Roster Analysis: Evaluating the Eagles’ Offense
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.