Now let’s look at the remaining four: Donnie Jones, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson and Clifton Geathers. Read more »
Eagles safety Earl Wolff is listed as questionable for the team’s Saturday night playoff matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
Wolff told Birds 24/7 Thursday that his knee was improving.
“I just know that it felt a lot better today than it did before. They kind of recorded me moving around a little bit, doing some functional stuff, and it didn’t bother me,” he said.
“It was football activity, basically like what I would go through in a game, and it didn’t really bother me. Of course I felt it a little bit –I’m going to feel it a little bit — but it’s nothing that’s going to hold me back.” Read more »
The following Eagles are inactive for tonight’s game against the Bears: QB Matt Barkley, safety Colt Anderson, CB Curtis Marsh, RB Matthew Tucker, safety Kurt Coleman, OT Matt Tobin and OT Dennis Kelly.
Anderson (knee) and Coleman (hamstring) were both injured last week and ruled out on Friday. Their absence will be a big factor on special teams.
Earl Wolff (knee) makes his return after missing the previous four games with a knee injury. He’s expected to rotate in at safety with Patrick Chung alongside Nate Allen. Read more »
Out: S Colt Anderson (knee), S Kurt Coleman (hamstring)
Probable: CB Brandon Boykin (concussion), LB Najee Goode (hamstring), LB Mychal Kendricks (knee), WR Brad Smith (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee)
The most significant piece of news is that Boykin made it through the concussion protocol and is expected to play against Chicago. That’s big, particularly because standout wide receiver Brandon Marshall will line up in the slot from time to time.
Also of note is that Wolff will likely make his return after missing several weeks with a knee injury. Billy Davis plans on easing Wolff back in, so don’t expect him to be taking all the reps at safety opposite Nate Allen. He will likely rotate with Patrick Chung. Read more »
Three defensive backs — Brandon Boykin, Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson — stood shoulder-to-shoulder on the sidelines, all spectators as their teammates continued their preparations for the Bears Wednesday.
Boykin has yet to be cleared after suffering a concussion in Minnesota. This is a significant injury to watch for the Eagles, who are about to face a daunting Bears receiving duo in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.
“It’s a huge challenge,” said Chip Kelly, “and no one is going to give us a waiver because we’re banged up. It’s part of what this deal is all about. We look at it as an opportunity for us to go out and compete against them, and that’s what we got — a bunch of competitive guys, competitive coaches that want to go challenge themselves, and there’s no better group of receivers to challenge yourself with than the guys that they can put out there in Marshall and Jeffery.” Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position look at the Eagles’ defensive performance after having watched the All-22 from Sunday’s game.
* Going in, the Eagles should have expected to dominate the Vikings’ ground game, given that Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were out. And that’s what happened. Matt Asiata needed 30 carries to get to 51 yards (1.7 YPC). The pass-rush could have been better, but Matt Cassel did a good job of getting the ball out quick, and most of the problems through the air were the fault of the secondary. Read more »
Safety Patrick Chung was pulled in favor of Kurt Coleman after allowing Greg Jennings to beat him for a 57-yard touchdown pass. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis said that moving Chung in and out of the lineup was the plan all along.
“Going into the game, both Patrick and Kurt knew that we were rotating every two series,” said Davis. “It happened that he had on that second series he had that [play against him]. But going into that game we were going to rotate. Now we were rotating because Patrick has been in a little bit of a slump, but he is increasing, he getting better and better as we go. That was a bad snap for him but there was going to be an every two-series rotation of the safeties regardless of that play happening.” Read more »
Teams must trim their rosters down to 53 by 6 p.m. Saturday. Time to submit our final projections for the Eagles.
Sheil will post his take in a bit. Here’s mine:
Quarterbacks (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley.
Chip Kelly feels like he has at least two NFL-caliber quarterbacks on the roster, and possibly three. Maybe so, but “NFL-caliber” doesn’t get you much in this league. You need above average play from your signal-callers if you really want to go somewhere. Vick will get the first crack at running Kelly’s offense. Foles is just an injury away from getting his chance.
A reminder that Dennis Dixon still has some practice squad eligibility remaining. He can be of some value there.
Running backs (3): LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk.
Kelly recently said that he would put this grouping up against any trio in the league. The upside is definitely there. The two main questions are: Can Brown hold onto the ball? And can Polk stay healthy? If the answer to both questions is yes, then Kelly might be right. I’m guessing Matthew Tucker finds his way onto the practice squad.
Wide receivers (6): DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson, Greg Salas, Russell Shepard.
Six seems like a lot to me. But the bottom of the roster is just thin, and this is what I keep coming back to.
If it comes down to Salas and Shepard, it really depends what you’re after. If you want a more polished player who could provide a little more production this season, Salas is your man. If you want to hold onto a prospect that could bloom down the road, then you give the spot to Shepard.
I haven’t seen enough out of Jeff Maehl or Ifeanyi Momah to give them serious consideration.
Tight ends (4): Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey, Clay Harbor.
I just don’t see Kelly keeping less than four tight ends. He has already shown a four tight-end look this preseason. They are a big part of his offense. Harbor might not be a great tight end or receiver, but the fact that he can be presented as both is likely attractive to Kelly.
Offensive linemen (9): Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre, Danny Watkins, Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervelde.
I have Watkins making it, but I’m not sold. Barbre has replaced him as the primary backup at guard, looks like. I would not be at all surprised if they decided to hand his roster spot to Michael Bamiro or Matt Tennant or Dallas Reynolds. Or anyone, really. Kelly likes versatile players, and Watkins has only played guard this preseason.
But I’ll take a stab and say the Eagles give him one last crack at it. His $1.1 million base salary is guaranteed anyway, so why not?
Defensive linemen (7): Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan, Damion Square, Vinny Curry, Clifton Geathers.
It appears the Eagles have some decent depth here. Kelly would like to keep six defensive linemen active on game day. Count Cox, Sopoaga, Thornton, Logan and Curry in that group, and add either Square or Geathers depending on performance or preference.
Tough to see David King making the cut. Joe Kruger seems like a good practice squad candidate.
Outside linebackers (4): Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Brandon Graham, Chris McCoy.
Barwin is the only player in this group with NFL regular-season experience at outside linebacker. That can’t make Billy Davis very comfortable. The Eagles will keep an eye on the open market to see if they can bolster the position. They recently traded for Adrian Robinson, but I don’t think he’s the answer.
Inside linebackers (4): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Jake Knott, Emmanuel Acho.
How dare I disrespect the Acho by keeping him off my initial projected roster. He was all over the place against the Jets.OK, it was a meaningless game against backups, but he was better than the guys he is competing against. And he led the team or was tied for the lead in tackles in three of the four preseason games.
Casey Matthews has the whole Oregon connection thing going for him. He’s right on the bubble for me, but I’m leaving him off.
Cornerbacks (5): Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Brandon Boykin, Brandon Hughes, Jordan Poyer.
This unit is razor-thin following the hand injuries to Hughes and Curtis Marsh. With the starters resting, Kurt Coleman even saw some time at corner against New York. The Eagles recently worked out Robert Steeples and will continue to be on the hunt for help. It’s a good bet that this group looks different by the start of the season.
Poyer has not shown a whole lot but will make the team based on potential and need.
Safeties (5): Patrick Chung, Nate Allen, Earl Wolff, Colt Anderson, Kurt Coleman.
Chung was the only safety to get the night off against the Jets. Allen and Wolff both started. It looks like the competition for the other starting safety spot is coming down to the wire.
Chances are, the tandem that starts this season will not be together for all 16. There will probably be some mixing and matching. Might as well have some options, even if they aren’t great ones.
Specialists (3): Alex Henery, Donnie Jones, Jon Dorenbos.
Henery has settled in after a slow start to camp.
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By 6 p.m. Saturday, the Eagles have to cut 22 players and get their roster down to 53. Many of the bubble guys will get a chance to make one final impression Thursday night, as Chip Kelly acknowledged there’s still “a lot up in the air.”
New offensive scheme, new defensive scheme, new coaching staff and new personnel. Kelly’s moves this weekend will tell us a lot about his roster-building philosophy. Keeping that in mind, here are 10 players whose future with the franchise hangs in the balance as we approach cut-down day.
1. Danny Watkins, OG – The 2011 first-round pick got a fresh start with new offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland, but it doesn’t seem like he’s made a strong impression. Watkins is currently a backup guard and has been passed on the depth chart by veteran Allen Barbre. Kelly wants versatility in his backups, but so far, Watkins has only played guard. As T-Mac reported yesterday, Watkins is due $1.1M in guaranteed money. But with Barbre looking like a keeper and the team needing a backup center, Watkins, who turns 29 in November, could still be out of a spot.
2. Michael Bamiro, OT – The Eagles had to compete with other teams to sign Bamiro earlier this summer. Some reports suggested he would have been a mid-round pick had he entered the draft. The question the Birds have to weigh is whether or not they’d be safe stashing Bamiro on the practice squad. The Eagles have some tackle depth. Barbre can play out there, and Todd Herremans could slide over in a pinch. The team also expects Dennis Kelly to return from back surgery at some point. Bamiro might be a nice option for the bottom of the roster. He would likely be a weekly inactive, but has plenty of upside for down the road.
3. Julian Vandervelde, G/C – It’s been a bumpy journey for the 2011 fifth-round pick. He spent his rookie season on the active roster, was cut last summer, spent a couple days with the Tampa Bay Bucs and then returned to the Eagles. He entered the league as a guard, but has been learning the center position the past two years. If the preseason is any indication, he has a good shot of sticking around as Jason Kelce’s backup. The Eagles’ other options for that spot are Dallas Reynolds and Matt Tennant.
4. Greg Salas, WR - The Eagles didn’t make any moves to add receivers after Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn went down with season-ending ACL injuries. Salas had an excellent camp and flashed during the first two preseason games. He could be competing with Russell Shepard for the fifth receiver spot. Or the Eagles could decide to keep them both.
5. Russell Shepard, WR – He showed some good YAC ability during last week’s game, catching two balls for 38 yards. With Shepard, there is once again the practice squad question. There’s no doubt that the Eagles like his talent, but he went undrafted and could probably use some seasoning before he’s ready to contribute. Special teams is a factor here too. Shepard looks like a willing contributor and made a nice tackle in coverage against Carolina.
6. Clay Harbor, TE/WR - Kelly has been trying to find a spot for the fourth-year tight end. He’s been getting reps at wide receiver and has played there each of the last two preseason games. The truth is, when then Eagles spread it out in Kelly’s offense, there’s often not much of a difference between a wide receiver and a tight end. Kelly prides himself on being prepared for every situation. Harbor’s versatility could be enough to make him stick.
7. Chris McCoy, OLB – The CFL product started off the preseason well, but was not good last week against the Jaguars. The Eagles are somewhat thin at the position. Kelly said ideally, the team would keep four outside linebackers. They’ve got Connor Barwin, Trent Cole and Brandon Graham as virtual locks. This one will likely come down to who else is available. McCoy could be an initial keeper, but if the Eagles see an outside linebacker they like cut from another team, he could be released.
8. Casey Matthews, ILB – Kelly said he’d like to keep four inside linebackers also. The starters are in place with DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks. Matthews, Jake Knott and Emmanuel Acho are competing for spots. Knott is probably the favorite among that group. What we wrote about McCoy could apply here too. The Eagles could add an inside linebacker from another team’s cut list. But Matthews’ special-teams production (14 tackles last year) could help him earn a spot.
9. Clifton Geathers/Damion Square, DL – I cheated a bit here and included these two together. And really, they could both end up making it. The plan for the Eagles on gamedays seems to be to rotate six players on the defensive line. Right now, the five most likely are: Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thornton, Bennie Logan and Vinny Curry. The sixth could be either Geathers or Square, with the other as a potential inactive. Square drew praise early in the preseason, but did not play well last week. Geathers had his best performance against Jacksonville. Both have played nose tackle, along with defensive end.
10. Kurt Coleman, S – The fourth-year player’s chances of making the roster increased when the Eagles released Kenny Phillips. But he’s still no lock to make it. Coleman hasn’t rotated in with the starters much, and the decision on whether to keep him or not will likely depend on if Kelly is comfortable keeping five safeties. Patrick Chung, Nate Allen and rookie Earl Wolff seem like locks. Colt Anderson has an excellent shot of sticking because of his special-teams ability. That means Coleman could be the odd man out.
“To me, that’s the hardest position to evaluate in college football is safeties,” Roseman said back in January at the Senior Bowl. “The guys that used to be the most explosive athletes and were playing in the back end, they’re going to play corner because they feel like maybe at corner, they can play 10 years. You look at the franchise tag numbers, the corner position is higher than the safety position. That is going to be the constant struggle. When you talk to people around the league, it’s hard to find safeties.”
Roseman wasn’t lying. And Sunday’s release of Kenny Phillips served as just another reminder of how this franchise has struggled to address the safety position since it lost Brian Dawkins back in 2009.
That year, Quintin Mikell, Macho Harris, Sean Jones and Quintin Demps all saw snaps. Mikell was easily the best of the group.
In 2010, it was Mikell, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson and Jamar Adams.
2011? Coleman, Allen, Jarrad Page and Jaiquawn Jarrett.
And last year, Coleman, Allen, Anderson and David Sims.
Eleven guys in four seasons. None good enough to be penciled in to the starting lineup in 2013.
The position has changed, as teams expect versatility from their safeties. The athleticism and cover skills to match up with slot receivers. The size to take on tight ends, play the run and be an enforcer over the middle. The speed to play center field and serve as the last line of defense.
Teams around the league are having trouble finding suitable options, so it’s unlikely the Eagles find legitimate help when cuts are made in the next week. There’s been a little buzz about Bills safety Jairus Byrd, but it still seems unlikely that he gets dealt. Byrd is reportedly looking to become the highest-paid safety in the league.
On the current roster, it looks like Patrick Chung will start at one spot. Nate Allen is the favorite to run with Chung, but he’s entrenched firmly in “believe it when we see it” territory. Allen has shown little this summer to suggest he’s suddenly ready to make the leap.
Rookie Earl Wolff rotated in with Allen on Saturday, but might not be ready. If the coaches feel the competition is close, Wolff could get the nod. Or he could get a shot later in the season.
Chip Kelly has placed an emphasis on special teams, and Colt Anderson is the team’s best special-teams player. That should be enough to earn him a roster spot. Kurt Coleman isn’t a bad backup option, but he’s on the bubble. And David Sims is likely a longshot.
Another year where fans will likely watch on Sundays and hope for an offseason upgrade. There’s a good possibility that next January in Mobile, Roseman will be answering the same question once again.
WHAT YOU MISSED
The Eagles cut Phillips and Jamar Chaney yesterday.
The Birds also let 10 other players go.
The No-22 breakdown of what we saw from the offense vs. Jacksonville.
Good stuff from T-Mac on why the offense looked different.
Kelly said the Eagles were their own worst enemy Saturday.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Things do not look good for former Eagle Kevin Kolb:
Source tells me Bills concerned Kevin Kolb’s concussion may be career-ending and they’re proceeding with that in mind.
— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) August 25, 2013
At least 3rd career concussion for Kevin Kolb. Hit didn’t look serious, but source tells me response in locker room was disconcerting.
— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) August 25, 2013
Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com offers some day-after thoughts on Michael Vick’s performance:
One of the areas where Vick made things worse is his desire for bigger chunks of yards. I re-watched the 1st quarter last night and there were several chances for him to check the ball down. Vick instead threw the ball to intermediate targets. There is no question that Vick was holding onto the ball longer last night. Maybe Vick wanted to put on a show after being named the starter. I don’t know. He needs to back to the previous games and play within himself and within the offense. Keep the ball moving and the chunk plays will come.
We’ll hear from Kelly and check out practice at the Linc.