Mailbag: On Matthews And Boykin’s Role

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

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I see where you’re coming from but I view those situations differently. 

Jordan Matthews is a rookie that the Eagles are hoping will contribute early and often this season. They believe he is best suited for the slot (at least for now) and are grooming him accordingly. Not sure you want to overload a first-year wideout and have him play multiple positions right out of the gate when you need him to be good at a specific position immediately.

  “With Jordan, we really feel like he does such a good job inside that we just continue to improve there,” said Pat Shurmur

Matthews will get an occasional look outside but having him concentrate mainly on one spot to start makes sense to me. 

To your point, they had a similar philosophy when it came to Boykin last year: Billy Davis didn’t want to put too much on Boykin’s plate, and had him focus on the nickel rather than constantly swinging him from outside to inside corner and back again. Boykin thrived in that role, so you can’t totally knock the game plan. 

Boykin is now in his third year. He proved he could not only handle what Davis asked of him, but emerged as the defense’s top playmaker while seeing just half the snaps. It’s time to at least experiment with expanding his role. Put measurables aside in the name of getting your best 11 out there. This is a defense that has lacked difference-makers. They have found one in Boykin. Why not try to maximize that asset?

Ifeanyi Momah would have to have a really strong preseason to make the squad in my opinion. He looks much better, no doubt. He is using his size more and has shown well during one-on-one drills. For me, he doesn’t shine quite in the same way during 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s.

My guess is he’s fighting for the last receiver spot (assuming they keep six) with Jeff Maehl and Arrelious Benn primarily. Nobody has separated from the pack, so Momah in theory has an outside shot. But he needs to really perform in a game setting to make it happen.

Don’t think so. It’s never really felt like a competition, more like they brought Murderleg in to try and push Alex Henery. Has Spear’s presence motivated him?

“No,” he said. “I think if you’re here by yourself or with someone else there is always someone out there that could take your job. It’s more I’m worried about myself than what is going on around me.

“I don’t put myself in a competition. What he does, he does. I’m more worried about how I perform day-to-day rather than how we’re performing against each other.”

It would have made more sense to me to bring in a veteran that had a good chance to win the job. In this set-up it felt like it was Henery’s all along, and I’m not sure what that really accomplishes.  

In the spring, I would have said maybe. After watching Barkley this summer, I’m thinking no. The second-year QB looks more in command of this offense. He is more decisive and the ball is coming off his hand with more authority. Not sure how his career will turn out, but I think holding onto him is the right move at this point.

It sounds like Nolan Carroll will start off as the dime corner, though it’s absolutely possible that he works his way into a starting gig eventually. If Bradley Fletcher is playing better than Cary Williams and the coaching staff decides Carroll needs a starting spot, then I guess Williams would be the odd man out. I will say that Williams brings an edge to this secondary (and the defense overall) that I think is good for them. He is extremely competitive and is totally invested whether he’s in the middle of the action or cheering on the third stringers from the sideline at practice. Level of play is the most important thing, obviously. Assuming that is close or equal to his competitors, I believe Williams holds onto a starting spot.