t going to let the coaches cut him without a fight.

Here’s a funny tweet from one of our readers.

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I need to re-watch the game tonight before saying anything about RB. That’s a crowded position where everyone can make a strong case.

Kelly and the staff have some really tough decisions to make. And that’s a good thing. We’ve seen other years where there were 48 players you wanted to keep. The Eagles have closer to 60 you’d like to keep this time around.

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