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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Big Night

Posted: August 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 134 Comments »

First things first. Many of you want to know who made the roster with a good game tonight. Still too early for that. I need to check the tape to see who played well from an overall standpoint. The naked eye can only see so much. And remember…this isn’t about stats or results. Big plays against the Jets scrubs can be deceiving. You need to find NFL talent. You want guys whose skills translate well to real NFL games.

The big story of the night is the emergence of Cody Parkey, the rookie the Eagles traded for the other day. He kicked 2 field goals of more than 50 yards. He had pretty good depth on his kickoffs. Look beyond the numbers. Parkey looked good in doing that. He struck the ball firmly and cleanly. Those long FGs weren’t moving all over the place. They were fairly straight. I also liked the fact that Parkey handled the pressure of the moment well. A bad kick could have gotten him a pink slip.

Was that enough for Parkey to win the PK job? I’m no expert on kickers, mechanics and exactly what it takes to succeed in the NFL, but I really liked what I saw. I think I would go take the chance and go with Parkey. This kid is unproven, but he showed special potential tonight. While there is something to be said for Henery, he’s never shown anything special.

The Eagles piled up 568 yards of offense and scored 37 points. The skill players had a good night, but the real stars were the O-linemen. They controlled the line of scrimmage throughout the game. They gave Barkley good protection and opened some gaping holes for the runners.

Damaris Johnson helped his case for a roster spot quite a bit. He was 5-69 as a runner, including a 46-yd TD. He caught 2 passes for 19 yards. He also averaged 17 yards per punt return. He did everything the coaches asked of him. And you know how Chip Kelly loves versatility.

I still might go with Arrelious Benn for the final roster spot at WR. He was 2-55 as a receiver, including a 43-yd TD. He almost came up with another TD. He looked good as a receiver. I was disappointed not to see a WR screen go his way. I wanted to see his RAC skills.

Matt Barkley started slow. He was very pedestrian for a while, but then seemed to get into the flow of the game and he played better. I guess you would say there was more good than bad, but he’s just not playing at the level he needs to be. I think his biggest issue is that he’s trying to be too good…going for big plays rather than just moving the ball.

Barkley did finish 21-33-253, with 1 TD and 1 INT. Those numbers are solid, but the tape is more uneven.

I do not think G.J. Kinne has a legit shot at the roster.

TE Trey Burton helped himself in a big way. He led the team with 6 catches. Burton is a gifted pass catcher. He has good hands and is effective on short and intermediate routes. I thought his blocking was much better. Burton just might have earned a spot tonight. He’s at least in the mix.

I remain totally confused about RB. Chris Polk did not play. I have no idea what to make of his situation. Matt Tucker was 6-39 on the ground, but he looked to be cutting slowly as he went wide and then up the field. Henry Josey was terrific, going 22-121 on the ground. He looked fast and quick. I just get nervous about RBs who look fast vs backup defenders. Speed doesn’t always work against starters. Kenjon Barner was 5-21 on the ground before he left with an injury.

The overall defense played well. I don’t think anyone really jumped out. ILB Emmanuel Acho helped himself, from what I could tell. Would have been even better if he held onto a ball that he almost picked off. Bryan Braman looked good rushing off the edge. He has a very good dip move. Earl Wolff had a nice FF. Ed Reynolds had a couple of nice tackles, but missed an INT that would have really made him look good. Jaylen Watkins was physical as a hitter and tackler, but he did give up the TD pass.

It was good to see the Eagles go out and whip somebody, 37-7. They played well on both sides of the ball and for the second week in a row looked like a much better team than the opponent. The team is headed in the right direction and seems to get better each week.

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Have any questions about who is eligible for the practice squad? Sam has your answers and all the details here.

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PHI 13, NYJ 0 – 2nd half

Posted: August 28th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 133 Comments »

Lots of interesting storylines in this game so far. Hope for a good 2nd half.

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