Eagles Depth Chart Analysis: Defense

NFL: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

We covered the offense yesterday. Here’s the position-by-position look at where the Eagles’ roster stands on defense.

Defensive line (12): Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Taylor Hart, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen, Damion Square, Joe Kruger, Wade Keliikipi, Brandon Bair, Frances Mays, Alejandro Villanueva.


Given the number of snaps the defense was on the field for last year, the guess here is that the coaches would like to rotate defensive linemen even more in 2014. But that means the backups have to be productive.

Cox and Thornton are locks to start. Cox is the most talented of the Eagles' linemen, but he's played for three position coaches in two years. He's been productive, but if he can take a leap in 2014, it'll give this group a serious boost. Thornton, meanwhile, was probably the Eagles' most productive and consistent defensive lineman last year. He wants to improve his pass rush, but Thornton's steady play was a key to the Eagles' solid run defense a year ago.

Logan is the favorite to start at nose tackle. He flashed as a rookie, and the coaching staff seems confident he can improve in Year 2.

Last year, the Eagles broke camp with seven defensive linemen. That means there could be four backup spots up for grabs. Hart, the team's fifth-round pick, is a lock for one of them. And then there are some wild cards.

Curry showed last year that he can get after the quarterback, but on first and second downs, he's not the type of run defender the team seems to prefer. It would not shock me if Curry got dealt at some point, but if he stays, he figures to continue in the situational role we saw last year.

The team essentially views Kruger (6-6, 290) as a rookie who red-shirted last season. He has the measurables and will be given an opportunity to earn playing time in his second year.

Allen and Square will battle it out for the backup nose position. The others face an uphill battle, although if one impresses this summer, he could steal a roster spot.

If I'm picking seven right now (granted, it's early), here's who I've got: Cox, Thornton, Logan, Hart, Kruger, Curry, Allen.

Outside linebackers (7): Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Marcus Smith, Brandon Graham, Bryan Braman, Casey Matthews, Travis Long.

The guys who started last year - Barwin and Cole - are the favorites to do so again this year. Barwin is a lock, while there's an outside chance that Smith unseats Cole. But more than likely, the rookie will be eased into the rotation as the third outside linebacker.

Things get interesting after that. Graham only played 26.8 percent of the snaps last year. He's shown he can rush the passer, but clearly the coaching staff isn't in love with him or Graham would have seen more action in 2013 instead of Cole. He could continue to fill a rotational role, but entering the final year of his deal, Graham is no lock to be on the roster when the season starts.

Braman was added as a free agent in the offseason and has a good shot to stick, given his value as a special-teamer.

Matthews was third on the team last year with 12 special teams tackles. He was moved from inside LB to OLB, but could have a hard time making the cut. Long would have to have a fantastic summer to make the team. Last year, the team kept eight linebackers total. Three or four are likely to come from this group.

Inside linebackers (7): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jason Phillips, Najee Goode, Jake Knott, Emmanuel Acho, Josh Kaddu.

This is one of the thinnest spots on the roster. Ryans and Kendricks are the unquestioned starters. After that, there are a lot of question marks.

Phillips was expected to help on special teams last year, but suffered a torn ACL early in training camp. Goode has a real chance to land a backup spot. Knott, an undrafted free agent last year, was suspended for the first four games of 2014 for violating the substance abuse policy. Acho was cut last summer, but eventually brought back. And Kaddu, an Oregon product, was added earlier this offseason.

As things currently stand, the Eagles would be in a tough spot in the event that Ryans or Kendricks should suffer an injury. The personnel staff will likely continue to keep an eye out for help at this position. In the meantime, they'll have to bank on one of the backups emerging.

Cornerbacks (8): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Jaylen Watkins, Nolan Carroll, Roc Carmichael, Curtis Marsh, Davon Morgan.

The Eagles made some moves at this position, but the truth is Williams an Fletcher are still the favorites to start, and Boykin is a lock to be the nickel.

Watkins (5-11, 194) is one of the more intriguing players on the roster. I wouldn't rule him out as someone who could potentially push Fletcher for a starting spot. The other thing to keep an eye on is what the Eagles do with their sub packages. I thought they might add a coverage LB and still play a lot of nickel. But that didn't happen. Maybe instead, they play more dime and use Watkins as a sixth DB. Given his experience at both corner and safety, that could be an option.

Carroll seems most likely to be a depth/special teams option, although he started 22 games the past two seasons. So with a good spring/summer, he has a chance to earn playing time.

If the Eagles keep a sixth corner, Carmichael and Marsh will battle it out for a roster spot.

Safeties (7): Malcolm Jenkins, Earl Wolff, Nate Allen, Ed Reynolds, Chris Maragos, Keelan Johnson, Daytawion Lowe.

Another summer of uncertainty at the safety position. The Eagles added Jenkins as a free agent, and he'll start at one spot. After that? Spots are up for grabs.

Wolff is the toughest player to get a handle on. He is probably the favorite to start alongside Jenkins right now. But that's no lock. If he doesn't progress, the spot could go to Allen. Reynolds, a fifth-round pick, could also have a chance to steal it, although he'll be back at Stanford for much of the spring because of the NCAA's graduation rule.

Maragos is considered primarily a special teams player. Johnson and Lowe face tough odds.

When the Eagles broke camp last summer, they had five safeties on the roster. If that's the case again, look for Jenkins, Wolff, Allen, Reynolds and Maragos to make it.

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  • myeaglescantwin

    Would yous fellas trade Vinny Curry for Dion Jordan straight up?

    Curry is a solid DE that would be able to come in right away and be at least the #3 DE on that team, most likely starter.
    I think the same can be said for Jordan in Philly.
    there’s no way he’s going to make the jump to starter in that 4-3 system.
    ( i could be wrong )

    • usmcnole

      Uh…we would but the phins would not

      • myeaglescantwin

        i don’t get why not. I know they moved high to draft Jordan, but that was a different regime.

        I know i’m dreaming here. haha

      • cliff henny

        what if Eags added Casey and Squares to deal?

        • JofreyRice

          I’m feeling generous, throw Casey Matthews and a bag of refuse in, too.

          • Dominik

            Guys, don’t be greedy. We have to send Carmichael, too. Without that stud, they won’t make the deal.

          • cliff henny

            if they ask which Casey, James or Matthews, Howie can answer ‘YES!’

      • Joe Thomas

        Curry and Graham for Jordan maybe

    • JofreyRice

      seems kind of unrealistic man. Don’t they owe him a ton of loot? It would be hard for me to see them giving up on a guy like that, especially with Cam Wake so long in the tooth,

    • Uncle Wonder

      Pipe dream. Phins will prolly be more likely to trade him for his true value nxt year. Unless he has a sophomore coming out party, in which case that ship will have sailed.

    • Scott J

      The Dolphins would laugh at that offer.

      • myeaglescantwin

        So,
        i guess i’m the only one that values Curry highly??
        or are we all assuming the dolphins are trying to force an 3-4 OLB to play 4-3 DE

        • Tommy McCabe Jr

          Why not? The Eagles tried to do it with Graham.

    • Andy124

      I was going to chime in that this wasn’t very realistic, but everyone and their mother beat me to it.

      • myeaglescantwin

        but i don’t understand why it’s so far fetched.

        do we give a damn what the Dolphins gave up for him?
        wouldn’t they want a player that can produce now?

        • James Hathaway

          you’re being ridiculous. The guy has the potential to be a perennial pro. Curry and Graham have not shown that. If a 2nd round pick and Graham wasn’t enough, why would JUST CURRY be enough? You would need to give up a first. The question is, which would’ve been better: Dion Jordan for our 1st and Graham, or keeping Graham and drafting Smith with that same pick? It doesn’t matter. It’s done. Jordan will not come here until free agency.

          • myeaglescantwin

            i believe curry is more talented & better suited as an NFL DE than graham. Point being, they offered Graham and there was no mention of Curry. This doesn’t exactly mean they weren’t interested in him, but that the eagles weren’t interested in offering Curry.

            The ‘perennial all-pro’ is an option at OLB , not 4-3 DE.
            but yes. I am ridiculous. there’s no doubt there.
            i knew i’d get smashed for this, but i’m good with that.

        • chippasnappa

          IMO even if we offered Graham, Curry, Matthews and 1st rounder they might still shoot down our offer as they have a lot vested in Jordan. They still see him as a future HOF’er that needs time to develop. He’s overrated and not much better than Marcus Smith, truth be told.

  • Joe Thomas

    Im a big fan of Thornton. I feel like he is a solid player. If he could improve on his pass rush, he could be like a Clyde Simmons.
    Wolfe I expect to make a big leap, Im also a big fan of his. Looking forward to seeing this saftey group, could surprise and be a strength.
    Im excited to see Smith, think he’ll be a really good player, coupled with Kendricks maturing and improving on his tackling, the LBS are poised for improvement.
    This defense could really surprise a lot of people this year. They need to get Boykin on the field more, and get after the QB, and they will be a force.

    • Uncle Wonder

      Clyde Simmons though? Idk bout that, lol. Different players, different systems. Clyde was a pass rush BEAST! I would trade Clyde in his prime straight up for the combo of Thornton, Curry, and Graham.

      • Guest

        Then again he benefited greatly from havin Reggie on the other side.

      • Uncle Wonder

        Then again he benefited greatly from having Reggie on the other side.

        • Joe Thomas

          If Thornton could put up 12 sacks a year, it’d be a good comparison

          • Andy124

            3-4 2-gap DEs don’t typicaly put up big sack numbers. 5 would be a lot.

          • Joe Thomas

            Thats true.

    • peteike

      I also expect Logan to make big strides and improve, get a bit more better depth there in the middle as well.

  • Dominik

    If last year any indication, we’ll see 26 roster spots for the Defense.

    I think it’ll be 7 DE (Curry, Allen and Kruger), 5 OLB (Braman as #4, maybe Long #5?), 4 MLB (Phillips and Goode), 5 CBs, 5 Safeties (Allen making it over Johnson).

    Could be 4 OLB (without Long) and 5 MLB, but out of that MLB group, nobody besides Goode seems to be a must-keep. Phillips could be, if he’s healthy and is the ST monster they anticipated him to be last season. The coaches never liked Acho and Knott hurt himself with the suspension. The coaches seemed to like him, altough I do not know why.

    I hope Graham gets dealt. Not that he’s a bad player, but he isn’t a scheme fit. I don’t want our back-up OLB to be a one year rental. Deal him if it’s possible, even for a 7th.

    The D should provide some ST aces. Braman was signed for this, Maragos was only signed for this. Phillips was signed last year to be a ST ace.

    • DEaglesWay

      Pretty much what I expect, except I think they’ll keep Graham for now as #4. Braman is pretty much a ST player like Maragos.

      • Dominik

        That would mean to cut Long. Nobody I would cry a river over.

        LB is the one group we don’t have depth. We have 5 solid players for 4 starting positions. After that, it’s two ST aces with Phillips and Braman, and Goode, who played pretty good when Kendricks was injured. But even if we take all those players on the roster, we’d still have 1 roster spot open. Besides O-Line, (M)LB should be the early focus of next years FA/Draft. Secondary should be set and D-Line is set with at least 4 or 5 (Curry) roster spots.

        I don’t even want to bring his name into the conversation, but since he had 12 ST tackles, maybe it’s even possible Matthews will get a spot. I just hope that’s not the case. Would be awful.

        • DEaglesWay

          I agree on the secondary being set for now, but already looking for next years FA/Draft seems a little early… What if everything don’t pan out as we think it will? What if Jenkins isn’t the player we think and by mid-season we have Allen/Wolf starting together again this year? A lot can happen between now and then and while on paper our player seem set, we haven’t seen them play yet, so i’ll wait for the season before saying we’re set.

          • Dominik

            You’re right, of course. But if would be a huge surprise if Carroll, Jenkins (signed this year), Wolff, Reynolds and Watkins (drafted last year/this year) wouldn’t be on the roster next year.

            Of course, we don’t know what will be the future for Fletch and Williams, our two starters, but O-Line (age) and MLB (Ryans age + salary, depth) are obvious needs at the moment. You have to invest resources next year at those two positions, since we have no draft picks who SHOULD develop into these roles.

        • shady25

          I want to see what Long does this summer. Would like to know how he is progressing. He should know the playbook after spending a year with the team. Need to see more of him on the field.

    • JofreyRice

      nice breakout. Yeah, there is no way Graham has a role going forward. Bigger bust than Mike Mamula? Numbers-wise, yes, but obviously injury and scheme fit play a role, as well. Still stings, though.

      I like Knott. He’s got the suspension, but I think he can play. Good LILB for this type of defense. I can’t say I know too much about Jason Phillips. Must be somewhat athletic if he’s a ST contributor–I wonder if two athletic ILBs is what they’re looking for? sort of like what Pittsburgh appears to be doing with Timmons & Shazier.

      • shady25

        Yeah I like Jake Knott as well. I think the Eagles like him or they wouldn’t have kept him around last year. I think he is Demeco’s backup and Goode is the backup for Kendricks. I think our backup ILB’s will be a lot better in year 2.

      • Tommy McCabe Jr

        Graham has nothing to do with scheme fit. Its more like opportunity. He was a LB in high school. Top ranked ILB might I add, If ya look it up you’ll find that after losing eligibility his senior season for winter and spring sports after playing in a HS all star game, he gained weight due to depression. When he got to UM, instead of playing him where he was recruited for they put him on the DL cuz they were thin there. I GUARANTEE if given the chance he could take over for Ryans by next year. His measurable are eerily similar to a fan fave at MLB, Jeremiah Trotter.

        • JofreyRice

          Didn’t he gain weight when he was rehabbing the ACL, too? Got addicted to Jim’s Steaks IIRC. Depressed guy?

          I don’t think he’s got the natural coordination or change of direction skill to play ILB in a 3-4, anymore. Maybe if he had been drafted to play OLB like say Lamarr Woodley, he might have adapted, pre-injury. I think the conventional wisdom is that it’s much, much easier to “come forward” in the defense–transitioning from a position with more coverage responsibilities to one with more passrush, than it is to move “back”. I’d be really surprised if he ever plays a down of ILB for any team in the NFL, anywhere.

    • cliff henny

      yeah, were pretty close here. think Long makes it, for no other reason than Howie has mentioned him couple times. i couldnt pick the guy out of a crowd. i’m going pretty much chalk with you and sheil, 7DL, 5OLB, 4ILB, 5CBS and 5 SAF. but will go off course w/ SAF, i’m taking Keelan Johnson as 5th and shipping Allen out. once he gets beat out by Wolff, think Eagles will look at 2+m in free’d money and send him packing. not like teams were beating down his doors, if it gets bad with injuries, him chung or maybe wadkins can step in. think Eagles like Johnson little more than fans are lead to believe. he got paid really well last year to hang around team.

    • Eagles1018

      but out of that MLB group, nobody besides Goode seems to be a must-keep

      Which is exactly why during the draft I was ranting about getting a ILB, preferably Jordan Tripp. And people kept telling me to relax…..whatever

      • Andy124

        Hey, we all wanted ILB. Doesn’t mean relaxing isn’t still the best option. Can’t fill every hole in 1 year (or 2).

        • Richard Colton

          yes we did. I’m still curious as to what made teams hate Christian Jones so much. Football intelligence? By that measure, Trotter (one of my all-time LBs) would never have been an Eagle.

          • Andy124

            He insisted he would only play safety.

          • Richard Colton

            haha. right? and somehow his teammate – Telvin Smith, who actually did that, got drafted.

            I’m not Earl Thomas or Kiko Alonzo over him, more like HoneyBadger or Vontaze. Think he’ll be a quality player, despite limitations. Meanwhile, we’re so paper-thin at ILB, we’ll be scouring the college ranks to see who (if anyone) the Eagles can reach for in the 2015 first round.

          • Andy124

            As OLB was this year, ILB could be next. I agree. I think they’d be a lot more comfortable looking for an ILB in round 2 or 3 than an OLB though.

      • Dominik

        Would you argue that any of the draft picks we invested plays at a position where we didn’t need help?

        We needed OLB, 2 WR, CB, DE, S and NT.

        We could maybe talk about Safety, but nobody thinks Allen is a long term solution. If we wouldn’t have drafted Reynolds and instead picked an ILB, we’d be talking about the need for Safety depth now. Keelan Johnson hasn’t proved anything more than Knott, Acho etc.

        Maybe, if Phillips is healthy and can play, we’re not even that bad at ILB in terms of depth. But there’s a question mark, no doubt.

        In terms of depth, we need one more draft. And I think that was always the plan. We (mostly) have solid, at some positions really good starters. We drafted for depth this year and we got good depth (as far as we can tell right now). But the road to the top isn’t done yet. Without major injuries and with the luck you need we could make a run this year, sure, but Kelly will totally have HIS roster at this time next year.

        • Eagles1018

          I agree with you. I hope by next year he does have his roster in place.

      • Fly High

        We needed 9 guys and had 7 draft picks, there were going to be 2 holes, ILB and OL were the two that didn’t get taken, if those two were taken, we would 2 other holes. I am sure that either they have faith in one of the current back-up ILB’s (doubtful) or they are on the prowl for someone, and will go for someone when teams have to cut down.
        This management will not just take someone to fill a whole, they will wait for someone they think is actually good.

  • JofreyRice

    all jokes aside, the special teams better be damn good, if they are keeping this many guys based on their contributions to that unit. I think we’re assigning at least 3 roster spots primarily because of special teams contributions: 1 OLB (Braman), 1 ILB (Phillips), 1 S (Maragros).

    • cliff henny

      4…James Casey

      • Dominik

        I think Caseys role is to block, block, block and after that block some more. Totally overpaid for that, but that’s how it is.

        • Ian Farley

          this is just like my varsity basketball coach telling a kid “i don’t care if you score one basket ALL season, you are going to rebound and set screens, that is all i care about”

          • DEaglesWay

            Yeah, but he wasn’t paid 4M to do it…

          • reb

            Dennis Rodman was.

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    • Ian Farley

      to be fair it was a weak spot of the team last year. i would think we would have one of the better units in the league. especially punt team both defending and returning.

      kick coverage will ultimately come down to whether Henery can kick it in the endzone.

      • Dominik

        ST was THE major disappointment last season, since Kelly praised the importance of this unit so often.

        But then again, if you have one scrub of a kicker, it doesn’t help.

        Donnie Jones was great, Boykin was one hell of a gunner, but that’s it. We got two new aces with Braman and Maragos, Phillips was signed to be a ace. Hopefully that helps.

        Still don’t get why we don’t even give Henry some real competition. Of course the coverage has to get better, but it helps the whole unit tremendously if you could have a touchback from time to time.

        • peteike

          exactly, esp when all their opponents just line up at the 20 every time, our guys are defending a guy receiving it at the 10.

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            The poor ST play really demonstrated how badly managed this roster was by the prior regime. Although a kicker who puts it out of the endzone would have his some warts

      • JofreyRice

        Right, but it’s not like this is the first year they’ve had ST aces. Colt whatsisname was supposed to be one. Casey Matthews versatility and ST ability was supposedly what won him a roster spot.

        I think we’ve seen this same thought process before. I hope there are different results than last time–when one of the starting CBs had to horse-collar a guy in the playoffs to prevent a TD.

        • cliff henny

          dontcha know….this year it’ll be different!

        • Ian Farley

          i wouldnt call them aces. i mean nolan carroll is a starting caliber corner, who will be primarily a ST guy. anderson couldnt crack the lineup and was stuck at ST. theres a big difference. just think about the athleticism we now have on ST…. including the rookies Smith, Watkins, Huff…. thats a big boost.

    • Will

      I really think the Eagles should re think the place kicker scenario FG’s are points that win or lose games…this was always a weakness of CK team’s…can’t understand why you wouldn’t want the best most accurate kicker who puts the football in the end zone with every kick and makes 55 yard FG’s no problem… This just seems like a no brainer to me…

      • Richard Colton

        have you turned on Murderleg already?

        everything you said is true, but come on…Murderleg

        • Will

          Hoping Murderleg is an upgrade but the video of him has him kicking off to the 9 yard line? We have that in Henry now? So I question the choice of competition for Henry, that’s all…

          • Dominik

            “So I question the choice of competition for Henry, that’s all…”

            And rightfully so. Just because a player has a cool nickname doesn’t mean he should be a player for us.

          • OldDocRoss

            Yes, but if it’s a choice between “Lame Kicker” and “Lame Kicker With Awesome Nickname Who Leads With His Helmet” that shouldn’t be a choice at all.

            Or put another way, MURDERLEG.

          • Dominik

            If we have the choice between the two I’m with you. Thing is, we should criticze that it’s this choice.

            Don’t sign a FA? Fine. Don’t draft one? I better hope so. But then please, sign a good UDFA. Since Henry is one of the worst kickers in the league, the good UDFA kickers surely would have loved to come to Philly, just like the good UDFA loved to sign with the Jags – there’s a good chance you make the team.

            I don’t know much about kickers. But I know that murderleg, who hasn’t a murderleg, wasn’t the best UDFA kicker out there.

          • Tommy McCabe Jr

            Who knows who the best UDFA kicker out there is? They haven’t kicked in the NFL yet. Nobody thought much of Akers by the time he got to Philly. Cut three times and a stint in Europe turned into 6 Pro Bowls and multiple NFL records. Hell everyone wants the PERFECT kicker yet the CAREER leader in kicking was FAR from it (Vanderjagt 86.5%) Spears Sr season is pretty comparable to Henery’s NFL career til ya get to distance. More efficient from 50+ and obviously better kicking off seeing as Henery didn’t kickoff at Nebraska cuz he was power deficient and Spear had a 60+% touchback rate.

          • Dominik

            “Spears Sr season is pretty comparable to Henery’s NFL career”

            Yeah… and the conclusion to that is… I don’t know, sign him? Because it worked so well with Henry last year?

          • Tommy McCabe Jr

            Last year? Henery’s been here since 2011. The biggest difference in risk is that Henery was a wasted 4th round draft pick that, Spear is a guy you sign for peanuts and if he doesn’t work out, hey ya tried. Hes got a better leg and looks like he hits like a truck. Its a different dimension of toughness the ST needs. Gotta try something, cant get much worse right?

          • All In Eagles

            It could get worse, yes, this guys percentages are lower than Henery’s.

          • Dominik

            “The biggest difference in risk is that Henery was a wasted 4th round draft pick that, Spear is a guy you sign for peanuts and if he doesn’t work out, hey ya tried.”

            The risk is that we still have noodle leg Henry as our Kicker next season. And that’s a big freaking risk.

            Worst thing about Henry is that he even regressed with years in this league. At the beginning, he was at least pretty accurate (although he still missed 2 out of 30-39, if your strenght is accuracy, that’s not good, on the other hand he made 4-4 from 40-49).

            But he always didn’t have the leg. If you are a kicker without a strong leg and without accuracy, damn, I don’t know how you want to play in this league.

          • CTAZPA

          • Richard Colton

            bite your tongue

          • All In Eagles

            I’m with you, we barely had any returns ourselves and always gave our opponent a return, quite sad.

      • Bracey

        Who is this supposed kicker that has 100% touchback percentage, perfect accuracy, and makes 55 yarders with ease? If he was available I’m pretty sure EVERY coach would want that. He doesn’t exist.

        • Richard Colton

          here’s a hint: have you been to Oslo? because he has.

          • Dominik

            Oslo has the women, I give you that. But if you look at Dorenbos and his wife – he can have the women in the US, too. And Dorenbos is a LS. Even kicker is more prestigious than that.

        • Will

          I beg to differ he does exist enjoy 1:03 sec 60 yard FG with ease… not to be confused with Alex Henry…

          • Glenn

            This guy looks extremely talented. Actually played pretty well for the Lions in preseason last year. Why isn’t this guy on an NFL roster? I am with you with regards to replacing Henery with a true upgrade. Murderleg has an awesome name, and tackles like a safety, but does not truly represent an upgrade from Henery. He made only 78% of his kicks last year, and obviously didnt kickoff well enough. It is not good when the kicker has to make tackles!

      • myeaglescantwin

        when Gano resigned in Carolina, I lost a little of the off-season steam.

        & i agree, with all the emphasis on special teams, you would think that chip would address PK at least to win some battles of field position.

      • Bird of Prey

        Will I agree with you, but Murder Leg. I think the kicker at North Western was the best last year, and their stadium is a wind tunnel. I don’t know what his length is though, he didn’t have a ton of touchbacks. Again, the way our special teams tackled last year….Murder Leg.

    • CitizenCraig

      Murderleg

    • borntosuffer

      How many players are primarily special teamer’s on a given team? You obviously have 44 first and second stringers, a third qb, punter and kicker for 47 (obviously oversimplified as some guys are backups for more than one position). I have to think Chip has some sort of formula that tells him the likelihood of getting to the third stringer in a game vs. the number of plays you know a special team’s player will get on the field and that drives his decisions. It appears to me that Chip prioritizes special teams play more than Reid at the expense of more positional depth. Do the numbers actually back that?

      • Will

        If Special Teams are so important to Chip Kelly why doesn’t he have the best place kicker he can find? Considering if Alex Henry makes the FG try the Eagles win the play off game against the Saints.Here’s hoping Murderleg is an upgrade over Alex Henry…

        • Maggie

          He’s trying to have the best runback-stoppers he can find. People who tackle.

    • Token

      Its ridiculous. We have played this game before. You get guys who u think r good athletes and can maybe start in ur system one day. Your ST unit will then get better by default with good coaching. Going out and getting guys who can’t play a NFL position just to play ST is moronic. Possibly the dumbest thing to come out of these early Chip years.

      • DoctorRick

        Don’t get too excited yet. It is a long way from 90 to 53. There may be a couple special teams specialists at the end of the day but I think Chip and crew probably agree with you.

  • Will

    • EaglefaninAZ

      Oh man. I just got a chub. Lol…

    • CitizenCraig

      He did make a 49 yard FG for the Lions in a pre-season game

      • Will

        Kicking 60 yard FG’s in the video…

    • Maggie

      It’s a fascinating video, but…How many 290 pound professional NFL linemen does he have running full tilt at him? How would he do with a couple of seconds time limit? How about with 60,000 screaming drunks surrounding him? All of whom would rain death threats down on his head if he missed? And blame him FOREVER for losing a playoff game?

    • Warhound

      I wonder about clearing the linemen. Is his trajectory right?

  • Tom W

    Tired of all these special teams guys … Give me one like an Ike Reese and a returner at most. Id much rather have backups w upside like Krueger, long, Goode, acho, Carroll, army guy than st aces. W injuries need guys who can play defense not colt Andersons.

    Don’t be too quick to give hart a roster spot over Krueger and curry.

    Same goes w Travis long vs Matthews. Howie spoke very highly of him a few weeks ago.

    Expect Carroll to get reps before Watkins.

    • Richard Colton

      You think they would cut a 5th round pick before the season started or IR? I’d think they would stash him on the IR for at least a year before they did that. Would give the appearance of not knowing what they’re doing.

      • Tom W

        Didn’t say cut hart. Psquad is always possible … But I expect Krueger is higher on the depth chart at this point b of veteran deference. Krueger would have been a third/fourth rounder as well if he stayed in school and has a year to put on twenty pounds of muscle. We could keep 7 too and use vinny as your situational nickel dime rusher like Seattle does when we go four man front.

        • Richard Colton

          I hope you’re right about Kruger. I’d think they would IR Heart before practice squad – yeah, we lose him for a season, but it’s safer.

        • Uncle Wonder

          No way Hart would make it to PS, somebody would scoop him off the waiver wire w the quickness.

    • 76mustang

      Where did the article say Hart would be given a roster spot over Kruger and Curry? He has all 3 making the 53 man roster. Chip wanted Hart in the 3rd round and was thrilled to get him in the 5th – think you’re grossly underestimating what he brings to the table, especially with the number of reps he has in this defensive scheme and in Chip’s system.

      • Tom W

        Umm the article lists hart before Krueger and says hart is a lock whereas Krueger will have to earn his spot. Chip rated him a third rounder whereas most draftnilks and nfl teams had him as a fifth round prospect. I like hart just not giving him a spot over Krueger or curry at this point or more reps

        • 76mustang

          And why did most teams have a 5th round grade on him – because most teams don’t play a 2 gap 3-4 defense. Do you think the Eagles would have Graham on their board as a 1st round talent with their current scheme? Like it or not, Hart is a lock for the 53 man roster, Coach Azz will help him with the transition to the pro level. I like Kruger a lot and expect him to be part of the D Line rotation, and think that Curry will take a step forward this season.

          • Tom W

            He was a fifth rounder grade wise bc he is a fifth round talent. Tuitt is a prototypical 3-4 end w pass rush ability and he went much higher. Not all 3-4 d ends fall to the fifth but I understand what you are saying. I find it more likely that the 4 3 teams or one gap teams didn’t even have hart on their boards let alone a fifth or sixth rd grade. Mauro didn’t even get drafted and he was typically rated higher than hart during the predraft process. I like the kid but think we coulda got him a rd later and same w huff but really no big deal if they both work out. I just doubted that hart is ahead of Krueger on the depth chart and wonder who gets the last dl spot … Beau or hart … Or both make it.

          • chippasnappa

            Touche Rabbito !!!

          • DoctorRick

            And why do most teams not play a 2 gap 3-4 defense? And why do some teams choose to do so?
            Seems like a GREAT article for Sheil and Tim!

      • chippasnappa

        correctomundo !!!

  • dnabrice

    Henry needs sports science to improve his leg strength so he can kick it into the EZ more consistently. I hope he got stronger this off season.

  • dnabrice

    Allen better beat Square for the backup nose position.

    • chippasnappa

      I think his chances are pretty good. It made me wanna puke watching Square getting pushed around at the LOS. Something tells me Allen will have none of that. He’s got a lot more beef than Square and looks like he knows how to play with a nasty streak.

  • fran35

    I like Jaylen Watkins, but stealing Fletch’s spot? No way, it would be Cary Williams. Fletcher was much more consistent than Williams last year.

    • Brandon Boykin, LOL

      I’ve seen this argument many times on this board. I am apart of the Sheil camp that thinks Williams would keep his spot over Fletcher. I suspect that people dislike Williams because of the sconces rather than actual play. However, I could be wrong.

      Sheil, could you do a side by side of Fletcher and Williams in the future? Maybe a YPG given up or interceptions made or a No-22 showing if one got burnt more than the other?

      • DoctorRick

        Good points. Williams raised red flags with the sconces and missing OTAs, etc. Maybe due to being family oriented but maybe due to being a little bit of a diva. No major problems with his play except for getting beat over the top on occasion. He did settle in and was a solid player, and is an asset.
        Cornerback competition should be a little better this year.
        We made progress with all our DBs but still thin in spots. Shows what a tough league it is and how tough it is to play these D positions with authority.

      • RIP illa

        They both struggled at times and put up Similar numbers, with a slight nod going to Fletch for passes defended and with 2 more PI’s than Williams. Interceptions are the exact same, and the average of yards given up are not far apart at all. Everyone just likes to rag on C-Will and hype up Fletch to try and fit the argument against Cary. However, it’s a false argument. Also, the better the competition, the better C-Will played…for the most part. Still doesn’t let him off the hook for those games where he played bad or less than stellar.

      • All In Eagles

        I still think Fletcher was more consistent. Yes, Williams flashes much more but Fletcher was there game in game out, he may even be faster than Williams.

  • Brandon Baltic

    I think Watkins will push Cary Williams for a starting spot, not Fletcher. I’m also curious if coaching staff has Boykin start to learn the outside a little bit this year or if they just plan to keep him strictly in the slot.

  • Token

    No better way to motivate players then to have a rookie start over Brandon Boykin because he’s a inch or two bigger. If I’m Boykin I’d be counting down the days til FA if that happened.

    • Boynkedu

      I don’t think you are serious are you? Boykin is possibly our best corner on the team. This kids leaping ability is incredible and he makes plays time and time again. I would rather lose Williams and Fletcher than lose Boykin.

      • Warhound

        He doesn’t want to lose Boykin. Token just fears that it’s going to go down that way.

      • All In Eagles

        Completely agree, he’s definitely our best DB and the whole team/league knows it.

  • SunShine

    IL is thin. Can’t afford to lose Ryans to an injury. Billy D place a tremendous amount of trust in him and obviously well deserved. I think the DEF can survive for awhile in case Kendricks has to miss time.
    Looking forward to the free-for-all at the Safety position. Better competition than it was last year, really need Wolff that make that big step this year. Another year of continuity with the scheme should make communications easier across the board