Eagles Wake-Up Call: Linebacker Shuffle Lives On
If it’s football season, there’s a linebacker shuffle going on in Philadelphia. Death, taxes, and so on. Even an offseason dedicated in part to shoring up the position couldn’t totally shut down the dance. In the latest shift, Brian Rolle lost his job at WILL in favor of Akeem Jordan. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo explained the move on Monday.
“Akeem Jordan has probably had one of the better training camps since I’ve been around. He made a lot of plays. He was very productive. We grade our players every day, and Akeem has been making plays. He just deserved a chance,” said Castillo.
“Really, he’s playing at a top level and better than he ever has as an Eagle. He’s been rewarded.”
Fair enough. May the best man play. But there always seems to be a change in opinion as to who the best man is.
Per Reuben Frank, the Eagles have used 19 different starting linebacker combinations since the start of the 2009 season alone. That is not exactly a sign of health. Isn’t there a longing to settle on a group and let them form an identity?
“Really, the thing we’d like to is like last year, where we had different [groups],” said Castillo. “First, we had base. Then, we had first and second-down buffalo, we called it. We had third-down nickel and third-down dime. We had a lot of different positions where we had some good athletes there and good competition. We’d like to be able to use as many of those guys who have earned an opportunity to play [as we can].”
At one point last season, Castillo had a different linebacker combination for every package. If memory serves, that position was an issue last year.
Maybe Jordan steps in, locks down the weakside and solidifies the group. But if history is an indicator, we’ll see Jamar Chaney in there, then Rolle again, maybe a little Casey Matthews. And on and on and on…
WHAT YOU MISSED
Sheil has a quality breakdown on Nick Foles. Did you know he hasn’t misfired on a pass in the red zone yet? Yup.
To ensure he keeps his starting job, Michael Vick told Birds 24/7 that he is being fitted for a thicker rib protector and will have the extra padding for the opener.
The Eagles trimmed their roster down to 75 by placing Mike Patterson and Jason Peters on injury/illness lists.
As the competition heats up at quarterback, Marty Mornhinweg sings the praises of Trent Edwards.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
ESPN’s NFC East blogger Dan Graziano continues his countdown of the top 20 players in the division. Coming in at No. 9, Eagles defensive end Jason Babin.
Babin is a lethal pass-rusher at a time when rushing the passer is perhaps more important than it’s ever been in NFL history. He’s a lethal pass-rusher in a defense that can’t function unless its ends are wreaking havoc on the backfield. He’s a man for his time and his team, and because he’s as great as he is at what he does, he deserves this spot on this particular list.
Evan Mathis (19), DeSean Jackson (17) and Michael Vick (12) are also represented on the list.
Some bizarre stories coming out of Dallas.
If you haven’t heard, receiver Dez Bryant has agreed to abide by a strict set of rules laid down by the Cowboys. He has a 12 o’clock curfew, isn’t allowed to drink, can’t go to strip clubs and must be accompanied by a member of security at all times.
Meanwhile, Jerry Jones is now a rapper.
How does the last preseason practice sound? The players take the field at 11:45 AM for its final tune-up before the Jets game. Andy Reid will address the media afterwards.