• December 7, 2022

The Final Cut: What Will The Eagles Do?

The Eagles have quite a few decisions to make prior to cutting down their roster to 53 by 9pm on Friday.  Here’s a look at them and how I think they will turn out.

Offensive Line – 

Unlike many of the other offensive line coaches in the NFL who prefer size or quickness, Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd likes athletes on his lines.  That’s why I expect the Birds to grab somebody off the waiver wire after the cuts on Friday.  He doesn’t seem to be thrilled by the team’s offensive line backups.  I preferred Dallas Reynolds to Julian Vandervelde as the inside depth, but your guess is as good as mine. as for who will stay around.

Running Back – 

I’ve heard numerous Eagles watchers predict the Birds keeping four running backs, LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk.  I think Polk is a good football player and he’s as tough as anybody on the football team. He runs hard and tough, which makes me wonder why he wasn’t given a chance to win the fullback position.  Polk is also one of the team’s best pass blockers.

He’s capable of helping somebody in the NFL this year, but I don’t think it will be the Eagles.  He needs to play well for the Birds, in order to improve his chances of being picked up once he’s put on waiver.

Wide Receiver –

Marvin McNutt started making a move for a job at the start of training camp, but hasn’t been able to keep the momentum going after the first week.  I’ve like his ability to run the slant route with his great size, but he can’t separate from defenders.  Wide receivers are slow developing so that they need to be patient with him and keep him around one way or another.

He hasn’t done anything to win a job, but the fact that he was drafted in the sixth round may earn him a spot on the practice squad.

Chad Hall can’t help but be impressed by Hall as a competitor.  He plays hard and at full speed every time he walks onto the field in practice or during a game.  He’s smart and as tough as they come.  Hall is a very good backup, who has the ability to do a great job as a backup because he knows every wide receiver position.

They may decide to keep him around because they’re not totally sure that about the toughness and durability of rookie Damaris Johnson.  His future won’t be decided on Thursday night on the field because they know what he brings to the table. It’ll be decided by how Andy feels about his depth at the wide receiver position.

Defensive Line Position – 

Darryl Tapp is a passionate football player, who is playing the best football of his career.  Like Trent Cole, Tapp does a good job against the run and the pass.  He has been pushed to another level by the competition from Brandon Graham and Phillip Hunt.  Like the rest of the defensive line, Tapp refuses to be blocked and gets off the ball like a shot.  Last week, he went by Browns All-Pro offensive tackle Joe Thomas like he wasn’t even there.

I think the deck is stacked against him here because of the numbers.  I expect him to be traded to the Browns or the Colts, sometime between now and 9pm on Friday.

Antonio Dixon was a dominant player for the Birds a couple of years ago.  He is a classic two-gap defensive tackle, who can stand up a blocker and drive him back into a hole.  Dixon does his best work when he’s clogging up running lanes by taking on double team blocks.  The 300-plus pounder loves to play at the line of scrimmage while Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn believes in playing the game across the line of scrimmage in the opponent’s offensive backfield.

He could excel in a 3-4 or a 4-3, but he doesn’t really fit the Washburn “Wide Nine” scheme.  Dixon doesn’t have the explosiveness of the other defensive tackles, but they may keep him around because they might need his size to slow down teams who try to wear the Eagles down with their running game.

Linebacker Position –

Casey Matthews hasn’t done much this preseason because of a high ankle sprain.  He didn’t play very well in the first game and he wasn’t outstanding at training camp, but he will probably be kept around over backup linebacker Ryan Rau.  I thought Rau played well in the Browns game.  He forced a fumble with a big hit and was around the ball all night.

Keenan Clayton really helped himself last Friday with that blocked punt.  I was shocked to see the Birds go after a blocked punt against a team they’re going to play in two weeks to start the season.  Ir was a great play by Clayton who took the ball right off the punter’s foot.  Clayton is an athlete who could be utilized as an extra safety versus the two-tight end sets.  I think he would be a good matchup for most of the tight ends in the league, but the Birds have Kendricks in the SAM linebacker position.

Safety Position –

I still don’t feel good about the Eagles safety position.  I would like to see the Birds move a cornerbacks like Brandon Hughes  to the safety position.  He’s as big as our safeties and much faster.  Hughes plays a physical cornerback and should be able to slide inside.   It’s too late to do that this year, but the Birds need to think about converting some of these corners into safeties.

Phillip Thomas came into camp with very little notoriety, but I think he’s out performed O.J. Atogwe and Jaiquawn Jarrett.  I haven’t been impressed with the performance of Atogwe or Jarrett, but Thomas has been running all over the place making tackles.  I’ve seen him punish receivers and running backs in the open field with tough hits.  Thomas has also made some good plays in pass coverage.  He’s a long shot to make the team, but I think he’s outplayed his competition at the safety position.

If I were making the call I would release Atogwe and Jarrett and hang on to Thomas, who has played some inspired football.

At times I feel neither Atogwe nor Jarrett move well enough to play out in the open field in the secondary.  You don’t see them close on receivers or the ball to make any plays.


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August 28, 2012 3:51 pm

GM-Wanna-Be Paulman’s 53 Man Roster for 2012 Eagles

ST (3) K-Henery, P-McBriar, LS- Donebros

Offense (24)
QB (3) Vick, Foles & Edwards
RB (3) McCoy, Lewis , Brown
FB (1) Clay Harbor (that’s right Clay Harbor)
TE (2) Celek & Brackett
WR (5) D-Jax, Maclin,Avant, Cooper, D Johnson
OL (10) Dunlap,Mathis,Kelce,Watkins, Herremans as Starters
(OT Kelly,OT DJ Jones,Interior D Reynolds,Vendervelde and Vallos)

Defense (26 Players)

DE (5) Cole,Babin,Hunt,Graham & Curry
DT (5) Jenkins,Cox,Landri,Thornton & Dixon
LB (6) Ryans,Kendricks,Jordan,Chaney, Rolle, & Player off Waiver Wire)
CB (6) Asmo,DRC,Hanson,Marsh,Boykin and Hughes
Safety (4) Allen, Coleman, Thomas and a Player off Waiver Wire)

A Couple of Trades I see happening

Eagles Trade OT Demtress Belll (who is just not a fit for Mudd’s scheme but another team will take a chance on him l;ike the Steelers,Cardinals)

Eagles Trade DE Darryl Tapp to a Team needing pass Rusher in the 4-3 Scheme and not the COlts or Browns at G-Man listed abouve but a teams like the Panthers,Vikings,Falcons,TB Bucs could all use some DE help

Possible trade – CB J Hanson to the Lions,Panthers,Bengals for there are many teams in need of an experienced Cover Slot CB..

I think Kafka, Polk, Demtress Bell, Havilli, Chad Hall, Mardy Gilyard, Matthews Jr, Clayton, Atogwe, & Jarrett may hood up with other Teams, but just are not good enough to make the Eagles Squad.. There are some Teams with LB and Safety Depth (Cardinals,Giants,Ravens,Steelers,Bears,Panthers,49ers.Seahawks,Packers) who will end up releasing better players than the Eagles have at these and I would target some of the players from their waiver wire to add a LB and Safety

And if I really had my way, I would Trade WR Jeremy Maclin who would returrn a Solid LB or Safety and then keep Mardy Gilyard as the 5th WR

August 28, 2012 6:12 pm
Reply to  paulman

Not that you asked for a critique but my 2 cents: No Clay Harbor @ Fullback, he’s my #2 Tight End, Brackett to the practice squad. Havili @ Fullback. I’d take my chances on paying Demetress Bell and hoping he gets better than risking the possibility of having DJ Jones in there at any point, not that I thought he played bad necessarily but Bell has more experience in the league. I tried to crowbar in any reasoning for keeping Tapp on the roster but it just doesn’t make sense and he’s the odd man out due to his salary, so I agree with you and I hope we can get some trade value out of him because it will be tough to let him go, let alone for free. I keep Matthews, not that I think he’s that spectacular but I think he does deserve another year to get better. I think he could be a decent backup and good special teamer at some point but that would probably be his ceiling. Plus Juan probably thinks he has good muscle memory ;P With the safety’s I would probably keep Otogwe unless there’s a player from the waiver wire that could be suitable and can play Special Teams since Otogwe can’t, then hope that Boykin can either take Hanson’s job or be serviceable enough so that I could try to trade Hanson so I could bring Colt Anderson back when he’s healthy.

August 29, 2012 1:45 pm

If eagles cut polk i bet the patriots pick him up.. belichek looked very interested in polk as he watched him .. it would be stupid for us to cut him

August 29, 2012 2:07 pm

Pats? They already have 13 Rbs and 17 TEs on the roster. No room.

August 29, 2012 2:09 pm

ummmm, Vinnie, they can cut one of the RB’s….you know…..to make room

August 29, 2012 2:37 pm

Polk and Havili, really dont have much of a size difference…Havili 1 inch taller and about 8 pounds heavier…I think this gives more reason as to why the Eagles should keep Polk on as the FB…Really I dont think there is anything that Havili can do that Polk can’t…But the other way round is a different story!

August 29, 2012 2:42 pm


August 29, 2012 2:45 pm

Why does anyone in their right mind think the Eagles are going to carry 4 RB’s
They rarely ever use the back-up (#2RB) as it is.. Eagles Carry 3 RB’s and 1 FB and that’s it.. It will never grow to 5 Total under Coach AR.. McCoy will be 85-90% of the touches with Lewis.Brown spltting the other 10-15% and besides, the Eagles Pass the Ball 60 % of the Time so whatss the point of having 3-4 RB’s on your Roster when you have needs at other Positions .. C’mon Guys..

August 30, 2012 2:48 pm
Reply to  paulman

I agree 100%. There is zero chance Polk makes this roster as 4th running back and especially as a Fullback, they didn’t even bother to try it during the preseason, maybe tonight but I doubt it. Also he doesn’t have the size, he’s 230lbs. max. Havili is between 240 and 250 not to mention he has more knowledge of the offense. That being said I would love to keep him but I don’t see any way it’s going to happen.

August 29, 2012 2:47 pm

Has anyone watched other Pre-Season Games.. Teams across the NFL are loaded up with good #3 & #4 RB;’s.. I don’t think Polk will garner a whole lot of interest except from possibly the Ravens,VIkings & SD Chargers (unless some Teams start having Injuries

August 29, 2012 2:56 pm

Polk over Havili…..thats what I’m saying…not saying anything about keeping 4 RB’s…Polk would be listed as the FB. With McCoy, Lewis, and Brown at RB…But since Polk hasn’t played the FB position in preseason I guess Havili is the lock to win….As G stated above, Polk should have been giving the opportunity to win the FB spot…