Eagles Waive Lindley, Add OL Menkin

The Eagles have waived cornerback Trevard Lindley and added offensive lineman Nate Menkin off waivers from the Texans, the team announced.

Menkin (6-4, 296) is listed as a tackle/guard. He signed with Houston in May as an undrafted free agent. Menkin played his college ball at Mary Hardin-Baylor in Texas.

A couple of Texans writers seem to think the Eagles got a pretty good player. From Lance Zierlein of TheSidelineView.com:

I feel the same way about Texans UFA rookie tackle Nathan Menkin that I felt about Mike Brisiel the first time I saw him. He has a future

There is no way that teams who watch the tape of Texans/Vikings won’t notice #77 (Menkin) and his ability to get to 2nd level.

And from Stephanie Stradley of The Houston Chronicle:

Nice size, movement combo. Good get. Developmental.

The Eagles now have nine offensive linemen on their roster: King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny WatkinsTodd Herremans, Dennis Kelly, Demetress Bell, Dallas Reynolds and Menkin.

Lindley, meanwhile, initially made the 53-man roster yesterday when the Birds made cuts. A fourth-round pick in 2010, he was let go last summer and didn’t play in the league. But Lindley impressed the coaching staff this summer during training camp and in the preseason. Looks like there’s not a spot for him right now though.

Some other notes:

* Julian Vandervelde, whom the Eagles cut after acquiring safety David Sims from the Browns yesterday, Tweeted that he’s going to Tampa Bay to join the Bucs. Vandervelde, who could have been a practice-squad candidate, was a fifth-round pick in 2011.

* Tight end Brett Brackett, who also could have been a practice-squad candidate, has been claimed by the Jaguars, according to Jeff McLane.

* Linebacker Keenan Clayton has been claimed by the Raiders.

* Mike Kafka has cleared waivers, according to various reports. Tim reported earlier that four teams have expressed interest in Kafka. He’s now a free agent and can choose his next team.

* D.J. Jones, who the Eagles cut, has been claimed by the Giants, according to various reports.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

Kafka Generating Some Interest

The quarterback decision is in, and the Eagles have decided to go with Trent Edwards as their No. 3 quarterback. Mike Kafka has been released. So what’s next for the once projected backup to Michael Vick?

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, several teams have inquired about the Northwestern product. Kansas City, New England, Green Bay and Cleveland all have apparently shown at least some level of interest.

The 25-year-old Kafka, entering his third NFL season, has appeared in parts of four regular-season games, going 11-of-16 for 107 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. The Eagles felt comfortable enough in him to head into the season with Kafka backing up the high-flying Vick. However, Nick Foles and Edwards proceeded to have dynamite preseasons while Kafka was forced to sit out because of a fracture in his non-throwing hand.

Confirmed: Edwards Wins Role As No. 3 QB

Birds 24/7 has confirmed that  Trent Edwards has edged out Mike Kafka for the Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback job.

The news was first reported by Jeff McLane.

(Update: Kafka has since been released.)

Edwards got to run the show for the majority of the preseason finale against the Jets and again capitalized, going 22-of-32 for 197 yards with two touchdowns.

“I am happy for Trent,” said Andy Reid afterwards. “Whether it’s here or somewhere else, I’m happy for Trent.”

In four preseason games, Edwards racked up 489 passing yards with four touchdown passes and zero turnovers. He was sacked just once. It is a far cry from the beginning of his stint in Philadelphia, where he struggled at times to hit his targets even when there was no defense opposing him in practice. He played the final three quarters against the Jets Thursday and engineered four touchdown drives. It was his final showcase, and it may have helped.

“I want to be here. This is the team I want to play for,” said Edwards. “I’ve been in this guy’s shoes, I’ve been in that guy’s shoes before [signaling to the stalls on either side of him]. I feel like I can help these guys out. I feel a lot more reinvigorated with the place I’m at with football and playing this position.”

Kafka, who entered training camp as the backup to Vick,  played only nine snaps because of a fractured left hand this preseason. According to a source, the Northwestern product was informed Friday morning that this was a possibility, and was disappointed he didn’t get a chance to compete during the preseason.

“It’s tough for any player that doesn’t get to play and compete, and those are the things that I love to do and enjoy doing,” said Kafka following Thursday’s game. “When you can’t really do that, it’s disappointing.”

Edwards’ relationship with Foles may have factored into the decision-making.  The two signal-callers share a similar backstory. Both were highly-acclaimed high school quarterbacks that played behind leaky offensive lines on the collegiate level and went through their share of trials and team disappointment as a result. Edwards, like Foles, was a third-round selection, taken by the Bills in 2007 out of Stanford. He quickly made his way up the depth chart and ended up making nine starts as a rookie because of injury.

The two got to know each other through a mutual friend prior to their time with the Eagles.

“I’ve been in his shoes, I’ve been there before. I know what he’s going through,” said Edwards. “We’ve spent pretty much 24 hours a day together. We’re roommates at the hotel, we’re roommates on the road. I’m just trying to be a positive presence to him and just trying to tell him some things that I went through that might benefit him come game time, and hopefully I’m rubbing off on him a little bit.”

 Follow Tim on Twitter or email him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com

Trent Edwards Pleads His Case

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Trent Edwards.Trent Edwards was wide-eyed as he fielded questions at his locker Thursday night. The same emotion that he showed following scoring drives  was written all over his face. It looked like some combination of excitement, hope and desperation.

Edwards got to run the show for the majority of the preseason finale against the Jets and again capitalized, going 22-of-32 for 197 yards with two touchdowns. He is officially in the conversation for the third and final quarterback spot behind Michael Vick and Nick Foles. 

“I am happy for Trent,” said Andy Reid. “Whether it’s here or somewhere else, I’m happy for Trent.”

The “or somewhere else” part of that sentence could be ominous, or it could be that the coach had truly not made up his mind between Edwards and Mike Kafka on the eve of cutdown day. Either way, Edwards made it clear that somewhere else is far from a desirable destination.

“I want to be here. This is the team I want to play for,” said Edwards, growing more animated. “I’ve been in this guy’s shoes, I’ve been in that guy’s shoes before [signaling to the stalls on either side of him]. I feel like I can help these guys out. I feel a lot more reinvigorated with the place I’m at with football and playing this position.”

In four preseason games, Edwards racked up 489 passing yards with four touchdown passes and zero turnovers. He was sacked just once. It is a far cry from the beginning of his stint in Philadelphia, where he struggled at times to hit his targets even when there was no defense opposing him in practice. He played the final three quarters against the Jets Thursday and engineered four touchdown drives. After each one, the 28-year old celebrated like the game had all the meaning in the world.

“I thought he played well, I thought he did a nice job,” said Reid. “So Howie [Roseman] and I go back, we look at it tomorrow, and see what we think.”

The roster must be trimmed to 53 players by 9 p.m. Friday. There is a mandatory barbecue at Jeffrey Lurie‘s house between 12-4. Both Edwards and Kafka plan to attend.

Who will get a seat at the table?

The momentum is on Edwards’ side. He has had the opportunity to showcase himself, whereas Kafka — who came in as the backup to Vick — has played only nine snaps because of a fractured left hand.

“It’s tough for any player that doesn’t get to play and compete, and those are the things that I love to do and enjoy doing,” said Kafka. “When you can’t really do that, it’s disappointing.”

The pecking order coming into training camp was not even questioned, and didn’t even include Edwards. Does it now?

“Those decisions are above my pay grade,” said Edwards. “I want to be here. They know that, I know that and you guys all know that. So we’ll see what happens.”

Eagles 53-Man Roster: The Final Draft

Sorry, Sheil, sometimes that’s the way the cookie crumbles. You went first, you selected Mat McBriar as your punter, and hours later the news came down that he would be cut.

So I submit my final projections for the Eagles’ 53-man roster at plus-one. And no, I take no shame in gaining an advantage this way. On the line is a night of whiskey drinking on the loser for the victor and a few of his friends. Tell my wife not to wait up Friday night.

Here we go.

Quarterbacks (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards.

This is my first time putting Edwards on the team. It was just a couple weeks ago when I never thought it would happen. As I detailed yesterday,  Foles’ rise has shifted the dynamic and the rookie is an important part of this franchise all of a sudden. Edwards, given his similar history and tight relationship with Foles, might just be the answer for the No. 3 spot.

Cut: Mike Kafka

Running backs (5): LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili.

I have been trying to solve this riddle for some time now. Who will go, who will stay, do they need a traditional fullback, etc. In my final analysis, I say they do need a true fullback, so Havili is on. The Eagles seem to like Polk, too, and he’ll get scooped up if cut. So I have decided to keep them all. Chad Hall will be the odd man out as a result. He has some practice squad eligibility remaining anyway, and this is the way to ensure you are keeping the best football players on your team.

Cut: Emil Igwenagu

Wide receivers (5): DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson.

Hall is sacrificed. Marvin McNutt has not earned a spot this  preseason. The first couple weeks of the season could be a little tricky with Cooper still not all the way back from a broken collarbone. But four receivers should be enough for game day, and Johnson needs to be active as the punt returner anyway.

Cut: McNutt, Mardy Gilyard

Tight ends (2): Brent Celek, Clay Harbor.

Nothing has changed here. Let’s move on.

Cut: Brett Brackett, Chase Ford

Offensive linemen (9): King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, Demetress Bell, Julian Vandervelde, Dennis Kelly, Steve Vallos.

Remember when I had Dunlap on the verge of being cut? That was fun. Beyond the four starters returning from last season, I can’t speak with any great confidence about any of the other offensive linemen. I do, however, have confidence in Howard Mudd to somehow make it a capable group.

Cut: D.J. Jones, Dallas Reynolds, Brandon Washington.

Defensive linemen (10): Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Derek Landri, Brandon Graham,  Phillip Hunt, Vinny Curry, Cedric Thornton, Darryl Tapp.

Sheil has all eleven defensive linemen staying, and I can certainly see the logic. In my previous projections I had Tapp being dealt, but Babin’s injury has me rethinking my stance. We have no guarantees that he’ll be ready for the start of the season. And will the calf strain linger? Antonio Dixon doesn’t make it here, which leaves the Eagles with four defensive tackles. If injury strikes, they’ll have to go onto the market for someone else.

Cut: Dixon, Frank Trotter, Ollie Ogbu, Monte Taylor.

Linebackers (6): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney, Casey Matthews, Akeem Jordan.

Seems like the group to me. Don’t anticipate any surprise cuts here, but I suppose you never know.

Cut: Keenan Clayton, Adrian Moten, Ryan Rau, Monte Simmons.

Cornerbacks (6): Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Boykin, Joselio Hanson, Brandon Hughes.

A lot of analysts have Hughes being cut, especially those who are trying to get that extra defensive lineman on the roster. Could be. My thinking is that leaving Marsh as the lone option for when Asomugha moves inside might be asking for trouble. Ten defensive linemen is plenty. This is an important position as well. There’s no need for unnecessary risk.

Cut:  Trevard Lindley.

Safeties (4): Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Jaiquawn Jarrett.

In all honesty, this is not the four safeties I see being on the opening-day roster. There is just too much uncertainty, especially now that Allen has had two different injuries to the same hamstring this summer. Atogwe, Jarrett, or both may be gone, but it’s tough to say who Howie Roseman will find to take the vacated spot(s).

Cut: Phillip Thomas

Specialists (3): Alex Henery, Chas Henry, Jon Dorenbos.

You know, I’ve really been thinking about this, and I have a hunch Henry is going to surprise a lot of people and beat out McBriar. Call me crazy, Kapadia.

Cut: McBriar

Follow Tim on Twitter and e-mail him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com

Foles’ Ascension Could Give Edwards the Leg Up

The dynamic has shifted, and that could mean a spot on this team for Trent Edwards.

Coming into the preseason, each quarterback had his defined role. Michael Vick would be the starter; Mike Kafka the developmental backup with a couple years in the system; and Nick Foles the rookie unknown who would watch and learn and hopefully show some promise. Edwards, struggling to complete balls to unguarded receivers in practice, was an afterthought.

What no one accounted for was how well Foles would perform. He has become the story of the preseason and has earned the No. 2 spot behind Vick. The 6-6 slinger has stolen not just the backup spot from the injured Kafka, but also the title of the primary developmental quarterback in the system. If the goal is now to not just serve as a viable emergency option but help shepherd Foles along, then Edwards  might be the better choice.

Edwards and Foles share a similar backstory. Both were highly-acclaimed high school quarterbacks that played behind leaky offensive lines on the collegiate level and went through their share of trials and team disappointment as a result. Edwards, like Foles, was a third-round selection, taken by the Bills in 2007 out of Stanford. He quickly made his way up the depth chart and ended up making nine starts as a rookie because of injury.

The two got to know each other through a mutual friend prior to their time with the Eagles.

“I’ve been in his shoes, I’ve been there before. I know what he’s going through,” said Edwards. “We’ve spent pretty much 24 hours a day together. We’re roommates at the hotel, we’re roommates on the road. I’m just trying to be a positive presence to him and just trying to tell him some things that I went through that might benefit him come game time, and hopefully I’m rubbing off on him a little bit.”

The five-year veteran has done pretty well for himself in exhibition play. Through three preseason games he has completed 67 percent of his throws for 292 yards with a pair of touchdowns and a 96.9 quarterback rating. It is a surprise to those who watched him throw during OTA’s. Turns out, he was working through several mechanical changes. (A couple examples: The Eagles like their quarterbacks to be moving up in the pocket after their dropback; Edwards was accustomed to being stationary. This staff is also sticklers about footwork. There are specific methods for each throw, and Edwards was essentially tripping over himself early.)

“I feel like I have progressed,” said Edwards. “I feel like I know where guys are going, I know what I’m supposed to be doing with the football.

“This is a great offensive system to be in. That’s kind of the reason I came here, was to be coached by these guys and play with these guys in the locker room.”

The 6-4, 230-pounder spent four up-and-down years in Buffalo, had a short stint in Jacksonville and was picked up and then waived by the Raiders last year. According to a source, Edwards tried out for the Dolphins near the middle of the season last season but turned them down, as he was looking for a landing spot that could put his career back on a positive trajectory.

He’ll suit up at least one more time in an Eagles uniform, as he is scheduled to play the final three quarters against the Jets in the preseason finale Thursday. Then, Andy Reid and Howie Roseman will have to decide whether to go with Edwards or Kafka. Perhaps that game will help influence the decision, but more than likely the decision has been made.

At the very least, it’s an opportunity to put some more quality film out there for other coaches to see. Does Edwards, a reporter asked, have that in the back of his mind?

“Not at all,” he said. “I want to be here, that’s my goal, that’s the reason I came here. I want to be here.”

The shift in circumstance may give him his wish.

Reid Says Trade Phones Are ‘Very Active’

It’s that time of  year when teams are actively molding their rosters in search of that perfect blend of potency and balance. The Eagles just so happen to have an excess of talent at a couple key positions. It is a perfect case of supply and demand, and the calls are coming in fast and furious.

“They’re very active. Howie [Roseman] is constantly on the phone,” said Andy Reid. “That’s how it works.”

Clubs have until Friday at 9 p.m. to trim their rosters down to 53. The Eagles, given their defensive line situation primarily, will have to get creative to figure out how it will all come together. The object is to keep the best players. But can you have 20 percent of your roster made up of D-linemen?

“I would tell you that there will be some tough decisions. That means the quality is up and the talent is up,” said Reid. “I would tell you I think Howie has done a phenomenal job bringing people in here, both the pro and the college department, creating this intense competition for some spots here that is healthy and good for your football team.”

Darryl Tapp‘s name has come up quite a bit in trade speculation. He is making a base of $2.6 million this season and is a free agent in 2013. There are teams that could use a productive veteran at defensive end, and there might be some appeal to getting value and a little financial relief in return if you’re stacked up at that position like the Eagles are.

“I don’t know how I would feel about it. I’ve been through that situation before, being traded,” said Tapp, who was dealt from Seattle to Philadelphia for Chris Clemons and a fourth-rounder. “It’s different because I really enjoy being here, the coaching staff and the group of guys I’m with. We’ll see what happens when it happens.”

Tapp added, “A lot of guys here would do a very good job and probably start on a lot of different teams.”

With some intriguing prospects behind LeSean McCoy in Bryce Brown, Dion Lewis and Chris Polk, the Eagles could theoretically get something in return for one of their reserve running backs. And the sudden fight for the remaining quarterback spot gives the Eagles a couple potential options. Both Trent Edwards and Mike Kafka both might be able to fetch you at least a little something on the open market.

“The phones are ringing, so everybody’s talking all the time here. That’s the best way I can put it,” said Reid, when asked specifically about the quarterbacks. “Every position you’re talking about things; that’s just how it works right now. But to pick a specific position, I can’t do that. But just know that there are calls that are being made, and calls taken.”

Follow Tim on Twitter and email him at tmcmanus@phillymag.com.

Allen, Cooper, Kafka Update Injuries

Nate Allen left Flight Night with an injury to the same right hamstring that sidelined him earlier in camp. The safety described it as more of a spasm than a tweak and expects to be ready to go within a couple days.

“It’s nothing,” said Allen. “It’s not even close to how it was in training camp.”

Allen wasn’t scheduled to play in the regular season finale against the Jets regardless. He did not participate in practice Monday afternoon.

Andy Reid suggested that Riley Cooper most likely won’t be ready for the regular season opener against the Browns. Cooper, who is still recovering from a broken collarbone, said that he now has full range of motion but is waiting for the bone to fully heal. He has started doing strength work with a band, and says he’ll be getting X-rays soon that will further update his progress.

Mike Kafka participated in practice Monday afternoon and took snaps for the first time since fracturing his left hand in the first preseason game against the Steelers.

“It feels good,” he said. “Just got to work through it. It was the first day back.”

It has not yet been decided whether Kafka will play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Jets.

 

Kafka Cleared For Snaps; Edwards Receives Praise

 

Mike Kafka has been cleared to take snaps, Marty Mornhinweg revealed Monday. There is a growing chance that his broken left hand will be healed enough to play in the Eagles’ preseason finale Thursday against the Jets.

Kafka has seen only nine snaps this preseason, and it would probably help all parties involved if the signal-caller out of Northwestern put some more on tape.

“Players at every position typically are either better or worse in a game. You want those guys that are better in a game – the gamers, you know,” said Mornhinweg on the importance of preseason play in making evaluations. He was asked if Trent Edwards fall into the category of a “gamer.”

“I think he’s a gamer,” said Mornhinweg. “There’s no question he has some natural instincts. I think his experience has shown as well.

“He understood his role, that he was going to get very few reps, and then I expected him to go into a game and perform at a high level. And he’s done that. He’s done just a beautiful…just as I expected him to do.”

Edwards really struggled his first few weeks as an Eagle as he learned a new system and worked through mechanical changes. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would be left off the roster. With Michael Vick and Kafka lost to injury, though, Edwards joined Nick Foles in making the most of his opportunity. In three preseason games, Edwards has completed 67 percent of his throws for 292 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Mornhinweg  has followed Edwards’ career because of their Bay Area connection, from high school through Stanford and eventually the NFL. Safe to say the offensive coordinator sounds like an Edwards supporter, for whatever that’s worth.

“You can understand why he started for a long period of time because he’s got some of those natural instincts and he does things the right way. Not many surprises with him. He is quite disciplined and has some natural ability and natural instincts,” he said.

* In other QB news, Mornhinweg said that Vick is real close to 100 percent and is ready to “rock and roll.”

Reid On Vick, Dunlap, LB Competition

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jamar Chaney.Michael Vick raised some eyebrows yesterday when he told USA Today that he was “trying” to get healthy for the Sept. 9 opener against the Browns.

Andy Reid was asked today if he had any doubts that the quarterback would be ready in Week 1.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I think he’s going to be fine for the first game.”

Reid added that Vick threw today in Philadelphia with Mike Kafka, who is recovering from a fractured left hand.

“I think he feels better to where he can throw today so I think that’s a plus,” he said. “I’ll talk to him tomorrow and we’ll see how he’s doing. We have Flight Night coming up on Sunday… he’ll get an opportunity to maybe throw the ball around a little bit.”

Kafka, meanwhile, felt pretty good, according to Reid, but he said he’ll talk to head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder tomorrow about what the quarterback’s status is.

KING STILL IN FRONT

King Dunlap started at left tackle tonight, but Demetress Bell rotated in.

“I would probably tell you King’s a little bit ahead, but Bell’s doing a good job,” Reid said. “He’s getting everything together, and I’m glad we have him.”

At this point, it sure seems like it’s Dunlap’s job to lose, and he’s the favorite to start in Week 1.

COMPETITION OPEN AT LB

While DeMeco Ryans has the middle linebacker job locked down, and Mychal Kendricks will man the SAM Position, Reid said competition is still open at the WILL spot.

Brian Rolle has been playing there, but Jamar Chaney has been dealing with a hamstring injury. Rolle led the Eagles with four tackles (three solo), but also had two offsides penalties on the opening drive.

“Initially, he was in competition with Chaney for that job,” Reid said. “Chaney got some good snaps in today. I didn’t want him to re-injure that thing, and it was getting tight on him, so I took him out. But I still think there’s a competition there.”

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

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