‘Papa Bair’ Making His Case For Roster Spot


It was easy last year for Brandon Bair to go unnoticed.

He signed on to the Eagles’ practice squad in September, reuniting with his college coaches Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro. Bair was one of the players capable of going about his business in the locker room without being bothered.

Even last night after the team's win over the Steelers, a couple reporters spotted him packing up his stuff and asked each other: "That's Brandon Bair, right?"

But there's a sense that things are about to change for the 29-year-old, given how well he has played this preseason. Against Pittsburgh, he was credited with a pair of batted passes and continued to be active against the run. Kelly consistently preaches that the Eagles' defensive linemen are not just responsible for eating up blocks. He expects them to shed blocks and get to the ball-carrier. That's something Bair has done consistently all preseason long.

"Got a chance," said Bair, when asked why things are clicking now. "I just do my thing. This is a defense that I’m really familiar with. I’m a two-gapper. That’s a thing I love to do. I got an opportunity to go out and play, and that’s all I needed."

Bair went on a two-year Mormon mission prior to attending Oregon. He signed with the Chiefs in 2011 and made their opening day roster. In 2012, he joined the Raiders' practice squad.

Now, he is in line to be one of the more unlikely members of the Eagles' 53-man roster.

"It was good to get back to that familiar defense, same coaching staff, same coach I had as a D-Line coach in college," he said. "I knew what he expected of me. I knew what I needed to do. So from that point on, I knew it was gonna be a great opportunity for me, and whatever was gonna work out was gonna work out."

Of course, there is the age issue. The Eagles have six defensive linemen - Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Cedric Thornton, Beau Allen, Taylor Hart and Vinny Curry - who are 26 or younger. All six appear to be locks to make the roster.

And then there's Bair. Because of the roundabout journey he's taken to land in Philadelphia, he's older than the rest of the group, set to turn 30 in November. But Kelly sternly shot down the notion that Bair would be left off the roster because of his age.

"I hope he doesn't age more than four or five years during the season," Kelly said. "My concern is the season. So I think if he continues to put himself in positions to play, then our focus with those guys is what's going to help us immediately. We're not building for the future. Our future is right now."

Added Allen: "We call him Papa Bair. We are a young group. He’s a little older, he’s in a different stage of his life. He’s got a great wife, three little girls, so it’s funny when we kind of joke around, talk about the young stuff or whatever, he reins us in. He’s a really, really good guy.

"He’s got really good technique. He’s doing exactly what the coaches are asking him. He’s a heady football player. He’s played in that scheme before and does a really good job pre-snap with everything."

Bair and the Eagles get another week of practice before taking on the Jets in their preseason finale.

After that, it'll be time to cut down the roster to 53. If Bair continues down his current path, chances are he'll be in uniform at the Linc Week 1 when the Eagles host Jacksonville.

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  • Anebriated

    the guy has been a very pleasant surprise. Looking forward to seeing what papa bair can do during the regular season. All he does is flash.

  • B-West

    On the pre-snap stuff, there was definitely a play last night when Bair was directing traffic from NT. I know we’ll be heavy on the d-line, but I think this guy makes it.

    Finding another unheralded guy who looks great two gapping makes me wonder about Fletcher Cox again… It doesn’t seem like we need to invest heavily in these two gap lineman. If someone were willing to pay true value for Cox, I’d move him before his value diminishes much further. Then again, much like Curry or Graham, no way somebody pays true value when they know the player isn’t a great scheme fit for us.

    • Mr. Magee

      Actually people do recognize true value when the see it. Just ask Pat Summeral.

      • http://www.damokleez.com EaglefaninAZ

        Zing! lol…

  • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

    All things being equal, I’d rather have 22 y/o Kruger than 29 y/o Bair. But Kruger has done zip in the preseason. He can go to the practice squad, Bair made the team.

    • Dan

      As chip said last year, the depth chart makes itself. All else aside, his play has warranted a spot. So totally agree with you.

    • Septhinox

      But things are not equal. Kruger hasn’t even played well enough to earn a PS spot.

      • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

        10 spots on the PS – I’d give Kruger a shot there.

    • Token

      Exactly my thought last night. I wouldnt want to cut young talent to keep a 30 yr old. But, when you think that Kruger or Square are who youd keep otherwise its a easy decision to make. Bair is way better then those two. Square had his chance all last year. Kruger just stinks.

      • Kleptolia

        Very reasonable, Token.

      • shady25

        Kruger is a year away. Maybe he can make the 53 man roster next year. But since we can have 10 on the PS now I would keep Kruger around if someone else doesn’t snatch him.

      • JofreyRice

        Right, and besides his last name, what the hell has he done to warrant any attention? I mean, he was a 7th rounder or something, right? Some people got hyped off the name and the where-he-would-have-gone-in-another-draft thing. Kinda like the D version of Mike Berkley.

        If we’re just talking about keeping a guy based on merit, I don’t think there’s even a discussion. Keep Kruger on the PS if he shows something, or if someone else doesn’t outplay him. Square just sucks/blows. Dunno why they’d ever think to put a 285 pound guy at NT in a 2 gap 3-4. Weird.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ Kelce’s Beard

          150 snaps last year for square. that’s 150 more for Curry and Bair this year. Upgrade in my eyes.

    • MagatBrackendale

      Also Bair hasn’t been playing all of those years. He’s younger than his birthdays.

      • UKEagle99 à l’orange

        I haven’t played (NFL) Football ever! How old am I?

        • Nicholas Disilvestro


          • Gener


    • SallyForth

      Ummm … that IS the point – they’re not “equal.” Bair is the better player.
      … and apparently much liked and respected by his teammates. Hope he makes it.

  • Eagles1018…Please no more du

    “We’re not building for the future. Our future is right now.”

    Telling quote from Coach Kelly. Got me excited

    • Mr. Magee

      Not exactly true, but great quote and great message to send.

      • http://www.damokleez.com EaglefaninAZ

        Not sure, but didn’t we win the division last year? “Not exactly true” sounds like “a little pregnant”.

      • Breathe 21

        The more I look at this draft, the more I realize he drafted all of these people to contribute now. All scheme fits, special team productivity, and Oregon products that are familiar with the system. That’s why Maehl and Matthews make the roster over developmental players who cannot contribute in the current year.

        • anon

          our first round pick would beg to differ

          • Breathe 21

            They expect him to see the field as the jack this season. They expect him to give them depth this year. He is expected to contribute this season and in the future. If that wasn’t true, they would develop his pass rushing ability, since he’s wouldn’t see the field anyway.

  • Guest

    Matt Barkley remembers Brandon Bair…if we keep BB I hope we see lots more of this, not on Barkley of course.

    • Explorer51

      This was my post…don’t know how it logged in as “guest”! Though I’m sure if any of us searched even a little bit, we’d find a bunch of Pac 10 pics featuring current Eagles.

      • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

        quit taking credit for someone else’s work

        • Explorer51

          Thanks for the confidence! I noticed that I even got an up vote from GEAGLE…is he back?

          • UKEagle99 à l’orange

            Down vote for thinking he left!

    • Nicodemus_09

      Matt Barkley remembers when he was a QB lol

  • JofreyRice

    This guy can play DL. Keep him!

  • John E. Zang

    Mormon? I bet Andy Reid is dying to get this guy. If he played for BYU he just might throw in Dwayne Bowe.

    • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

      can you imagine this guy and Shawn Bradley knocking on your door?

      • John E. Zang

        With Andy waiting outside in a black sedan donning a black tie and huge white oxford shirt with the neck buttoned making his face blood red.

        • Eaglehaslanded

          LMAO !!!

        • http://www.damokleez.com EaglefaninAZ

          I about spit up… yer killing me!

        • MagatBrackendale

          No no no. The door-to-door people are required to walk. Of course that would have the same effect on AR’s face! ;~D

        • Amar, CB who bought in

          Complete bouncer (howbout a Cricket reference) to me.

  • John E. Zang

    Call me crazy but I actually think GJ Kinne is a better prospect than Barkley. Barkley is spoiled, doesn’t have that edge and makes some weak throws. Maybe he’d be better getting reps with the ones but he’s so wildly inconsistent. GJ does a lot more with way less.

    • TheCatalyst

      And GJ is more athletic as well. I’ve been rooting for the guy since I saw him hold his own while practicing with the punt return squad. I appreciate the hustle and versatility.

      • Jason

        He looked real athletic on that first zone read play. The 25 yard line made one hell of a tackle. But, otherwise I agree.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Maybe the grounds crew chalked that line a bit too heavily and created a trip hazard…lol.

  • Breathe 21

    I’ve been very impressed by this guy. Idc what his age is. An nfl life span isn’t that long anyway. He’s a back up and a damn good one. Who is to say Kruger would last longer in the nfl than Bair? Bair is very helpful in the transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 two gapping system we have.

    • JosephR2225

      And “Papa Bair” is a great nickname.

  • furiousxgeorge

    There was a great interview with him on the Eagles official podcast yesterday. You guys should check it out if you want to know more about him.

    One funny thing is that he doesn’t go online and thinks TV is a waste of time so the way he found out Barner was an Eagle was to see him at breakfast and have a, “Hey, what are you doing here?” moment.

  • Cranky Caucasian

    I love how Kelly deals with the media. “I hope he doesn’t age more than four or five years during the season,” Kelly said. I hope he coaches here for the next 25 years.

    • UncleCarm

      I hope its 1,000 years, Foles is going to need him.

      • NickS, Combine Warrior

        999 now

  • Johnny Domino

    Did Beau say reigns or reins?

    ETA: corrected after my post, not wanting to go all pedantic on you.

    • eaglesfan, 20-win failure

      good to see i’m not the only angry grammarian.

    • MagatBrackendale

      Reins was used correctly wasn’t it?

      • Johnny Domino

        Beau knows homophones.

        • A Roy

          Not that there’s anything wrong with using them…

  • Andy
    • https://twitter.com/richcolton RichC, brings duck to cockfigh

      he’s whispering “stay the hell away from my daughters” in his ear.

      • MagatBrackendale


  • Adam

    Off topic but does this just not making you all warm and fuzzy inside?


    • ION Eagles

      I will never get tired of watching that Kelce block on this play. A fine piece of work!

    • All Things Bad@ss

      Those defenders look like bowling pins flying after Herremans and Kelce throw their blocks. Nasty!

  • ION Eagles

    10% of our roster are Oregon alums. What are the chances that on Sept 7 we have almost 20% of our dressed players from one school?

    • Jeff Asay

      Slim to none. Believe half the Oregon guys are gone by Opening Day. Chip needs bodies in camp and wants to give his guys an opportunity to further their NFL careers, but in the end the best players will be retained.

  • DetmerWonAHeisman

    Would be the best underdog with a nickname to make the team on the D-line since “The Truck Driver”.

  • Breathe 21

    I can’t lie… Damarius Johnson should make this team over Momah. He can contribute more on offense and special teams. He’s much more versatile than Momah and has the speed and quickness o be effective. Momah could be ready next year, but not now. He’s on the verge of being an effective nfl player, but he clearly isn’t there yet.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      I just want the best player.

      • Jeff Asay

        I don’t even like DJ but if it’s between him and Lerch then it has to be the little guy.

    • Jeff Asay

      Momah has shown nothing that would make one think he belongs on an NFL roster. Height and straight line speed cannot overcome lack of athleticism, lack of quickness, and below average hands.

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Wow. Watching Real Sports w/ Bryant Gumbel. Never knew that Dorenbos’ father killed his mother when he was 12yo. Sad stuff. He turned to magic to take his mind off his mom’s murder.

    • Anebriated

      his best magic trick was the video that landed him the scholarship to college… that or landing Mrs Dorenbos…

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Yeah I missed the details on the video. Wife was talking in the other ear distracting me with a story of her night at work last night.

        • Johnny Domino


          Can’t live with ’em, can’t cook ’em and eat ’em.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Wellllll literally you could…

            Just kidding!

          • Johnny Domino

            Don’t forget the fava beans.

        • Jeff Asay

          Magicman swapped out game tape for another high school snapper and then worked his tail off to improve his long-snapping. Best sleight of hand he ever pulled.

    • All Things Bad@ss

      Damn, that is definitely sad. My buddy’s wife was having a rendezvous with a young employee of my buddy’s company. She convinced the young guy to poison him, and when that didn’t work, he beat him over the head with a shovel til he died. Now they’re both serving life and my buddy’s 3 kids are without a father and have a mudering mother in jail for life. Story was on Dateline

      • Jerry Pomroy

        That’s just some sick $hit there.

      • Warhound KnowsHstryWarts&All


      • airgreen7

        I remember seeing that. Sad.

  • Chad

    Hope he makes the team. Cant have a whole team full of kids…need some men out there. Im cheering for him.