Wake-Up Call: Position Switches For Current Eagles?
We’ll knock out two questions today because they are linked by a common thread.
The first is from reader Hassahn, via e-mail:
My biggest fear is Brandon Graham leaving and Trent Cole getting cut. Those moves would decimate the position. In that scenario, I think Marcus Smith II would be in line to start. My question is, what are the chances Vinny Curry is asked to make the switch to OLB?
And the second one comes from Twitter:
— John Intindolo (@JBrown99RIP) February 5, 2015
Both questions obviously involve current Eagles switching positions (ignoring the jersey question for now, of course). So let’s tackle them one-by-one.
I would put Curry changing positions in the “nearly no chance” category. He found a home last year as a situational pass-rusher, and although Curry only played 32 percent of the snaps, he finished second on the Eagles with nine sacks to go along with four QB hurries. Curry tied for the team lead with four forced fumbles.
Given his frame, he’s not going to be a starter in the Eagles’ two-gap 3-4. But that’s OK. Curry found a role and made the most of his opportunities. He’s under contract for only one more season and will likely look to find a spot where he can play more snaps after 2015. But given that he’s put on weight and found a fit, it makes little sense to have him switch positions now.
The Carroll question is more intriguing. At 5-11, 205, he has the size to play safety, and coaches raved about his smarts last season. Carroll was used as a dime linebacker and has already been asked to match up with tight ends and slot receivers man to man. He seemed like a willing tackler in run support. But obviously, we didn’t get to see him play deep as a centerfielder.
Carroll was OK in his role last year. And while a potential position change is worth discussing, I don’t think we’ll see it. For starters, the Eagles very well could need Carroll at cornerback. Right now, they’ve got Cary Williams, and that’s it. Bradley Fletcher’s a free agent. We know they’re unwilling to give Brandon Boykin a shot out there. And Jaylen Watkins didn’t get on the field until the last game of the season.
It’s likely that the Eagles will address cornerback in free agency and/or the draft, but it’s also possible that Carroll is legitimately competing for a starting job on the outside next summer.
Also, recent Eagles teams have provided example after example of how poor safety play can be the difference between wins and losses. They hit last offseason with Malcolm Jenkins, and they need to try to hit again. Switching a corner over in hopes that he’ll be an upgrade seems too risky.
Overall, I guess what I’m saying is I don’t think Curry or Carroll will be switching positions in 2015.
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We’ll go through the questions once a month and randomly select a reader for a free Birds 24/7 t-shirt.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Weekend reading: draft buzz, Chip Kelly’s power, Marcus Mariota notes and more.
“For everyone but Kelly, he’s a projection because of the type of offense he runs.” Mike Mayock on Mariota, Jameis Winston and the QBs.
An ex-scout shares his background report on Nick Foles from when he was coming out of Arizona.
The offseason outlook on Eagles tight ends: On James Casey’s future, free-agent options and more.
NFC East roundup: How close are the Giants to a full rebuild?
Tra Thomas was surprised to be let go. He also said Kelly wants as many Oregon people as possible in the building and noted that the Eagles could benefit from a running quarterback.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Marcus Smith talked to 97.5 The Fanatic about Tra Thomas’ recent comments that he has a high schooler’s body. Via Matt Lombardo of NJ.com:
“What I’ll say is … Tra was right,” Smith said. “My body type has to change. I can’t look like a quarterback forever. That’s what I used to play. I’m still, during the season trying to look like that type. Right now I’m 265 [pounds], I’m really eating well, trying to maintain that weight … I’m running with that weight and I’m feeling really good right now.
“Everything that Tra has said, he’s already told me before. When he says that, it’s just the truth. I just have to get bigger and stronger and be productive at that weight so the coaches can be impressed.”
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz offers his thoughts on Jake Locker as a potential QB option:
As to Locker, could the Eagles actually have some interest? Sure. He’s 26. He is a very good athlete. The price will be right. But let’s also understand he would be a step back from Mark Sanchez. Let that sink in for a moment.
Locker has always been more athlete than QB to me. At Washington he was able to run the ball and help his team to win with leadership and toughness. The Huskies lost to Nebraska 56-21 in a game where Locker went 4-20 with 2 INTs. They had a rematch in the bowl game and UW won 19-7. Locker was only 5 of 16 in that game, but he ran the ball well and made a couple of clutch plays.
We’ll examine the offseason outlook at offensive line.