Labor Day Reading: Examining the Roster Moves

The Eagles will probably make some moves in the near future here, whether it be to fill out their practice squad or tweak their 53-man. We’ll have that all covered. In the meantime, some reading for you on this rainy Labor Day:

John Gonzalez writes that the most recent cuts have further wiped away Andy Reid‘s fingerprints.

All those years of pass-first/run-seldom football under Reid have been essentially wiped away. Only 10 players currently on the roster arrived before 2010: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin (on injured reserve), Jason Avant, Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Trent Cole, Brent Celek, and Jon Dorenbos. Countless others, close to half the roster, didn’t land in Philadelphia until 2012 or later. Whatever ties the Eagles had to Reid have been all but undone.

“We have 19 rookies or first year players,” Roseman said. “That’s exciting for us. We talk about building a program and taking steps and doing things the right way. I think that’s a group that can grow with us here and hopefully a lot of them are with us for a long time.”

Build a program. Do things the right way. Grow together. Stay together for a long time. Roseman was talking about the future, but he simultaneously managed to bury what was left of the past.

Peter King had a couple Eagles-related thoughts in his Monday Morning Quarterback column. One was on Danny Watkins.

What a disaster the Eagles’ 2011 first-round firefighter, Danny Watkins, turned out to be. Good example of reaching for a guy who never really loved the game. Watkins never played football until he was 22.

The other on recently-released linebacker Adrian Robinson, now with the Broncos.

Linebacker Adrian Robinson joined his third team in 10 days Sunday. He was dealt from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia Aug. 22, then got cut by the Eagles Saturday, and claimed by Denver Sunday. Robinson should either be a special-teams staple, or a weekly decision whether he’s active for Denver.

Jeff McLane thinks some of the roster decisions run counter to a principle that Howie Roseman has been stressing.

Wide receivers Greg Salas and Russell Shepard were cut and Jeff Maehl survived. Tight end Clay Harbor was waived and Emil Igwenagu remained. And outside linebacker Chris McCoy was sent packing and inside linebacker Casey Matthews stuck around.

“When Chip talked about the versatility at the back of the roster we didn’t want to duplicate a lot of skills,” Roseman said on Saturday. “So that’s what made some of the choices at the back of the roster. Maybe some guys that played well in the preseason, but maybe they were duplicating the skills of some of the guys that we had. It didn’t make sense to keep them or try to find guys that did some different things.”

In theory, and possibly in practice, Roseman’s explanation makes sense. You want versatile players on your roster that can handle multiple tasks, especially if they’re one of 46 players that dress on Sundays. Kelly has stressed this attribute since arriving. It’s certainly been a concern for the coach, who had countless players at his disposal at Oregon. But it seems to run contrary to the philosophy Roseman has touted for two years — take and keep the best players.”

And finally, Tommy Lawlor takes a look at new Eagles corner Shaun Prater:

Prater isn’t some great player, but he can be an ideal #4 CB. He started for 3 years at Iowa. All Hawkeyes CBs are legally required to tackle well and play hard. Prater played on the outside in college. The Bengals drafted him last year and played him both in the slot and outside. He goes about 5-10, 190. That’s not ideal size for Bill Davis, but is big enough. And Prater does play bigger than he is.

If one of the starters goes down, the Eagles could move Boykin outside and then play Prater in the slot. Or he could just go outside.

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  • Adam

    Seems like McLane is reaching a lot in his article. Why is it fair to assume Shephard, a former RB/QB, was going to be a better NFL receiver than Maehl? The versatility he’s talking about is the exact reason why Matthews is on the roster still: he’s a top special teams contributor.

    He even goes as far as to say on twitter that Chip “muscled” his guys onto the roster. Like, really?

  • ICDogg

    I think we all need to take a deep breath and remember we’re dealing with the bottom of the roster, the dregs if you will. This part of the roster will be churned all season. What Chip is looking for is not necessarily what we are looking for. He may be looking for attributes that we, looking from the outside in, are not in a position to evaluate. Some of these attributes may have to do with positive attitudes, leadership abilities, confidence and stuff like that, which Chip might consider more important for now than one being marginally better at his position.

    • Adam

      Remember last year when Eagles fan base was enamored with story line of Trent Edwards vs. Kafka for the 3rd QB spot?

      THIS STUFF IS IMPORTANT.