The Philadelphia Eagles whittled down their roster yesterday to reach the 53-man limit. There were maybe a few mild surprises, but nothing that could be labeled as a shocker.
The biggest move that everyone was waiting for was the decision on the third quarterback. Prior to the cuts, I had thought that Trent Edwards played well enough to earn the spot over Mike Kafka.
However, I didn’t think Andy Reid would have the guts to pick a guy that was out of football all of last year after not being able to crack the roster of the Oakland Raiders. I thought he would stick with “his guy”, who was the No. 2 QB for all of training camp, and not let a broken non-throwing hand change his stance.
But alas, Reid actually made the right decision. Edwards was the better choice at this point. He played very well during the preseason and earned his spot on the team.
Plus, if they’re going to go with a rookie as the No. 2, it’s better to have an experienced guy behind him.
On the other hand, training camp and preseason performance apparently was not enough for Reid to keep cornerback Joselio Hanson.
Hanson entered camp in direct competition with new fourth-round rookie Brandon Boykin for the slot cornerback job. Throughout camp and preseason, Hanson performed well and out-played Boykin on every level as far as the corner position goes.
In the end, it wasn’t enough. Reid chose Boykin because he played well enough and has a higher ceiling. Plus, he’s the primary kick returner and is the better athlete overall.
The real head-scratcher here was keeping Trevard Lindley over Hanson. In my last roster prediction, I had the Eagles keeping both Hanson and Boykin but cutting Lindley. I think that would have been the better move.
As I expected, the Eagles cut DT Antonio Dixon and kept 10 defensive lineman. Dixon was clearly out-played by Cedric Thornton, whom is also a better fit for Jim Washburn’s scheme.
There was seemingly an odd delay in the releasing of one of their punters. Early reports came out the day before saying that Chas Henry won the punting job.
However, the Eagles didn’t announce the release of Mat McBriar until late last night. That seemed kind of odd, considering that we’re talking about punters here.
Maybe they initially decided to keep Henry, but then suddenly remembered his feeble pass attempt on a fake punt last year. So, they were busy having Henry and McBriar throw out-patterns and whomever showed the better arm was the winner.
I guess Henry worked on his arm strength in the offseason.
One of the last moves made last night was a trade for a safety. The Eagles initially cut O.J. Atogwe and activated Colt Anderson, giving them four safeties on the roster.
They ended up shipping a conditional draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for safety David Sims.
Sims, you might recall, is the guy that intercepted Trent Edwards’ pass and returned it for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Browns. But, the play was called back due to one of those lame roughing the passer calls.
To make room on the roster for Sims, the Eagles then cut OG Julian Vandervelde.
I feel bad for Vandervelde, by the way. He survived the initial deadline for cuts and celebrated by tweeting the following:
Philadelphia! I’m growing to love this city and I could not be more excited to be back for another year! Thank you Eagles!
Shortly after that he was cut because of the trade for Sims. That is rude reminder of how the business of the NFL goes. Vandervelde will be eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers.
Speaking of offensive lineman, the Eagles now only have eight on the roster. Their normal number is nine. I fully expect them to make another roster move in the near future to get a lineman.
That means they’ll have to lose someone from another position to make room to either bring Vandervelde back, or add another backup offensive lineman.
Who could be moved?
Well, the Eagles are currently heavy at DB and RB. One player from either of these position groups will have to be traded or cut.
The likeliest candidates to be cut are Trevard Lindley or Stanley Havili. They could also be trying to trade someone out of Brandon Hughes, Dion Lewis, Chris Polk, or Bryce Brown.
Any which way you cut the mustard, one of those six players will be gone in order to increase their OL depth.
Even though this will slightly change by opening day, here is the initial roster as of the time of this post:
QB (3): Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Trent Edwards
RB/FB (5): LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown, Chris Polk, Stanley Havili
WR (5): DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson
TE (2): Brent Celek, Clay Harbor
OL (8): King Dunlap, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, Todd Herremans, Demetress Bell, Dallas Reynolds, Dennis Kelly
DL (10): Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Cullen Jenkins, Derek Landri, Fletcher Cox, Darryl Tapp, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Phillip Hunt, Cedric Thornton
LB (6): DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Akeem Jordan, Jamar Chaney, Brian Rolle, Casey Matthews
CB (6): Nnamdi Asomugha, DRC, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes, Trevard Lindley
S (5): Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Jaiquawn Jarrett, David Sims, Colt Anderson
ST (3): Alex Henery, Chas Henry, Jon Dorenbos