Poyer Claimed By Browns

Cornerback Jordan Poyer was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns, according to multiple sources.

The Eagles’ seventh-round pick was released on Saturday to make room for Matthew Tucker, who was called up from the practice squad to add depth to the running back position after Chris Polk (shoulder) was ruled out of the Dallas game.

They were interested in bringing Poyer back into the fold this week, perhaps by signing him to the  practice squad, but Cleveland spoiled those plans.

The rookie out of Oregon State was called into action in the opener against Washington as a result of injury but did not fare well and had since been unable to establish a role on defense. Long term, the Eagles were interested to see if he could transition to the safety position. Read more »

Eagles Cut Poyer; Bring Up RB Tucker

Eagles CB Jordan Poyer head down at practice

The Eagles downgraded Chris Polk from questionable to out for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys because of a shoulder injury.

In order to have a third running back available, the team decided to bring Matthew Tucker up from the practice squad and released cornerback Jordan Poyer. Read more »

Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

Vinny CurryThe following Eagles are inactive for tonight’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs: QB Matt Barkley, CB Roc Carmichael, CB Jordan Poyer, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly, DL Damion Square and tight end Emil Igwenagu.

Most noteworthy is the player whose name is not listed above: Vinny Curry.

The 2012 second-round pick didn’t dress in either of the Eagles’ first two games, but he’ll give it a go tonight. Chip Kelly and company had maintained that Curry’s standing had more to do with the opponent than anything else. Perhaps expecting a pass-happy attack from the Chiefs, they decided to activate Curry.

The other factor is that Square played poorly last week against the Chargers.

Curry will presumably rotate in with Clifton Geathers and Bennie Logan on the second-team defensive line.

Meanwhile, in the secondary, Poyer, a seventh-round pick, is inactive for the first time. Taking his place is Prater, whom the team added after the preseason. He’ll be the Eagles’ fourth corner behind Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin. Safety Patrick Chung has also played some slot corner in three-safety looks.

For the third straight game, the Eagles go with two QBs in Michael Vick and Nick Foles. They have two backups active on the offensive line: Allen Barbre at guard/tackle and Julian Vandervelde at center.

Jeff Maehl is once again the team’s fifth wide receiver.And on the other sideline, starting cornerback Brandon Flowers is active. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury.

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Making Sense Of the Eagles’ Inactives

Vinny CurryThe following Eagles are inactive for tonight’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs: QB Matt Barkley, CB Roc Carmichael, CB Jordan Poyer, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly, DL Damion Square and tight end Emil Igwenagu.

Most noteworthy is the player whose name is not listed above: Vinny Curry.

The 2012 second-round pick didn’t dress in either of the Eagles’ first two games, but he’ll give it a go tonight. Chip Kelly and company had maintained that Curry’s standing had more to do with the opponent than anything else. Perhaps expecting a pass-happy attack from the Chiefs, they decided to activate Curry.

The other factor is that Square played poorly last week against the Chargers.

Curry will presumably rotate in with Clifton Geathers and Bennie Logan on the second-team defensive line.

Meanwhile, in the secondary, Poyer, a seventh-round pick, is inactive for the first time. Taking his place is Prater, whom the team added after the preseason. He’ll be the Eagles’ fourth corner behind Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin. Safety Patrick Chung has also played some slot corner in three-safety looks.

For the third straight game, the Eagles go with two QBs in Michael Vick and Nick Foles. They have two backups active on the offensive line: Allen Barbre at guard/tackle and Julian Vandervelde at center.

Jeff Maehl is once again the team’s fifth wide receiver.And on the other sideline, starting cornerback Brandon Flowers is active. He had been listed as questionable with a knee injury.

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Bradley Fletcher Ruled Out For Sunday’s Game

Bradley FletcherEagles starting cornerback Bradley Fletcher has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Chargers.

The 27-year-old sustained a concussion late in the game against Washington. He had yet to pass the ImPACT test as of Thursday afternoon.

The Eagles’ depth in the secondary will be tested. Brandon Boykin is expected to start on the outside in Fletcher’s absence, though he could  very well move into the slot in certain packages as well. Brandon Hughes, who is recovering from a fractured hand, is a logical candidate to play on the outside when Boykin does move inside.

Jordan Poyer could also factor into the equation, though the rookie appeared to struggle a bit in limited action against Washington. Safety Patrick Chung saw some time in the slot this preseason, likely in preparation for an emergency scenario.

Fletcher was targeted six times on Monday night and yielded three catches for 33 yards, per Pro Football Focus. He finished with four tackles.

Dennis Kelly (back) has also been ruled out for the Chargers game. He was a limited participant in practice this week and appears to be recovering well from back surgery. He is set to meet with his doctor on Sunday and expects to be cleared for all football activity at that time. The tackle said that he is targeting the Denver game for his return.

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Twitter Mailbag: Is the Kelly Offense Sustainable?

Chip KellyOn Thursdays we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

From @phat_dy: Honestly, is this offense sustainable? Do you believe Kelly knows he can plug in Foles, which enables him to make these calls?

The question of sustainability is relevant, even if you remove the Michael Vick element from the equation.  Chip Kelly‘s Eagles will be running  a ton of plays and will be doing so at mach speed. One concern is that the team will get worn down as the season rolls on. I asked Kelly today whether that was ever an issue at Oregon, and if the extra four regular-season games in the NFL presents a challenge in that respect.

“No, I think our teams were always the freshest teams that played by and large,” Kelly responded. “We have a weekly schedule that we follow almost religiously in terms of when to work, when to recover and what not. So I think we have a plan in place that we put in place in April that is built for the long haul.”

Then there is the injury issue. Logic suggests that the more plays you run, the more times an offensive player is exposed to potential punishment and therefor injury. Certainly the main focus is Vick, who was knocked to the ground 15 times Monday night by Ron Jaworski’s count. To the second part of your question: I don’t believe that Kelly is being bold with his use of Vick because he has a solid backup plan in Nick Foles. But I do believe he realizes the importance of having a quality reserve in the NFL, especially when you are running this system with a QB as free-wheeling as Vick.

Kelly told us on Thursday that Foles still gets some first-team reps in practice.

From @FelskeFiles: I’m concerned the Eagles we saw in the 2nd half was the REAL Eagles and the 1st half Birds were a mirage. Chances I’m right?

The offense that you saw in the first half was the “real” Eagles offense: no-huddle, hurry-up, explosive, confusing. Kelly admitted that they took their foot off the pedal too soon. They slowed things down and were conservative for the most part in the second half. That was a learning-on-the-job moment for the first-year head coach and it didn’t cost them a win ultimately, so that’s a good thing.

Not sure what the answer is yet when it comes to the defense. To say that Billy Davis just went into “prevent” mode down the stretch is inaccurate. He kept the blitzes coming and got burned on it a time or two. RGIII appeared to pick up steam as the game went on, which was another factor. Losing Cary Williams for a stretch also hurt them and speaks to the potential depth issues in the secondary.

Overall I think the defense played well — certainly better than I thought they were going to. It’s safe to raise your expectation levels a notch based off their performance against the Redskins. I don’t think either half  of play fully represents their identity. Chances are, they’ll be somewhere in between.

From @xpler99: does poyer’s development push Boykin to the outside, and Fletcher to the bench?  Or is his role diminished with hughes back?

Bradley Fletcher‘s teammates sound confident that he will be able to play against the Chargers, but he did not practice on Thursday and remains a question mark after sustaining a concussion Monday. Brandon Boykin is expected to be moved to the outside if Fletcher can’t go.

Brandon Hughes (hand) is practicing this week and should be ready for Sunday. I think there is a chance he sees some action against San Diego, perhaps over Jordan Poyer. The rookie saw 17 snaps against the Redskins, and looked like he could still use some seasoning.

I thought Fletcher played well against Washington. I believe the starting job is his when healthy.

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Ten Takeaways From Howie Roseman

Vinny CurryYesterday, we took a look at what Howie Roseman had to say about Danny Watkins. But the Eagles’ GM touched on a variety of other topics during a session with reporters at the NovaCare Complex.

Here are 10 items that stood out.

1. The Eagles only have three outside linebackers on the roster: Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. Barwin is the only true 3-4 OLB among that group. Chip Kelly and Roseman parted ways with Chris McCoy, Everette Brown and Travis Long. When asked for his thoughts on the Eagles’ depth at that spot, Roseman provided an interesting response.

“We look at a guy like Vinny Curry, and you talk about a guy who can rush the passer,” Roseman said. “If he stood up, he can set the edge. He can do some of the things that the outside linebacker does.”

Curry bulked up in the offseason and has been practicing all summer at defensive end.

“And then when you talk about a Casey Matthews possibly if you got in a bind in a game, he could play outside,” Roseman said. “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 guess here is that the Eagles will be looking for outside linebacker help from other teams.

2. I mentioned Cole above. Roseman might have offered a hint about how the veteran will be used in the regular season.

“A lot of times, what you see in preseason is working on not only the things they do well, but also the weaknesses to get a sense of what guys can really do,” he said. “As you know, things change during the regular season.”

According to Pro Football Focus, Cole was on the field for 41 passing downs in the preseason, and he dropped back into coverage 39 percent of the time. Given that he didn’t exactly look comfortable doing so, perhaps Roseman is suggesting Cole will be more of a pass-rusher in the regular season. We’ll find out shortly.

3. As for the roster overall, expect the team to be active in the next few days.

“We’ll continue to look for ways to upgrade this team,” Roseman said. “So, as we sit here, it’s a constant evaluation. It’s a constant evaluation of the back of the roster. If we have opportunities to continue to add some young players that we think will help our team, if we get that opportunity, we’re gonna look at it.

“We’re prepared. We have a draft board set up. We’ve spent an inordinate amount of time on guys that we thought would be on the bubble. And so we’ve just gotta see who’s really out there.”

4. One area to keep an eye on is cornerback. The Eagles went heavy with six: Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes and Jordan Poyer.

“You want to put your coach in position to win games here in the early part of the year,” Roseman said. “You’ve got a couple guys who are coming back from some injuries and haven’t played in a little bit. And then you talked about Poyer. And Poyer was affected by not having the offseason. You saw that he kept coming on, not only in games, but in practice. He’s instinctive, he’s tough, he’s physical, he’s got size to him. So we just felt like he was a guy we wanted to grow with and have here. Obviously, you look at the numbers there and you see six corners and there’s some uncertainty just because you’ve got to have availability at that spot.”

Marsh and Hughes both suffered hand injuries in the preseason, but Roseman said they’re “not long-term injuries at all.” He indicated that the team expects both guys back “shortly.”

5. The Eagles have nine players on the roster left from the 2010 and 2011 drafts: Curtis Marsh, Casey Matthews, Alex Henery, Julian Vandervelde, Jason Kelce, Brandon Graham, Nate Allen, Riley Cooper and Kurt Coleman.

The projected starters from that group are Kelce, possibly Allen and Cooper, who is only filling in because Jeremy Maclin went down.

Asked if those two drafts set the franchise back, Roseman said: “I think that’s probably a fair question. When you have drafts that don’t work out, you’ve gotta find those players somewhere else. Like I said when we started this, the big part taking from that is that we are forced to look and figure out the ways to do things and the way we have done things over a long period of time, and then where our team was and evolve from that. And I think that’s the positive to be taken out of it.”

6. The Eagles provided a bit of a surprise at wide receiver, cutting Russell Shepard and Greg Salas, while keeping Jeff Maehl.

“Tough decisions at the wide receiver spot,” Roseman said. “When we traded for Jeff, we knew that he was a guy who could play inside or out. He was a safety in high school when Coach recruited him. And so you knew that he would bring something to special teams as well.

“And then when you talk about the roster, I think it’s an evolving process too. How it looks today, to tell you that it’s gonna look like that in Week 10, we’re gonna be constantly on the lookout. We’re trying to build this team, and we’re trying to get players that we think can be here for a long time. We’re open to things that we think could make us better.”

Translation: Maehl might not be here in a few days. The Eagles could add a back-of-the-roster wide receiver from another team.

7. While there was plenty of talk about the 2010 and 2011 drafts, Roseman did suggest that he thinks the Eagles found some good core players in 2012, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.

“When you talk about Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks, I don’t see any reason why those guys shouldn’t be big-time players in this league,” he said. “Between what’s in their body, physically, you’re talking about guys who have the traits to do it. And then they work really hard. And then there’s nothing I’ve seen out here or on the field during games that says they shouldn’t take this step from first- or second-year guys to really be core members of our defense for a long time.”

8. The Eagles have three undrafted free agents from this class on the roster: offensive lineman Matt Tobin, defensive lineman Damion Square and linebacker Jake Knott.

Roseman said it was evident as soon as the pads went on that Square was a violent technician who had a good chance to stick.

He also praised Tobin’s versatility.

“He’s probably a four-position backup if you put him on gameday active,” Roseman said. “And I’m not so sure that he couldn’t play center too.”

He added that Knott would have definitely been drafted if not for the shoulder problems.

“You go through the draft-day decisions and Jake was a guy that we were really considering taking in all three of those seventh-round picks,” Roseman said. “We feel very fortunate to get him. His character and football intelligence, he’s a good player.”

9. The Eagles went with Emil Igwenagu over Clay Harbor for the final tight end spot. The reason?

“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 spot. And we didn’t feel like there was another guy on the roster who was as good as a point of attack blocker. He’s a physical guy. We also felt like those other three guys were good receiving threats.”

10. Roseman made a good point about why it’s tough to trade near the cut-down deadline.

“The problem is it’s very rare to find someone to offer you a player and to not think that player’s gonna get cut,” he said. “When you’re in March and April, you know that there’s a long time so people are gonna hang on to them and maybe they’re telling the truth: ‘Hey, I’ll hang on to him if I don’t get what I’m looking for.’ But this time of the year, everyone’s basically calling each other’s bluff.”

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Roster Analysis: Evaluating the Eagles’ Defense

Jordan PoyerIf you missed the offense, click here.

Now for the position-by-position look at what the Eagles’ defense looks like after initial cuts to 53.

Defensive line (7): Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Clifton Geathers, Damion Square, Vinny Curry.

Chip Kelly has indicated that the plan will likely be to keep six defensive linemen active on gamedays and rotate them in. Cox (RDE), Sopoaga (NT) and Thornton (LDE) figure to be the starters. If Logan performs like he did in the preseason, he’ll be pushing for major snaps from the get-go.

Curry might have been the Eagles’ best defensive player in the preseason, but no one in the organization has indicated that he will have a major role in his second season. This is just a situation where we have to wait and see what happens in Week 1. That will tell us what the coaches really think of Curry.

Either Square or Geathers will likely be a gameday inactive. Square, an undrafted free agent, beat out seventh-round pick David King. Both Square and Geathers took snaps at defensive end and nose tackle in the spring.

Outside linebacker (3): Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham.

Assuming he’s healthy and well-conditioned, Barwin’s not going to get many snaps off this season. He’s the only true 3-4 outside linebacker on the roster.

If the preseason was any indication, Cole will start at ROLB, and Graham will rotate in. The Eagles got rid of every other outside linebacker on the roster, including Chris McCoy, whom many (present company included) thought had a good shot to make it.

Howie Roseman was asked about depth here and said Curry could play outside linebacker in a pinch. He mentioned Casey Matthews’ name too. Obviously, those are not ideal options, so don’t be surprised if the Eagles add a player here in the coming days.

Inside linebacker (5): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jake Knott, Emmanuel Acho, Casey Matthews.

Ryans and Kendricks are the unquestioned starters and will rarely come off the field.

It will be interesting to see who’s active on gamedays from this group. Acho might be the best backup option should Ryans or Kendricks go down. Matthews didn’t seem to show much progress defensively in the preseason, but he had 14 special-teams tackles a year ago, second on the team.

And Knott is a bit of a wild card. The coaching staff and organization seem to love the undrafted free agent out of Iowa State. But they’ll have to determine if he’s ready to dress on gamedays from the get-go.

Cornerback (6): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes, Jordan Poyer.

I guess the Eagles were going for strength in numbers. The secondary is a giant question mark, but the team currently has 11 defensive backs on the roster.

Williams and Fletcher figure to start, with Boykin serving as the nickel. Marsh and Hughes both have hand injuries, but Roseman indicated neither is expected to be out for a considerable amount of time.

Poyer missed much of the spring because of NCAA rules, but came on late in camp, and the Eagles didn’t want to give up on the seventh-round pick.

Don’t be surprised if the team shakes things up here if other cornerback options become available.

Safeties (5): Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman.

Chung has one starting spot locked down. The other will be occupied by either Allen or Wolff.

Anderson is an ace special-teamer and will be active on gamedays. Chip Kelly raved about Coleman after the final preseason game.

Once again, not an ideal set of options, but the Eagles will try to piece something together at safety with these five guys.

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Rookie Status Report

Zach ErtzToday, we check in on the rookies. Here’s a player-by-player breakdown of what we’ve seen from each guy, along with projections going forward.

Lane Johnson – The whole “raw” label hasn’t shown up much in the first two preseason games. Based on early returns, Johnson has a chance to be a beast in the run game right away. There have been some issues in pass protection, but Johnson has held up fine in that aspect too. He’s athletic, hustles and will start at right tackle from Day One. An encouraging camp and preseason for the No. 4 overall pick.

Zach Ertz – Four catches for 46 yards on five targets through two preseason games. Ertz has played 42 snaps per PFF; he’s gone out into pass routes on 62 percent of those. The second-round pick will have to prove himself as a blocker, but he’s a polished route-runner who will have a role in the passing game right away. Look for Ertz to be a nice option in the red zone. He’ll play big snaps from the get-go.

Bennie Logan – He’s been a pleasant surprise. Logan always figured to have a place in the defensive line rotation, but so far he looks like one of the Eagles’ best players up front. Opposing offensive linemen have had a tough time controlling Logan in the run game, and he’s been effective as a pass-rusher too. The third-round pick will be coached to make use of those 34-inch arms and get in the passing lanes. Chip Kelly has said he’ll probably play six defensive linemen in the regular season. If Logan keeps showing up on tape, he’ll play plenty of snaps right away.

Matt Barkley – Expectations varied when the Eagles drafted him, but Barkley’s pretty much performed at the level of a fourth-round pick. In other words, he’s been up and down. Kelly likes how Barkley gets rid of the ball quickly, but the rookie QB has set his receivers up for dangerous hits on too many occasions. He’s never really been a part of the QB competition this summer and will likely spend Year 1 on the sidelines.

Earl Wolff – A bit of a mystery. The safety from N.C. State has gotten some reps with the first team in practice, but he didn’t get into Thursday night’s game until the second half. Patrick Chung has one of the safety spots locked down, but the other one is up for grabs. Nate Allen has started both preseason games. Wolff has a chance to make his move, but the guess here is he’ll start the season as a backup.

Joe Kruger – He’s only 21-years-old and unlikely to contribute in his first season. The question with Kruger is: Will he make the 53-man roster? If the Eagles really like his potential and think he might get snatched up by another team, they could keep him and make him a regular inactive. But stashing him on the practice squad is a real possibility.

David King – If the practice and preseason rotations are any indication, he’s going to have a tough time making the roster. The seventh-round pick hasn’t flashed much and has been passed by undrafted free agent Damion Square on the depth chart.

Jordan Poyer – Some thought the Eagles got a steal with Poyer in the seventh round, but the Oregon State product has had a quiet summer. The Eagles are thin at cornerback, so Poyer’s got a chance to sneak on the roster. But he hasn’t done much to stand out so far.

***

Among the undrafted guys, Square and linebacker Jake Knott seem like good bets to make the roster. Square figures to add depth on the defensive line, and Knott should be one of the backups behind DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks.

Other names to watch are Michael Bamiro, Russell Shepard and Matthew Tucker. Bamiro is a developmental tackle prospect. He seemed to draw some interest from other teams back in July, so the Eagles might not want to risk losing him by going the practice squad route.

Shepard started off great, but has been quiet in the preseason games and could be headed for the practice squad. Tucker could claim a spot just because Felix Jones has been unimpressive. But the Eagles could choose to add a running back from another team instead.

WHAT YOU MISSED

A detailed “tape” review of how the Eagles used the zone read/bubble screen packaged play on multiple occasions vs. Carolina.

O-Line wisdom has been passed down from Tra Thomas to Todd Herremans and now to Lane Johnson, writes T-Mac.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News talked to wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell about the team’s option routes:

“You always have some West Coast plays in your concepts, and we have all those,” wide-receivers coach Bob Bicknell said. “But there’s also more chances for guys to kind of read coverage, read how they’re getting covered and make plays off of the leverage of the defender or whether they’re playing man or zone. “I think that’s what’s a little bit different in this offense. We have option routes where guys have an ability to understand what we’re trying to get, where other people are, and where they have a chance to win and get open.”

Derek Sarley of IgglesBlog suggests preseason defenses haven’t shown much yet against Kelly:

Right now, Chip’s offense is being greatly helped by the passivity of the defenses he’s facing. For months, we read stories about how every defensive staff in the league was studying ways to beat spread option looks, and yet so far we haven’t seen anything all that innovative beyond some rotations by the Patriots to mess up the reads with different edge defenders.It’s going to take some time before the league fully understands everything Kelly’s trying to do, but I’ll be shocked if our week one opponent — a team that has more than a passing familiarity with these same offensive concepts — isn’t ready with a big bag of tricks we aren’t seeing yet.

COMING UP

We’ll be back at NovaCare, talking to Kelly and several players today.

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