LBs, Depth Charts, and DeSean

Posted: August 8th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 46 Comments »

LB Moise Fokou was a guest on Eagles Live today.  Dave Spadaro asked him to describe what position he plays and what his role is.  Fokou said he is the WLB.  He said that in the new scheme his primary function is to be a run defender.  He’s inside the DE and is almost like another ILB.

Jamar Chaney will also line up inside the DE.  The difference is that he’ll be to the side of the TE.  Chaney was put there to use his speed to help cover TEs.  That’s been a weak spot over the last couple of years.  The Eagles think that Chaney runs well enough to stick with athletic TEs.  Obviously he’s not as tall as you’d prefer, but rarely do you have big LBs that run really well.

Fokou said that he is up to about 242 pounds.  He’s got a big upper body.  He should be a good run defender this year.  He’s our most physical LB and sheds blocks the best as well.  My only concern is if he’s enough of a playmaker.

I can’t remember if I’ve made mention of this before, but I wonder if the Vikings defense is something we’re borrowing from.  They drafted Chad Greenway, who most considered a WLB, and put him at SLB so that he could cover TEs.  They took Ben Leber, a traditional SAM, and put him on the weakside.  That alignment has worked well for the LBs and the Vikings.

As for depth and evaluating the LBs overall, practice only tells you so much.  We really need to see them in games.  I’ve not been overly impressed with Keenan Clayton so far, but I’ve seen him show up in real games.  He did some good things in the win over Indy and in the playoff loss to Green Bay.  I know Keenan can play in the NFL.  I still have hopes that he will be a good situational LB, if not a starter.  I talked yesterday about Akeem Jordan playing well.  I’ve got hope for him.

Beyond those two is where things get iffy.  Greg Lloyd is the backup MLB.  I’m not overly comfortable with this.  Rashad Jeanty could help with that role, but he’s not been a standout so far at SAM.  He’s now running with the #3 defense at that spot.  Rookie Brandon Peguese is the #3 MLB. He’s had some good moments in camp.  I’m curious about him.

My hero Brian Rolle is the #3 WLB.  I haven’t seen enough of him to have an opinion so far.  I hope he shines in the PS games and pushes for a roster spot, but he might have to settle for the Practice Squad this year.

Thursday night is going to be huge for the young LB corps.

* * * * *

The Eagles released their first official depth chart today.  Here is the link for anyone who missed it.   This was put together by the coaching staff.  This isn’t just some piece of PR work.

That said, don’t make too much of this.  Jason Babin is the #2 LDE.  He’s been in practice for 4 days (including today).  Juqua Parker has been here for years.  Babin will almost certainly be the starting LDE.

I wonder how much of this is done to help with potential trades.  The Eagles could decide they want to deal Parker.  If he’s listed as the starting LDE, that could help you in negotiations.  The same might be true for Trevard Lindley.  He’s listed ahead of some players that I’m not sure he’s truly ahead of.

Obviously, the real key to a lot of this is that the coaches have yet to see the players in a game.  The team has now had 8 or 9 live practices.  That’s it.  Some young guys and new guys are still getting worked into the lineup.  The depth chart to pay attention to is the one heading into the 3rd preseason game, and then of course the one heading into the opener.  Those DCs will give you a more accurate idea of what the coaches are definitely thinking/feeling.

* * * * *

DeSean is at afternoon practice.  It’s just a walk-through so he’s basically standing around like everyone else.  It will be great to see him in action on Tuesday morning.  The CBs have looked good so far, but now they’ll have a real test.  DeSean is faster than any CB and knows how to get open.  *** OOPS.  The Eagles won’t practice on Tuesday.  Day off.  Wednesday is game prep.  Thursday is the game.  Friday is recovery.  Saturday then becomes the next practice day.

* * * * *

Danny Watkins seems to be improving each day.  He held his own today in 1-on-1 drills.  Watkins is adjusting to quick DTs.  He’s tenacious.  He gets his hands on a defender and isn’t going to let go until he’s forced to.

* * * * *

There was some discussion about whether Colt Anderson has a roster spot locked up, mainly due to his STs ability.  Nothing is guaranteed, but I’ll be very surprised if he’s not on the final roster.  Colt was the best STs player last year.  Kickoffs are being moved up and that should lead to more touchbacks.  There still will be some KOs that get returned.  Punts are still an issue.  Colt has definite value.  The only way I’m not keeping him is if some Safety greatly outplays him or Colt fails to show up in games.

* * * * *

Is Trevard Lindley in danger of being cut?  I think so.  This is partly on Lindley and partly due to circumstances.  We added 2 elite CB talents in NA and DRC.  We added Curtis Marsh in the 3rd round.  Those 3 are definites.  Asante Samuel, barring a great trade offer, is a lock.  That’s 4 CB spots locked up.

Joselio Hanson is a good slot corner.  He’s got limited upside, but can contribute now.  Brandon Hughes is a player the Eagles seem high on.  Then you have Lindley.  The coaches listed him high on the depth chart, but he’ll need a strong preseason to keep his job.  Yes, the Eagles did just spend a 4th round pick on him, but that doesn’t guarantee anything.  We’ve got a new DC and CBs coach since then.

I’m not writing Lindley off or calling him a bum.  With an injury or two he could be a key player for the 2011 Eagles.  Part of the point in putting together a strong roster is cutting good players, guys you don’t want to get rid of.  Back in 1999 we had a hard time finding 50 guys to keep.  I couldn’t wait to see other teams cuts so we could maybe find some talent.

* * * * *

Surprise cuts?  Mike McGlynn on offense.  Lindley on defense.  I’m not hearing enough good things about either player and neither one has caught my eye.

* * * * *

WR DeAndre Brown was cut today.  We’ve talked about him a bit.  Huge guy with potential.  Looked good in 1-on-1’s, but I wonder how well he did in team drills.  You must run crisp routes and make sharp cuts to get open in the NFL.  Just being big isn’t enough in the NFL.

46 Comments on “LBs, Depth Charts, and DeSean”

  1. 1 aceman said at 4:27 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    I am surprised to hear this about Lindley. I thought he looked pretty good on Saturday. Hughes only made one play that stood out and looked pretty ordinary otherwise.

  2. 2 Flyin' said at 4:30 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    I believe the players have the day off tomorrow, then a walk through on Wed. That said, DJax may not practice again until Saturday.

  3. 3 GermanEagle said at 4:34 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    That being said I am not even sure if we are going to see Peanut on the field this Thursday…

  4. 4 Tommy Lawlor said at 4:37 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Great point about no practice tomorrow. I’m not used to the new system of a day off every 7 days of TC. Weird.

    I wouldn’t play him vs Ravens. No need. Starters will likely play less than a quarter.

  5. 5 Thunderlips said at 4:44 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Back to the Depth Chart…

    Is Jason Peters (KNOCK ON WOOD) now our most indispensable player (after Vick of course)? Seems like the drop from Peters to Howard is greater than at any other position. I guess we could get around it by moving Herremans out and filling Mathis in at LG, but then we’re killing our continuity and taking a pretty big dip at both positions.

    In short, do you think Jason Peters can fit into one of Kafka’s red jerseys?

  6. 6 Flyin' said at 4:59 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    I have been thrilled by the way the coaching staff has started the players off slowly and increased their workload and intensity as TC has progressed. As players were allowed to practice, that theme has been constant. First you had the returning players, then the players from trades added and finally the FA’s (also any players that had redone their contract) were allowed to practice.

    In years past, Reid seemed to go too hard too fast. If my memory serves me correctly, there used to be a lot more players with injuries at this time. Mainly multiple hammy pulls and strains.

  7. 7 Iskar36 said at 5:03 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    I have to say I am happy with the attitude DeSean displayed today. I didn’t expect DeSean to say anything extremely negative or anything like that, but I was worried about him having the same attitude we saw from Asante: not really saying anything that would burn bridges, but showing clear displeasure. DeSean seemed to be very positive and taking the attitude of wanting a new contract, but will make sure to take care of his business on the field first. Part of me feels like the FO is more likely willing to deal with a player that takes that attitude than someone who pouts about things and tries to bring the media into it (Sheldon Brown).

  8. 8 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:08 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    RE: Jason Peters / red jersey

    Jason could probably fit into one of Rex Grossman’s red jerseys.

    Kafka? Nope.

    It would behoove us to have Peters stay healthy all year…until we sit the starters in Week 16.

  9. 9 Sokhar said at 5:19 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Sitting the starters in week 16 would put an awful lot of pressure on our backups to preserve our undefeated record, don’t you think? 😉

  10. 10 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:20 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    @ Sokhar…

    Good point. I stand corrected.

  11. 11 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:24 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    @ Iskar…

    Just check what Reuben Frank said on Twitter about DeSean. He made some real good points that explain the situation.!/RoobCSN

    DeSean isn’t TO. The holdout has been annoying, but DeSean wants to be here. He just wants his big payday as well. As you point out, DeSean was happy and positive. This isn’t a contentious situation at all.

  12. 12 Zack said at 5:41 PM on August 8th, 2011:


    Non – Eagles – question…I have a dynasty fantasy league rookie only draft – any sleeper you like – last year you hyped Andre Roberts and I took a flyer. Any late round rookies you love this year?

  13. 13 Tommy Lawlor said at 5:43 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    @ Zack…

    I’ll think about that and get back to you. Sounds like Roberts is going to get some PT in ‘Zona this year.

  14. 14 Dan said at 5:47 PM on August 8th, 2011:


    What about Reggie Brown? He’s still young, he knows our offense, and he is experienced. Not a bad player to have as your #6 receiver.

  15. 15 CVD said at 6:12 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Is Jason Peters (KNOCK ON WOOD) now our most indispensable player

    i was thinking that yesterday. with a RT that is injury prone, peters really needs to stay healthy

  16. 16 D3Keith said at 6:40 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    My surprises on the depth chart were things easily rectified (Cullen Jenkins and Babin as 2s) and Hanson being behind Lindley.

    I know the youth is an asset, but if one of our top 3 get hurt, I’d rather Hanson come in and play the slot and shift the other guy outside, and not miss too much.

    Re: your remark Tommy, you really think that helps in negotiations? Other teams should be able to tell which games we’re playing here if we mere bloggers and readers can tell, no? 🙂

  17. 17 Midnight Greenville said at 7:10 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that DJax reported today rather than tomorrow when he had to. I think he and Rosenhaus knew that he could be in, and still not have to really practice (read: expose himself to injury) until Saturday. I’m taking that as a positive sign that the expectation is that they can work out an extension over the next 5 days before he will be required to start working with the team again in any real capacity. At least, I hope so…

  18. 18 mcud said at 8:04 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    @ Tommy

    Re: CB depth chart (from prior post comments)

    I’m not sure you can ever justify keeping three developmental projects at any position, if given the choice, so either Marsh, Lindley, or Hughes would be out. Developmental, to me, is future starter potential, but not a guy you would start today unless you had no choice. I’m not comfortable with any of the three of them starting a game yet. We’ll see how far they’ve come in the coming weeks.

    I guess my ideal scenario is that two of the three kids outplay Hanson this preseason to the point that Andy is sending flowers to Joselio; either in condolences to his release or in congratulations in the wake of his trade to another team. Hanson is 30, and makes 3 times as much as Lindley or Hughes.

    Keep 5. Nnamdi, DRC, Asante, Marsh, and the winner of Lindley/Hughes. I’d rather keep Colt as a ST ace and a 5th safety (I’m assuming Page may challenge for the 4th S) than keep a 6th CB if possible.

  19. 19 Kyle said at 8:32 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Surprise to read that Lindley is in danger of being cut. I thought he would be ahead of Hanson given that he would have a better upside. Hughes they may be high on, is he ahead of Lindley already?

    McGlynn is also a surprise, though he has not made much noise in TC. He was drafted with the old scheme, and it is a new regime now.

    Any chance they could trade them for future picks, albeit late round ones?

  20. 20 DB said at 8:35 PM on August 8th, 2011:


    What do you make of this Chris Wilson signing? Camp body? He showed some good burst a few years ago. Not sure if their switch to the 3-4 hurt his growth.

  21. 21 Short Bus said at 8:37 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Geez, Tommy, I just don’t know how you do it. The information you provide here just seems to make sense out of everything for me. I’m looking at all the reviews, and I’ve been to two training camps so far this season. How on earth do you gather all this information? Once you write it, I’m thinking, “how did I miss that?”

    I just had to say all of this. Thanks for making me a much better informed Eagles fan. You’re the best.

  22. 22 Tommy Lawlor said at 9:15 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Not sure about the Chris Wilson signing. Maybe he’s just here to eat up game reps. We did lose Ricky Sapp.

  23. 23 Flyin' said at 9:18 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    from toReuben Frank’s twitter (link- post #11)

    “Andy said starters will play first quarter Thursday, second team will play 2Q and into 3Q, and “the other guys” will play rest of the game.”

  24. 24 MidniteMud said at 9:35 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    RE: Mcud

    I completely agree with you on dropping Hanson. I know he plays decent in his role, but not enough to justify the cap number, his age, and releasing any developmental corner showing promise. We don’t NEED Hanson anymore with the moves we’ve made recently, and he could end up being a good trade option. It might be better for him as well because almost anywhere else, he would get more PT. I just seem to recall over the last couple years watching Hanson in games, that I would say to myself “what do they really see in this guy?”. He isn’t great in coverage, doesn’t make many plays, decent ST’er, etc. The specific role he plays with this team is no longer a necessity, and it’s time to move on. Keeping him here for so-called “depth security” reasons doesn’t make sense this year. I just don’t think he is as good a player as many make him out to be, but, to each his own…

  25. 25 TSA said at 9:39 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    I don’t see Lindley getting cut. Both days I was at camp Lindley looked solid. Granted Hanson looked really good. But I honestly feel like the upside and cap commitment of Lindley makes him the nickel CB this year.

    Hughes did not pop at me at all.

  26. 26 mcud said at 9:43 PM on August 8th, 2011:


    Read my post again. I think Hanson should be shown the door as well, unless Lindley/Hughes look like total spares.

    I think Hanson is overrated, and replaceable. In fact, we already have…

  27. 27 Rai Wilson said at 9:55 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    I was hoping that the new agreement would expand rosters, maybe even to 57. So much of the season relies on mere luck–how many key guys get injured? Cutting so many promising guys who know the system just seems unnecessary. I would blame the players for not wanting to divvy up the pie any more than they had to, but I never even heard roster expansion from the owners’ end.

  28. 28 Austinfan said at 10:53 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Thought Rolle was 3rd team MLB and got some reps as 2nd team MLB.

    Given they’re almost using the OLBs as ILBs, using him at MLB creates depth and they can always move him back outside.

    Unless Lloyd has regained some speed, hard to imagine him fitting in this defense.

  29. 29 Tommy Lawlor said at 11:00 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    Rolle has played some MLB. I’d like to see him get game reps there just to make sure he can or can’t do it. Good MLB at Ohio State.

  30. 30 MidniteMud said at 11:41 PM on August 8th, 2011:

    RE: Mcud

    Agreed. I just keep hearing a lot of people complementing Hanson’s game recently (and in the past), and I just don’t see it. I see much more upside to Marsh/Lindley/Hughes.


    Is there any chance the TE position looks different this year? Celek did have an off season last year (compared to the previous season), but I know he will be Week 1 starter. However, looking forward, could Harbor really start to push sooner than expected? I’m not hearing much about Celek during this TC.

  31. 31 Name said at 12:17 AM on August 9th, 2011:


    Let me start by saying that DJax’s positive attitude upon arrival was well welcomed. Listening to other players that had been communicating with him, it was no real surprise. I think his agent’s “name” was forming the cloud over him more than anything else. i.e. PFT had an article after he arrived at camp that stated…”no sit ups in the driveway”. We all know DJax was just putting on a 3 piece suit for a few days to let the FO know he means business, but couldn’t wait to rip it off.

    Asante’s arrival was so much different. This is my recollection of the events…

    Asante arrived after the Eagles signed the most coveted FA that happened to play his position (after aquiring DRC via trade). Upon arrival, he doesn’t know what it means for his future. Shortly after his arrival, he meets with the Eagles brass. They tell him honestly, we can not guarantee anything. If the right deal is offered, a trade is possible. No BS. Asante hits the field shortly after that meeting and is horded by the media. No time to think about what all this means about his future. If you happened to hear any of Banner’s interviews, he himself mentioned a trade was possible…”we’ll listen to offers”.

    I watched that “one on one” and I could tell he was thinking out loud. He even reassured my assumptions when he said, “50/50″ regarding staying with the Eagles or being traded. Asante expressed he wanted to be with the birds, at the same time, he showed some anger towards the thought of being traded…”if they don’t want a playmaker”.

    Long story short…DJax had time to think about his actions and words and Asante was on the hot seat in a completely different situation.

  32. 32 Flyin' said at 12:20 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    That’s my post above…I feel like a Griswold Turkey.

  33. 33 Name said at 12:44 AM on August 9th, 2011:


  34. 34 Flyin' said at 1:04 AM on August 9th, 2011:


    Are you starting to get a feel for the defensive scheme Juan is going with? I know you are putting the puzzle pieces together and comparing what you know against other teams D and philosophies. A new DC with all the additions, getting comfy with a headset, calling plays on the fly in TC…and has no problem going head to helmet.

    i don’t know x’s and o’s. but i get the feeling that the lb’s and safeties will be like an umbrella coverage. lb’s in tight and the safeties covering the outside. while the cb’s are defending against the lightning.

  35. 35 Tommy Lawlor said at 2:15 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    We all need to see the defense in a game to fully appreciate exactly what’s going on, but I to think I have an idea of what we’re trying to do.

  36. 36 ian no. 2 said at 6:59 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    I was listening to Castillo last night and he said he was using a D that Andy gave him. I think Andy started to control the D right after JJ died. He opened camp that year lecturing the D on McDermott’s first day as DC. Andy hired JJ when he was a rookie HC and had no choice but to give JJ full control.. part of promoting Castillo may have been implementing his own ideas. If true I’m not concerned overall.. the D will be fine.

  37. 37 T_S_O_P said at 8:01 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    Tommy, by accident I wrote this anonymously in the other thread, but doesn’t the present description of WiLL really not fit Clayton all that well. Taking on a Guard? Maybe this is why he doesn’t seem to have shone. In fact, wouldn’t Jordan be better suited setting aside his poor displays at SAM last year. Therefore, could this be the Eagles getting Clayton used to playing both outside spots if they see him as the 4th LB? Similar maybe to Fokou playing some DE in camp last year to help with his physicality one presumes.

  38. 38 Eaglesfanatlarge said at 8:20 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    Ian no.2 – I was also thinking that Andy would be taking a much larger role in the D with a relatively inexperienced new DC. I think he trusts Marty enough to let him take the reigns with limited oversight so he can concentrate on D. I also think Andy is giving the DC job to Juan with the hopes he uses this as a stepping stone to a HC job, with Washburn in the wings as future Eagles DC.

    With the upgrades at DB and DL, it seems the only potential weak link on D is the LBs. It will be interesting to see if teams attach them. Interestingly, the Rams, who the Eagles face first, run a scheme with lots of runs between the tackles, and lots of short passes to backs out of the backfield, exactly the type of scheme that puts pressure on LBs. We’ll know pretty quickly if the Eagles’ LB corps is up to snuff.

  39. 39 Kevin (RC) said at 8:45 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    Man, I really miss JJ. His press conferences were always entertaining. It’s such a shame that his last game was arguably his worst playoff performance ever (NFCCG in 2008). He couldn’t move, so he coached from the booth.

  40. 40 ian no. 2 said at 9:16 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    efa-l, don’t think Washburn wants to be DC, and it’s unclear who’s next if Castillo leaves.. Lynn has some DC experience and there’s three upstart coaches.

  41. 41 ian no. 2 said at 9:24 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    Andy likes to be cute and roll the dice rather than grind things out conventionally.. for instance instead of getting Nmandi up to speed on a conventional coverage scheme he’s moving him around with limited preparation time. If I were an opposing coach I would want Nmandi moving around so that I don’t have to deal with two shutdown cover CBs all the time and hope the D hasn’t worked the kinks out yet. But I look at it all as entertainment.

  42. 42 Alex K said at 9:49 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    So, we’re already talking about Castillo’s replacement? Priceless.

  43. 43 coldtaxi said at 9:51 AM on August 9th, 2011:

    Re: the defensive scheme

    I’m really interested in seeing how it shakes out too. Castillo has mentioned several times working out of a 2 deep shell, but giving the FS run force responsibilities to the weak side sounds more like it’d fit an 8 man front/cover 3 base coverage. You’re asking a lot for that guy to line up deep, cover the deep half, and also be ready to come up and stop the run, especially with the main candidates at FS being a 2nd year guy and a rookie.

    Although I guess if you’ve got Nnamdi on the right side of the defense (which is usually the weak side of the formation), the FS is freer to charge the line on run action without having to worry about giving too much help deep on that side of the field? Maybe they’ll run a bunch of straight man coverage and play games with the safeties alternating between 2 deep and 1 deep, robber under?

  44. 44 Tommy Lawlor said at 12:30 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    I’ll post some thoughts on LBs/defense later in the day.

  45. 45 wellhelloitsdan said at 1:51 PM on August 9th, 2011:

    Here’s a thought about the defense: with such a plethora of talent at cornerback, it seems reasonable to expect other teams’ offensive coordinators to keep the ball on the ground a whole lot more to minimize their impact. Is this the right year to install Washburn’s wide 9 system? It seems like that approach is designed more for attacking pass plays, whereas the old system focused more on clogging the running lanes.

    In other words I think this defense is built to be brutal against the pass, but I think we should expect opponents to focus a lot more on the running game…

  46. 46 Oz.. said at 5:59 PM on August 9th, 2011:


    You’re forgetting that we’re expecting to play with the lead and force teams to pass the ball to catch up….Soon as we have a 10-14 pt lead they can release the hounds…