As we look ahead to tonight’s matchup against the Steelers, here’s an updated projection of the Eagles’ 53-man roster.
Chris Polk told reporters Tuesday that his hamstring is not 100 percent healed and that he doesn’t feel very confident in the leg at the moment. In the next breath, he said he would be practicing next week.
Such is the life of a player on the fringe.
Polk suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain, or partial tear, on the second day of training camp. He heard a pop while making a hard cut and the hammy tightened up on him.
“I just felt like my world ended that day,” he said.
Polk has been unable to get back onto the practice field since. Time is running out to convince the coaching staff that he deserves to be kept on the 53-man, as the final cuts are just 10 days away. Does he feel like his status is in jeopardy?
“Yeah,” he responded after a moment of thought. “There is nothing guaranteed. I wasn’t drafted. I’m not LeSean McCoy, Nick Foles. I’m not guaranteed anything.”
Julian Vandervelde underwent back surgery on Thursday, per multiple sources.
While timetables for recovery are difficult to predict, particularly when it comes to back injuries, his rehab time is expected to be similar to Dennis Kelly‘s. Kelly had back surgery to repair an L2 disc last August. He was cleared to participate in all football activities in September and had targeted Week 4 for his return. Kelly did not play last season, though, at least in part because the offensive line remained generally healthy last year.
“He’s going to need a little bit of patience because you do start over. You have to start from square one once you get cleared,” said Kelly. “It was tough going through the season because you’re just trying to get your strength back. I’d like to say [I reached 100 percent health] during the season but more realistically [it was] during the spring.”
Since Vandervelde has already practiced, he is not eligible for the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Read more »
Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of what we saw out of the Eagles’ offense Friday night, after having re-watched the first three quarters. Read more »
For the first time this spring, Eagles practice was open to the media. Here’s a running diary of what we saw: Read more »
Now that the Eagles’ roster sits at 90 players, we can start to take a look ahead at which spots are up for grabs in the spring and summer.
Today, we’ll provide a position-by-position breakdown of the offense. On Tuesday, we’ll check in on the defense. Read more »
The following Eagles are inactive for today’s game against the Dallas Cowboys: QB Michael Vick, safety Patrick Chung, CB Shaun Prater, RB Chris Polk, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly and DL Damion Square. Read more »
All eight practice squad spots are now accounted for, as the Eagles signed defensive end Brandon Bair on Wednesday morning.
The 6-6, 285-pound Bair played college ball at (you guessed it) the University of Oregon, posting 106 tackles (25.5 for a loss) and five sacks over four seasons in Eugene. He spent some time with the Chiefs and Raiders after going undrafted in 2011 but has not appeared in an NFL game.
Dennis Dixon has practice squad eligibility remaining but the Eagles decided to go in a different direction for now since they are carrying three quarterbacks on the roster.
Linebacker Emmanuel Acho, who originally made the 53-man before being released in favor of Najee Goode, cleared waivers. He could be an option down the road if he stays on the market.
Here is how the rest of the practice squad looks:
OL/DL Isaac Remington
Remington (6-6, 305) played defensive line for coaches Chip Kelly and Jerry Azzinaro at Oregon and was signed by the Eagles as an undrafted free agent this offseason. Towards the end of camp, Kelly had Remington working with the offensive line. He was released when the team trimmed its roster to 53, but is now back in the fold as a practice squad player. When the Eagles announced the move they listed him as an offensive lineman, so the experiment continues there, it appears. As we know, Kelly likes players that can fill multiple roles when called upon.
S Keelan Johnson
The Eagles made this move official on Tuesday.
Johnson (6-0, 209) attended Arizona State and signed with the Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in April. As a senior, he finished second on the team in tackles (88) and led the squad with five interceptions and 13 passes defensed.
One former Eagles scout is high on him.
I thought #ASU safety Keelan Johnson was a draftable player – 1 year starter, big hitter, love his upside in Philly
— John Middlekauff (@JohnMiddlekauff) September 2, 2013
S Trenton Robinson
Robinson (5-9, 193) was selected in the sixth round by Niners last season. He appeared in three games as a rookie but did not register a tackle.
The Michigan State alum racked up 229 tackles, nine interceptions and 21 passes defensed in four seasons with the Spartans. Tom Gamble, the team’s vice president of player personnel who came over from the Niners this offseason, helped draft the safety.
The signing was first reported by Lee Thompson of MLive.
WR Greg Salas
The 25-year-old Salas had a fine training camp and made several impressive, acrobatic catches both on the NovaCare practice fields and in preseason action. Many (including yours truly) believed the fifth wide receiver spot would come down to Salas and Russell Shepard (now with the Bucs). Instead, the Eagles went with Jeff Maehl. Salas has 27 career receptions for 364 yards.
RB Matthew Tucker
A rough start to camp for Tucker, who initially failed his conditioning test. He finished strong, though, scoring a pair of touchdowns in the preseason finale against the Jets. Assuming he doesn’t get picked off the practice squad by another team, he serves as insurance to the promising running back trio of LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk.
OT Michael Bamiro
The 6-8, 340-pound Bamiro joined the Eagles in mid-July. The Stony Brook product is raw, but he has ability (read about why he didn’t enter the draft here) and could pan out down the road. The practice squad seems like a good spot for him for now.
LB Travis Long
The 6-4, 245-pound outside linebacker was signed by the Eagles during training camp. He had 9.5 sacks as a senior at Washington State before suffering a knee injury.
Sam Lynch has a list of practice-squad eligible Eagles/former Eagles if you’re interested.
The Eagles trimmed their roster down to 53 today. Here’s a position-by-position look at where things stand after having heard from GM Howie Roseman.
Quarterbacks (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley.
Nothing to see here. Dennis Dixon and GJ Kinne were cut. Dixon has a chance of landing on the practice squad.
Vick will start, Foles will back him up, and Barkley will look to learn the offense as a rookie.
Running backs (3): LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk.
In the end, Chip Kelly decided he only needed three running backs on the 53-man roster. Undrafted free agent Matthew Tucker was let go. He could land a spot on the practice squad. There’s also a chance that the Eagles find a running back they like from another team and add him in the next few days.
McCoy will get the bulk of the carries, Brown should see plenty of action too, and Polk will likely be heard from at some point as well.
Wide receivers (5): DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Maehl.
This position was a bit of a surprise. The Eagles got rid of rookie free agent Russell Shepard and Greg Salas. Throughout camp, the thought here was that at least one of the two would make it, but they both ended up getting released in favor of Maehl.
However, Roseman made it sound like wide receiver is a fluid position for the Eagles. It would not be surprising if they added someone in the coming days and let Maehl go. Maehl was originally acquired from the Texans earlier this month and played for Kelly at Oregon. He had eight catches in the preseason finale against the Jets and drew praise from Kelly for his special-teams ability.
Jackson and Cooper will start on the outside. Avant will play the slot. And Johnson will mix in. Johnson also figures to be the lead return man, although Kelly said recently that using Jackson back there is still an option.
Tight ends (4): Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, James Casey, Emil Igwenagu.
Another surprise here was Igwenagu. He made the team as the fourth tight end over Clay Harbor. Roseman said the Eagles were looking for someone who didn’t duplicate the skill set of other guys on the roster. Igwenagu is more in the fullback/tight end role of Casey. Harbor is more in the tight end/receiver mode of Celek and Ertz. According to the GM, that was part of the reason for the decision.
Casey suffered a hamstring injury vs. the Jets, but Roseman said he should be ready for Week 1 and confirmed that had nothing to do with the decision to keep Igwenagu.
Hate to sound like a broken record, but this is another area where the Eagles could potentially replace Igwenagu with a player from another roster.
Offensive line (9): Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson, Allen Barbre, Dennis Kelly, Julian Vandervelde, Matt Tobin.
The starters are in place. From left to right, it’s Peters, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans, and Johnson.
Barbre is the first backup guard and also the first backup tackle until Kelly is healthy. Vandervelde is the backup center.
Roseman acknowledged that Michael Bamiro is probably a bit of a project and was put in a tough spot, having missed all of the spring. We wrote about Danny Watkins at length in an earlier post. And Tobin got the nod because of his positional versatility. Roseman said he was confident that Tobin could fill in at four of the five spots on the offensive line.
The Eagles added another running back to their roster today, claiming William Powell (5-9, 207) off waivers.
Powell, 25, spent last year with the Cardinals, carrying 59 times for 216 yards (3.7 YPC) behind a horrible offensive line. He also had 19 catches for 132 yards.
“The overall yards per carry wasn’t great,” said GM Howie Roseman. “But he was making a lot of yards on his own.”
LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown figure to carry the load, but the Eagles have made several moves to address depth and competition at the running back spot this offseason. They added veteran Felix Jones and also signed undrafted free agent Matthew Tucker. Tucker failed his conditioning test earlier this week, so he’s not cleared to practice.
“I think Coach [Chip Kelly] says it’s an important part of our program,” Roseman said. “You’ve got to be able to pass the conditioning test, be able to do that to play in the NFL.”
While Tucker is clearly on thin ice, he was not released. Instead, the Eagles let wide receiver Nick Miller go.
Roseman said Powell caught the Eagles’ eye last preseason when he averaged 5.9 yards per carry on 42 carries.
According to Pro Football Focus, Powell flashed some elusiveness, breaking or avoiding 10 tackles on 59 carries.
The way the roster is currently set up, Powell, Jones, Tucker and Chris Polk will likely be fighting for one or two spots.