Eagles Sign LB Stephen Tulloch | Eagles Addict
Stephen Tulloch Eagles

The-should-be-the-backup-MLB Stephen Tulloch. Photo: USATSI

According to multiple reports, the Eagles have signed LB Stephen Tulloch.  It is a move many were pondering or anticipating even before rookie backup MLB Joe Walker was lost for the season due to an ACL tear.

As for Tulloch, the thinking behind the reasoning that he hadn’t signed anywhere yet is because he wants to be a starter.  If true, he must have been just biding his time waiting for an injury to get that chance.

Plus, he obviously has the Jim Schwartz connection so it’s possible he preferred rejoining his former coach and play in a defense he is already familiar with.

Well, there was an injury and that seemed to spur action between he and the Eagles’ brass.  It’s a one-year contract worth $3 million with $1.75 million guaranteed.  Some think that is “starter money.”

I say, no it’s not.

My initial thought is that the Walker injury forced the Eagles’ hand to have a capable backup for Jordan Hicks.  They had to pay him a decent sum if they wanted to secure him now or risk losing out on him later.

It’s very similar to why the Eagles paid Chase Daniel good money to be a backup.

If you want a quality insurance plan, you have to pay for it. Of course, Daniel was also brought in to be a mentor and quasi-QB coach.

Tulloch can certainly serve as a mentor to Jordan Hicks in learning how to play middle linebacker in Schwartz’s defense.  But, with Hicks’ injury history, there’s a half-decent chance Tulloch will find himself starting at some point.

However, that shouldn’t be now.

Tulloch is mostly seen as a two-down thumper.  A guy who can play the run but would probably be a liability in coverage.  In this day and age, defenses need three-down players who can play the run and cover the pass equally well.

Having a guy who is limited really hinders a defense.  If Tulloch was out there on first and second downs, you don’t think offenses would exploit him in the passing game?

That’s why Hicks will remain the starter in the middle.

There is the train of thought that perhaps Mychal Kendricks is the guy who could be demoted.  Maybe move Hicks to the weak side and insert Tulloch in the middle.

However, that again would be detrimental.  Hicks is a natural leader for the middle of the defense and that’s where his NFL future should be.  Moving him outside would take away one of his assets, detract from his development and we’d be weakening the middle against the pass.

Furthermore, if the coaches thought Kendricks was a liability, I’d think they would have signed Tulloch before now.  It’s no coincidence that this happened immediately after the Eagles lost their backup middle linebacker.

If the coaches do decide to move Hicks outside and start Tulloch — right now at least — it would be a mistake.  While it would be good to see him stuff some running plays, it wouldn’t be so good to see him getting burned in coverage.

It’s quite possible Tulloch could see some action in certain short yardage and/or goal line situations when his run-stuffing prowess would be of use.

All in all, Tulloch is a good signing.  He’s a good fit and should be a valuable veteran presence.  I just hope he signed to be the backup and not the starter.

Category: Eagles Related

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2 Responses to Stephen Tulloch Should Be the Backup, Not a Starter

  1. Tom Jackson says:

    Well said, Dave……

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