Eagles Add LB Goode, Release Acho

The Eagles made another roster move this afternoon, claiming linebacker Najee Goode off waivers from the Bucs and releasing Emmanuel Acho.

Goode (6-0, 244) was a fifth-round pick by Tampa in 2012. He was active for three games as a rookie, but only played three defensive snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. He ran a 4.64 at the Combine and had a 35-inch vertical leap. You can see how those numbers stacked up to other linebackers right here.

Goode started at middle linebacker in the Bucs’ preseason finale and had a pick-six.

The West Virginia product had 87 tackles (14 for loss), five sacks and an interception as a senior. He earned All-Big East first-team honors in 2011 and played all three linebacker positions for the Mountaineers.

Here’s a snippet from NFL.com on Goode as a draft prospect:

Goode is a bit of a tweener in that he bounced from inside to outside linebacker in his career at West Virginia. NFL teams will face the same dilemma West Virginia did when deciding where to play him. He played outside for much of his career, serving as the flow tackler for a defense that featured classmate Bruce Irvin at outside linebacker. Goode had a solid year working from the inside and can clash with top offensive linemen. He has 3-4 and 4-3 base defense versatility as well, which makes him a late-round prospect.

Acho had an excellent preseason, and Chip Kelly raved about his smarts after the finale against the Jets. Also of note is that the Eagles decided to keep Casey Matthews instead of Acho. Matthews has not shown anything on the defensive side of the ball, but did have 14 special-teams tackles last year, second on the team to only Akeem Jordan.

Overall, the Eagles have five inside linebackers on the roster: Goode, Matthews, undrafted free agent Jake Knott, along with starters DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.

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Eagles Add CB Prater, Waive Curtis Marsh

The Eagles today claimed cornerback Shaun Prater off waivers from the Bengals and waived/injured Curtis Marsh.

Prater (5-10, 190) was a fifth-round pick out of Iowa in 2012, but was sidelined during his rookie season because of a knee injury (patella tendinitis, per the Bengals’ Web site). He was a three-year starter and two-time All-Big Ten first-team selection with the Hawkeyes. Prater had seven career interceptions and forced four fumbles as a senior.

According to Bengals.com, Prater was a linebacker/safety in high school. But the coaches at Iowa moved him to cornerback.

“I had no idea how to play corner,” he said. “I’m a football junkie. I watched Deion Sanders for his man coverage, Darrelle Revis for his press coverage. Off technique from Champ Bailey.”

He may be a “football junkie” but Prater has other interests as well.

“I’d love to go work for the FBI,” Prater said. “Both of us [him and his brother] want to do something dangerous, exciting. A secret agent. The Navy. Or SWAT. We’re people that love to take risks. It makes us feel alive instead of working 9 to 5 at a desk.”

Per Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals would have liked to keep Prater on their practice squad, but he was the team’s seventh-best corner.

As for Marsh, the 2011 third-round pick injured his hand during the preseason. The Eagles’ top three picks from that draft – Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett and Marsh – are not currently on the 53-man roster. Marsh had a chance to earn playing time last year with the struggles in the secondary, but he couldn’t get on the field. He had good speed and size measurables coming out of Utah State, but never put it together here.

The Eagles still have six cornerbacks on the roster: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Prater, Brandon Hughes and rookie Jordan Poyer.

Williams and Fletcher figure to start, with Boykin as the nickel.

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The Round-Up: Former Eagles Find New Homes

Several players who were recently released by the Eagles already found new homes.

For starters, rookie wide receiver Russell Shepard is off to Tampa Bay.

The Eagles opted to part ways with the LSU product and held onto former Oregon standout Jeff Maehl.

Clay Harbor was let go in favor of Emil Igwenagu. The tight end now works for Gus Bradley.

Harbor isn’t the only one. Outside linebacker Chris McCoy has also been picked up by the Jaguars.

The Eagles only have three outside linebackers on the roster: Brandon Graham, Trent Cole and Connor Barwin. 

Another outside linebacker who was let go, Adrian Robinson, has been claimed off waivers by the Broncos, per Adam Caplan.

According to multiple outlets, the Eagles have been in contact with 24-year-old cornerback Roc Carmichael, who was recently waived by the Texans. The 5-10, 197-pound Virginia Tech product appeared in six games for Houston last season.

Roseman Reflects On What Went Wrong With Watkins

Danny WatkinsHowie Roseman had a few different options in attempting to answer a question he clearly knew was coming.

Hours after the Eagles decided to release 2011 first-round pick Danny Watkins, Roseman sat at the head of a conference room table at the NovaCare Complex and was asked to set the record straight on what his role was in selecting the offensive lineman.

“As you’ve seen here, a lot of the leadership positions and the responsibilities have changed in our organization,” Roseman said. “So when you have changes that are so drastic in an organization, there’s also going to be drastic changes on the field and the way you do things. We’ve obviously changed a lot of people in our personnel department. We’ve changed the way that we look at things because we have new people in place. I think that’s gonna be different just because the nature of personalities and people trying to do their own things and whether that’s me and our personnel staff or Chip [Kelly] and his coaching staff or Don [Smolenski] as the president of the team, it’s gonna be different.”

The message was clear: No trip down memory lane, but we’re not going to make the same mistakes again.

As Tim pointed out last week, Andy Reid gave Roseman credit for the Watkins pick shortly after the draft.

“Howie had this guy, right from the get-go, at the top,” Reid said at the time. “This was a guy that he really wanted and liked.”

But when owner Jeffrey Lurie addressed reporters earlier this year, he absolved Roseman of blame for the 2011 draft.

“I keep voluminous notes on talent evaluation on not just who we draft, but who is valued in each draft by each person that is in the organization that’s working here,” Lurie said in January. “I came to the conclusion that the person that was providing by far the best talent evaluation in the building was Howie Roseman. I decided to streamline the whole decision-making process for the 2012 draft and offseason and that’s the first draft and offseason I hold Howie completely accountable for. The mistakes that were made in the 2011 draft have little or nothing to do with Howie’s evaluations and I think it was important for me to own up to the mistakes that were made and understand where they were coming from, and it was awfully clear.”

Lurie had the scorecard. He sent Reid and Joe Banner packing. And he decided to keep Roseman as he ushered in a new era with Kelly.

As for Watkins, we pointed out earlier that many scouts, analysts and personnel people thought he was a good prospect coming out of school. The issue for the Eagles was more about deciding to take a 26-year-old guard in the first round than mis-evaluating a prospect.

Asked what he remembers about his personal evaluation of Watkins, Roseman said: “When you watched Danny play, the toughness, the hockey-playing aspect of him never translated to Philadelphia. And that’s one of the things I told him today, was that when you watched him at Baylor and when you watched him at the Senior Bowl and when you met him, he had this innate toughness about him. You felt like you were getting an enforcer. And he never let himself go here on that. And I don’t know why that was. I told him that was part of the thing that I was the most confused by because that was something that everyone at Baylor told you about and you saw in his play on the field. And I think it all goes back to the pressure he put on himself here.

“Part of his personality, and you talk about him being a firefighter, is that he feels like he has to help save people, and he put a lot of pressure on himself and he couldn’t just go out and play. I think getting away from Danny Watkins the first-round pick and just being Danny Watkins will really help him.”

As for the need to take age into account during the draft, Roseman made it sound like the Eagles learned multiple lessons from the Watkins pick and looking back, probably should have seen some of the warning signs.

“There have been some guys in the last couple of drafts who have been over-age, and we’ve spent a lot of time just looking at that,” he said. “And I think I’d answer it this way: When you’re successful in anything, especially in football, a lot of times coaches are selfish, they want to win games. So they’re going to put you out there really early. You’re gonna play at a really young age. And you’re gonna play a lot at a young age. So when you look around the NFL at the successful players, there’s not a lot of guys that are one-year starters and are seniors or playing at a later age. And it makes sense because if you’re really that talented, people find you.”

The Eagles’ expectations when they selected Watkins were for him to step in and play right away at a high level. But that didn’t happen. He did not play well in 12 starts as a rookie. Going into his second season, he didn’t take well to the coaching of Howard Mudd and struggled again through six starts. He suffered through what Reid called a “chronic” ankle injury and then was benched for journeyman Jake Scott.

Now, Watkins, who turns 29 in November, is left to figure out what’s next for him. The Eagles, meanwhile, will move forward with hopes of not repeating similar mistakes in the future.

“You’re disappointed,” Roseman said. “You’re disappointed when any of your players don’t work out obviously. And when they’re first-round picks, it’s more of a disappointment. I think if there’s a positive to it, in the last couple of years, we were able to really evaluate ourselves and make some substantial changes in how we do things. Going forward, I think that’s really gonna benefit us. And I think it’s benefited us already.”

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8/31: Eagles Cut Tracker

If you’re looking for information on Friday’s cuts, click here.

We’ll have updates on all of the action today right here, so keep checking back and refreshing this page.

Update: The Eagles’ roster is down to 53.

Chris McCoy, OLB – The outside linebacker played well in the preseason finale against the Jets, but that wasn’t enough to earn him a roster spot. His release is somewhat surprising because the team now only has three outside linebackers on the roster in Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham.

Travis Long, OLB – He was another outside linebacker who had a shot. The Eagles added him to the roster this summer, but he didn’t stick either.

Greg Salas, WR – His release was a surprise. The Eagles decided to go with Jeff Maehl instead of him for the fifth and final wide receiver spot. I had both Salas and Shepard making the roster, but in the end, both were released.

Matthew Tucker, RB – His only shot was as the Eagles’ fourth running back, but the team decided it only needs three for now: LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. Tucker was an undrafted free agent out of TCU and failed his conditioning test initially in the spring. He could be a practice squad option.

Danny Watkins, OG – The former first-round pick is being released, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Watkins started 18 games in two seasons with the Eagles and never performed consistently at a high level. Chip Kelly did not provide much of an endorsement when asked about Watkins Thursday night. And he got passed over on the depth chart by veteran Allen Barbre. We’ll have more on Watkins in a separate post.

Clay Harbor, TE – Kelly gave him a shot to show he could play tight end and wide receiver. But apparently, in the end, there wasn’t a place for Harbor.

A fourth-round pick in 2010, Harbor had 47 catches for 421 yards in three NFL seasons with the Eagles.

Russell Shepard, WR – He was definitely on the bubble, and apparently Shepard didn’t show the Eagles enough this summer to warrant a roster spot.

An undrafted free agent with upside and special-teams chops, Shepard has a chance to make the practice squad.

Michael Bamiro, OT – The Eagles have cut the developmental right tackle, according to the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane. Bamiro (6-8, 340) joined the team in mid-July. He has an intriguing physical skill set, but didn’t look ready to contribute this year. Bamiro could end up on the Eagles’ practice squad.

His release was good news for undrafted free agent Matt Tobin, who ended up making the squad.

David Sims, S – The team has let the veteran safety go, according to Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly.com. Sims joined the squad before the opener last offseason and saw action on defense/special teams. He went from working as a trash collector to earning a spot in the NFL. Now Sims will try to continue his career with another team.

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Open Thread: Eagles Begin To Make Cuts

The Eagles need to trim their roster down to 53 by 6 p.m. Saturday. The cuts are starting to come in. Sheil and I will be updating this post throughout the day, so continue to check back in for the latest.

** Note: Be sure to hit refresh to make sure you’re getting the most updated version.

(1:10 p.m.) The Eagles announced that they have released the following players:

QB Dennis Dixon – The veteran quarterback could still land on the Eagles’ practice squad.

QB GJ Kinne – He was signed to give the Eagles another quarterback during practice in the spring and summer. Kinne even jumped out on special teams at times.

WR Ifeanyi Momah – Fans were intrigued by the 6-7 wide receiver with good straight-line speed. But he never stood out at camp. Momah is raw, has not shown good hands and struggled to use his size to make plays on the ball.

WR Will Murphy – The rookie out of Oregon signed with the team after attending the rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis. He was not expected to make the team.

OL Dallas Reynolds – The practice squad regular was called on to start at center last season after a rash of injuries hit the offensive line. Julian Vandervelde appeared to jump in front of him this summer as the primary backup to Jason Kelce.

OL Matt Tennant – He signed with the Eagles at the midway point of last season. He was active for eight games but did not start.

OL Matt Kopa – He was added during last season and saw time at tackle and guard in the summer. But the Eagles added a couple guys – Michael Bamiro and Matt Tobin – whom they liked better.

DT Antonio Dixon – He was trying to make the cut as a backup nose tackle, but got passed over by younger options. Not much of a pass-rusher, but has shown run-stuffing ability in the past.

DL David King – It looks like undrafted free agent Damion Square likely beat out King, a seventh-round pick out of Oklahoma.

OLB Adrian Robinson – The Eagles recently acquired Robinson from the Steelers for Felix Jones. The Temple product had very little time to showcase himself.

OLB Everette Brown – The former second-round pick was signed in the offseason to add competition at outside linebacker. Had a few good moments in the preseason, but nothing to stand out.

CB Trevard Lindley (injury settlement) – The 2010 fourth-round pick did a good job to stick around this long. The Eagles are thin at corner, but he suffered an injury during Thursday night’s game.

The team also placed Joe Kruger on IR with a shoulder injury, which he allegedly suffered last night. The seventh-round pick is considered more of a long-term project.

The roster currently stands at 62.

Kelly On Watkins: ‘It’s Going To Be A Battle’

The preseason is a wrap, all of the evidence is in and now the coaches must decide who to keep and who to let go. The roster must be down to 53 players by 6 p.m. Saturday. Will Danny Watkins make the cut?

By the sounds of it, there are no guarantees that he is on this team at the end of the weekend.

“Danny is competing like the rest of those guys up front. There is always some really good out of Danny, but there is also some mistakes out of Danny,” said Chip Kelly when asked how the lineman has progressed this summer. “It’s going to be a battle. When you feel good about your five but then where are we going to be and how many are we going to carry I think is what it’s going to come down to.”

With the projected starters getting the night off, Watkins got the nod at right guard Thursday against the Jets. Kelly did not sound pleased with the unit’s performance overall, saying that the Eagles  were ”very shoddy in protection early.” Nick Foles ended up on his back quite a bit.

“I don’t think we protected him very well. A lot of times it was a four-man rush, it was in his face and he didn’t have a chance to set his feet,” said Kelly. “We had some protection issues with the second o-line.”

There is probably plenty of blame to go around across that front.

The coaches will evaluate the tape and then make their final decisions. As Kelly mentioned, it becomes a numbers game. Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans and Lane Johnson are your starters. Allen Barbre appears to be a primary backup both at guard and tackle. Dennis Kelly, assuming he can come back sooner than later from a back injury, would likely occupy another spot. Then there is a grouping of linemen that includes Watkins, Julian Vandervelde, Matt Tennant, Matt Tobin, Michael Bamiro, Dallas Reynolds and Matt Kopa that the Eagles must choose from. How many do they keep? And who?

Kelly has made clear that he values versatile players. Where several of these backup linemen have played at multiple spots this preseason, Watkins has worked exclusively at guard. You wonder if that hurts his chances.

There is a financial number to consider: Watkins’ $1.1 million base salary for the season is guaranteed. Would that be enough to influence the team’s decision?

The answers will present themselves shortly.

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Eagles Work Out LB Hall, CB Steeples

The Eagles worked out a pair of players – inside linebacker Bryan Hall and cornerback Robert Steeples – yesterday, according to Adam Caplan.

Hall (6-0, 255) signed with the Ravens in the summer of 2011. He spent his entire rookie season on the practice squad before getting bumped to the active roster for five games last year. Hall, 24, played a total of 73 snaps along the defensive line in 2012, according to Pro Football Focus. He played his college ball at Arkansas State.

Originally, we had Hall listed as a defensive tackle, but as Matt Vensel of The Baltimore Sun pointed out, he lost 40 to 50 pounds when the Ravens asked him to switch positions. Aaron Wilson of The Sun got John Harbaugh’s thoughts on Hall:

“Bryan takes off 50 pounds, and he really played well,” Harbaugh said. “It was just a tough call.  Here’s a guy who’s been around for a while. It’s going to be a little tough right here with the numbers, but we feel like he’s got a chance to make it somewhere. So, if we do it this week, as opposed to next week, maybe we give him an opportunity more so to do that.

“Love him being on the team, love his attitude every day, his work ethic, the kind of person he is. He’s another guy I think could play football for a while, but no matter what he does, he’s going to be really successful.”

The Eagles certainly need linebacker depth. They’ve got DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks as the starters. Undrafted free agent Jake Knott has an excellent shot to make the team. Casey Matthews and Emmanuel Acho are fighting for roster spots.

Steeples (6-1, 194), meanwhile, started his college career at Missouri and finished with one season at Memphis. He signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent, but was let go earlier this week.

“He worked very hard,” said Jeff Fisher, according to KMOX-Radio in St. Louis. “He’s got some athletic ability and such, and he’s really a pleasant young man to be around. It just didn’t work out.”

Cornerback is a big need position for the Eagles right now. Curtis Marsh and Brandon Hughes are out with injuries. The Eagles’ only options behind Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin are Trevard Lindley and seventh-round pick Jordan Poyer.

Howie Roseman and his staff will be busy in the coming days. Teams around the NFL have to cut their rosters down to 53 by 6 p.m. Saturday. The Eagles could look to add players for depth at a number of spots.

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Hunt Waived/Injured; Roster Down To 75

The Eagles waived/injured outside linebacker Phillip Hunt Tuesday to get their roster down to 75 prior to the 4 p.m. deadline.

If Hunt goes unclaimed by 4 p.m. Wednesday, he will revert back to the Eagles injured reserve list.

The 27-year-old suffered a partially-torn ACL against the Patriots in the preseason opener. He was the fourth Eagles player to suffer a torn ACL this preseason, joining Jeremy Maclin, Arrelious Benn and fellow linebacker Jason Phillips.

The roster must be trimmed to 53 players by August 31.

The team waived/injured cornerback Eddie Whitley on Sunday. They will find out this afternoon if he has been claimed or will revert back to IR.

 

Dennis Kelly Still Has A Ways To Go Before Return

The last time we spoke with Dennis Kelly, he said that he hoped to be back on the practice field around the start of the regular season and was “very confident” that he would avoid being placed on injured reserve.

On Tuesday he said he was “pretty confident” that the IR is not in his future. And it looks like his return date is still a ways off.

Kelly, who had back surgery to repair an L2 disc earlier this month, said he will be re-checked by doctors on September 16. He could be cleared to return to football-related activities then.

Currently the 6-8, 321-pound tackle is able to do some cardio and a little bit of agility work. The big thing will be regaining strength and getting back into football shape. Even if there are no setbacks, that could take some time.

Chip Kelly was asked about the injury factor when it comes to piecing the 53-man roster together.

“Big,” he said. “When can they come back?  There will be a consultation with our doctors.  When can we expect them?  Is it back Week Three, is it back Week Eight?  All of that has to go into the final decisions of who is playing 53.”

Beyond Kelly, the backup tackles currently vying for roster spots include Allen Barbre, rookie Michael Bamiro, Matt Kopa and Matt Tobin. Certainly they wouldn’t mind having Kelly in the mix. It’s just a matter of when they think he can get back and contribute in a meaningful way.

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