Three-And-Out: Eagles-Redskins Predictions

NFL: Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Player I’ll be watching

McManus: Emmanuel Acho. 

Chip Kelly says that both Acho and Casey Matthews have been splitting reps at inside linebacker in Mychal Kendricks‘ absence, but the thought here is that Acho will get the starting nod and the bulk of the playing time.

Before injuring his calf late in the third quarter against Indianapolis, Kendricks was playing at an elite level. He had a team-high 13 tackles against Jacksonville and has 20 tackles, a sack and three hurries in all. Billy Davis sent Kendricks after the quarterback 24 times in the first two games. He is the highest-rated pass-rusher among all inside linebackers in the early going, according to Pro Football Focus. Along with Fletcher Cox, Kendricks has arguably been the biggest difference-maker on defense so far.

He will not play Sunday and if we’re talking about a Grade 2 strain here, could be out 2-3 weeks. The defense will not be the same without him. There’s really no getting around that. Davis doesn’t need Acho (or Matthews) to be a standout, but can’t afford for him to be a liability. Alfred Morris is currently the league’s fourth-leading rusher and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Backup running backs Roy Helu and Silas Redd are both averaging over five yards per carry. It would be nice if Acho could get after quarterback Kirk Cousins on occasion, but the Eagles will be satisfied if he helps to keep the run game and short-to-intermediate pass game in check.

Read more »

Kendricks Will Not Play Against Redskins

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Here is the injury report for Sunday’s game against the Redskins:

OUT

LB Mychal Kendricks (calf)

DOUBTFUL

WR Josh Huff (shoulder)

QUESTIONABLE

T Matt Tobin (ankle), S Earl Wolff (knee)

PROBABLE

CB Nolan Carroll (elbow), DE Fletcher Cox (back), TE Zach Ertz (knee), G Todd Herremans (hamstring), S Malcolm Jenkins (shoulder), WR Brad Smith (groin), CB Jaylen Watkins (hamstring), CB Cary Williams (hamstring) Read more »

Kendricks Misses Practice, Is ‘Day To Day’

Kendricks

Inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks left Monday night’s game against the Colts in the second half with what he called a calf strain.

But Kendricks was not practicing during the portion of today’s session open to the media.

“He’s day to day,” said Billy Davis. “I’ve got a plan for either [way], and obviously without him practicing today, we’ll see where that is. We’ll have the other guys get the reps. Toward the end of the week, we’ll have a better feel.” Read more »

Goode To IR; Mathis To Short-Term IR

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The Eagles announced a series of moves Tuesday.

They placed  Allen Barbre (ankle) and Najee Goode (torn pectoral muscle) on Injured Reserve and placed Evan Mathis (medial collateral ligament) on Injured Reserve Designated For Return. Mathis is eligible to practice with the team in six weeks and to return to play in eight weeks.The team also signed Emmanuel Acho and Kevin Graf from the practice squad and made the signing of guard/tackle Wade Smith official.

Originally claimed off waivers in 2013, Goode was the primary backup at inside linebacker behind Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans. Acho and Casey Matthews are the backups at the moment, though there was a report that the team was taking a look at some linebackers this week.

Acho (6-2, 240) appeared in six games for Philadelphia in 2013 after being selected from the New York Giants practice squad prior to Week 8. The 23-year-old was re-signed to the practice squad in August. Graf (6-6, 309) was signed to the Eagles practice squad after spending training with the team. He started 39 games at right tackle at USC and earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors as a senior in 2013.

Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

chipkelly_400_102613The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Lions: QB Matt Barkley, safety Earl Wolff, CB Curtis Marsh, RB Matthew Tucker, LB Najee Goode, OT Matt Tobin and OT Dennis Kelly.

Goode suffered a hamstring injury last week. Emmanuel Acho takes his place on the gameday roster. Read more »

Eagles Sign LB Acho; Release Prater

Let the Acho fans rejoice.

The Eagles announced Monday that they signed linebacker Emmanuel Acho off the Giants practice squad and released cornerback Shaun Prater. 

The team will likely sign quarterback G.J. Kinne to the practice squad as well, per a source. He would be called up in the event that Nick Foles and Michael Vick are not ready for Sunday. Kinne was with the Eagles in training camp before eventually being released.

The Eagles originally acquired Acho (6-1, 240) from Cleveland in exchange for Dion Lewis back in April. The second-year linebacker had a strong showing for the Eagles this summer. He had at least a share of the lead in tackles in three of the four preseason games, including an 11-tackle performance against the Jets in the finale. Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: What Roster Moves Tell Us About Chip

Chip KellyChip Kelly is big on versatility. That is no secret. It has been the buzzword since he took office. He wants his starters to be malleable, and he insists that his reserves are capable of performing multiple duties.

 “When you only have 46 guys active on game day, you’ve got to have versatility in your non‑starters, because there’s just not enough numbers,” Kelly explained.  “If you’re two deep at every position, you know, that’s 44 excluding specialists.  And at some positions, you’re going to carry a third, a third running back, so where does that spot come from?  It’s got to come from somewhere.”

Howie Roseman allowed that the back of the roster was shaped largely in the name of versatility. It wasn’t just about whether the individual could play multiple positions (the fact that Danny Watkins was working exclusively at guard didn’t help him), but also whether his skills overlapped with someone else’s on the team. It is part of the reason why Emil Igwenagu is here instead of Clay Harbor. Why Casey Matthews won a job over both Chris McCoy and Emmanuel Acho.

“We were looking for different skill sets in the back of the roster,” Roseman said. “So some of the conversations we had about the fourth outside linebacker applies at this moment to the tight end spots.

“…When you talk about a Casey Matthews possibly if you got in a bind in a game, he could play outside. When Chip talked about the versatility of the back of the roster, we didn’t want to duplicate a lot of skills. So that’s what made some of the choices at the back of the roster, maybe some guys who played well in the preseason but maybe they were duplicating the skills that some of the guys we had. Did it make sense to keep them or try to find guys that did some different things?”

The consensus is that Acho outperformed Matthews this preseason. The second-year linebacker had at least a share of the lead in tackles in three of the four preseason games, including an 11-tackle performance against the Jets in the finale. However, Acho is more of a run-stuffing inside linebacker. Matthews can presumably play in space better. Same for Najee Goode, who was claimed off waivers from the Bucs Monday and took Acho’s spot on the roster.

Special teams also matter. As Sheil has pointed out, Matthews was second on the Eagles in special teams tackles last year. Receiver Jeff Maehl, chosen over Russell Shepard and Greg Salas, is also being billed as someone who can contribute on special teams.

The fact that both Maehl and Matthews played for Kelly at Oregon certainly didn’t hurt their chances. But the guess here is that they are on this team (at least for now) mostly because they give Kelly more options than the alternatives.

Kelly is a man of logic, and there is logic in building a roster with players that can plug multiple holes.

There is also logic in sacrificing some flexibility in the name of quality. Is it better to have “player x” who is not as good but can fill several roles, or “player y” who might not be as versatile but is better at his primary assignment?

Kelly seemingly chose “player x” a few times over the past few days. Time will tell whether he made the right choice.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles signed LB  Goode and released Acho. Sheil has the details.

Six of the eight practice squad slots have been filled.

Local and national writers examine the recent roster moves.

Some background on new cornerback Shaun Prater.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

RGIII has officially been named the starter for Monday night’s opener against the Eagles. He was medically cleared by James Andrews, though the way that came to pass is a little confusing. From Mike Jones of the Washington Post. 

Griffin received clearance from orthopedic surgeon James Andrews on Thursday evening to play in the season opener, but Shanahan declined at the time to declare the second-year quarterback his starter because he said Andrews told him there were “a couple of concerns that he had” and that he needed to talk with Griffin over the weekend first.

Shanahan declined to share the details of the discussion or what “concerns” Andrews had shared…

Andrews denied Shanahan’s claim Friday, saying in a text message, “None of it is true. No concerns.”

Told on Monday of the doctor’s declaration and asked why Andrews would have said that, Shanahan scoffed at the notion Andrews had no concerns and said, “I don’t know where you got that information from because that’s not what he shared with Robert. That’s not what he shared with me or Dr. Christopher Annunziata, Dr. Anthony Casolaro or with Robert when we had the conference call.”

Danny Watkins may have found a new home.

His agent stressed that a deal still wasn’t in place as of Monday night.

COMING UP

Practice for the Redskins begins on Wednesday. Regular season football is drawing near.