• December 2, 2021

Reactions To The Eagles’ Final Cuts and 53-Man Roster

Trent Edwards Stays, Mike Kafka Goes

When Andy Reid announced Mike Kafka wouldn’t play Thursday, and that he had seen enough of him to make a proper evaluation, I was convinced that the fix was in, and that Trent Edwards was going to be given three full quarters of action as a favor to simply showcase himself to other teams. I’m glad the Eagles chose to keep the veteran over the weak-armed project.

I think Ray Didinger of Csnphilly.com said it best. If Nick Foles’ terrific play had earned him the right to surpass Kafka on depth chart as the number-two quarterback, the same had to be true for Edwards. The former Bill played so well in the preseason, he’d more than earned the right to be on this team.

Kafka had shown very little in his first two preseasons, and the only thing he ever seemed to have going for him was his grasp of the system.

Polk Stays, Eagles Keep Four Running Backs

It may be a bit unusual, but for at least one season the Eagles are going to go four-deep at the running back position. And hey, why not? Rookie runners Bryce Brown and Chris Polk were both tremendous in the preseason, and made it impossible for the Eagles to cut either of them. I’ll be curious to see how much, if at all, the Eagles will work the rookies into the offense.

I’m excited for both of the young guys. Brown’s potential is obvious, and Polk’s powerful running back style has brought back memories of Duce Staley for me.

All Six Defensive Ends Stay

Another surprise from the final cuts was that the Eagles made room for all six of their defensive ends. We knew Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Phillip Hunt, Vinny Curry, and Brandon Graham were locks, but there didn’t seem to be room for Darryl Tapp. The Eagles were able to find some room, and they’ve now got one of the deepest groups of ends in the league. This is a decision that I like, you can never have too many healthy pass rushers.

Familiar Faces Shown The Door

While most of the players released on Friday were young players, a couple of the cuts were veterans that have played important roles on the Philadelphia defense in the past. Cornerback Joselio Hanson, defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, linebacker Keenan Clayton, and safety O.J. Atogwe are all gone.

The Eagles drafted Hanson’s replacement in the slot with Brandon Boykin this year. As Garry Cobb mentioned in an earlier article, Hanson’s inability to succeed as an outside cornerback is what probably cost him his job. The Eagles wanted to keep six corners, and felt they were better off keeping an extra young player that could play outside instead of keeping two guys that could only play the slot.

Antonio Dixon just didn’t fit in with the scheme that Jim Washburn is trying to run. He was the team’s best defensive tackle a couple of years ago, but didn’t show the same explosive play that he had in 2010 during this training camp.

Keenan Clayton was a very puzzling case during his time in Philadelphia. He seemed to have some talent, but never got an opportunity to impact the defense at one of their weakest positions (linebacker). The coaches just never seemed to trust him. In the two years that he was on the team, the Eagles gave multiple opportunities to guys like Akeem Jordan, Moise Fokou, Jamar Chaney, and Casey Matthews, but the thought of putting Clayton on the field was apparently laughable. I’ll be interested to see if he goes somewhere else and succeeds.

O.J. Atogwe just doesn’t have anything left in the tank. His days as a premier safety are long behind him, and he couldn’t impress the coaches in a situation where they are desperate for any kind of competent safety play.

Jarrett and Matthews Survive

I can understand, if not agree with, most of the decisions made to shape the final roster today, but Jaiquawn Jarrett and Casey Matthews surviving the cut are ones that I disagree with.

Jarrett has been a disaster. The team hoped he would challenge for a starting spot, but was barely able to hold on to his roster spot. I can accept the fact that he’s still on the roster only because the safety position was so weak, and it would have looked bad for them to release a second-round pick after just one season.

The Matthews decision I’m even more upset with. The second-year linebacker showed very little last season, and spent all the preseason inactive with injuries. I thought that both Ryan Rau and Keenan Clayton had more to offer this team than Matthews, but the Eagles’ coaches have always been high on the Oregon product.

 

Denny Basens

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35 Comments

  • I dont like the 5 Man WR Corps
    After D-JAx,Maclin and Avant, unprovens players like Cooper and Damrius Johnson… Mardy Gilyard should have made the Cut.. What happens if D-JAx or MAcln Get njured, lots of unproven WR (Avant and Cooper are beterinthe slot and only having 1 Speed WR to back-up D-Jax & MAclin is cutting it short.. A 5th/6th Wr will contribute more tha the $th RB.. Dumb move
    Also look that OLSituation …2 unproven back-ups at OT and the onl Back-up Interior OL is Dallas Reynolds.. Again, way to thin here..An INjury to Herreamns or Kelce will be devastating to this Offense.

    • I agree, the depth on the O line as well as at Safety could really kill us this year. I can’t imagine they are done at either of those positions. Which is where Tapp and Polk could come into play. I’ll be really surprised if we go into the first game with 4 running backs on the roster and without doing anything to create solid depth at the aforementioned positions. While I would like to think that they may be keeping Tapp for the season I have a feeling it may just be to make sure Babin will be alright. I’m ok with the receivers, remember they went with Cooper when Maclin was out last year and he did ok. They could always call up Chad Hall from his job at State Farm if they needed more depth.

    • What? Are you grumbling about lack of depth at WR?

      A couple ofposts ago you were going on about how Birds should trade Maclin cause young guns could step up.

      Now there’s no depth if Maclin gets hurt?

      • Vinnie the Inventor, please tell me about your mad love for “Klob.”

        Is “the wind” still a problem? Paid millions and benched in favor of John Skelton?

    • paulman, they’re not keeping all these running backs I bet they are listening to offers right now. I persnally would make Lewis available.

    • Aww Cmon Paul, we told you Mardy Gilyard was booty. I give credit where credit is due; He played well, but his ceiling is no where near Damarius Johnsons who was more prolific than he was in college. They made the right decision buddy.

  • Very relieved that the Eagles went the right direction by keeping Edwards instead of Kafka. Certainly a departure from past mistakes where keeping their draft picks outweighed the results of the competition on the field. Very pleased with them finding a way to keep Polk and Tapp, I thought for sure they would be gone. However I wouldn’t be surprised if one ore both were either traded or released at some point to increase depth at other positions or collect draft picks. Would have liked to have kept Rau, he stood out at both linebacker and on special teams, even though he was playing against weak competition, he was instinctual and made plays that I have yet to see Matthews make in the same circumstances. Hopefully we can keep him on the practice squad until next year or even bring him up this year if somebody gets injured. The safety position is really scary, if either of the starters go down they’re in trouble. Someone please tell me why we cut Phillip Thomas and traded for this David Sims. Thomas looked decent to me and if you were going for someone to develop why not him? Supposedly Sims had a good camp with the Browns and had 2 ints, one returned for a td during the preseason so maybe he’s be ok but everything I’ve read says he’s still a 5″9′ project who has no muscle memory when it comes to practicing Coach Juan’s fundamentals. Dixon had to go, either the scheme is not right for him or he’s lost it, he does not look like the same player he was a couple years ago. For those who think we need him to stuff the run, he wasn’t stuffing the run any better than anyone else was and showed zero pass rush ability. Also, i’m glad we finally don’t have to hear anymore about how fast and athletic Keenan Clayton is and then never see him do anything on the field. I’m not surprised about Hanson but I am that Lindley made it over Hanson, but I do agree that Hanson is a complete liability on the outside which is what made him expendable. And finally, I would be fine with any of the following players on the practice squad: Phillip Thomas, Ryan Rau, Brett Brackett, Chase Ford, Marvin McNutt, Emil Igwenu, Chad Hall and Brandon Washington. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Rau, Brackett and McNutt were given opportunities with other teams. Rau and Brackett because of their play and McNutt because of his potential coming out of college, he certainly did not play well.

  • The Eagles screwed up with the Curry pick. If they were so deep on the d-line why did you draft Curry? Your weak on the oline, safety and LB. Curry wont play for 2 years. Im not saying Curry wont be a good player down the road but couldnt have that pick been more useful at another position? I know fans are gonna say who knew Hunt, Graham and Tapp were gonna excel. Im gonna say its someones job in that organization to know. Babin and Cole need breaks but I would guess maybe 15 plays a game is all I want them off the field. Curry will be inactive all year which equals wasted high draft pick.

  • Your 2nd round pick Curry is 3rd string. I dont care what the reasons are I consider that a very high wasted pick.

  • rau and gilyard should not have been cut

  • Matthews should be starting at linebacker….

    He’s a shark in the water…

    • Yeh right…fix that prescription pal…MATTHEWS SUCKS!!!

    • yeah right

    • Get a clue bsmvideos….Matthews sucks to high heaven, and should have never been drafted..What the h@%%^$$ are you talking about?

  • Vinnie, did you read my post (or understand it) My premise on trading Macling was contingent on Signing Burress and keeping Gilyard with the addison of Damaruis Johnson would more that make up for the loss of Maclin.. Now with only 5 WR and still a big question mark about Cooper and JOhnson, I believe this has become a questionalbe position on the Team and probably the 3rd Rated WR corps in the NFC East behind the Giants & Cowboys for sure and the Redksins right behind them (Garcon,Moss,Hankerson..)

    To Greymares, I believe the Eagles will release on of their RB,s there is no Trade Value in Lewis,Brown or Polk for they are simply unproven at the NFL Level, there were many outstanding looking RB’s released and still some Veteran, proven RB’s out on the street… IT’s like saying Safety Jarrett has trade value which he doesn’t.. The only player on this current 53 Man Roster who is on the bubble would be DE D Tapp or B Graham and possibly OT D Bell since OT’s are a at premium… LB’s Rolle,MAtthews,Chaney would not bring in anything in return and either would CB Lindley or Hughes

  • I can’t believe I am saying this but I agree with Paulman. I understand there is more talent at RB, but why keep 4? This team never runs the ball and loves to throw. The running numbers from last year are deceiving because Vick was running on passing plays. Could have gotten rid of polk and kept Gilyard or Mcnutt IMO

  • I’m ok with the Eagles having 4 RBs if they are capable of playing on ST. My main concern is lack of depth at the Oline. I’m concerned about the S position but because safeties are scarce now there really isn’t much the eagles can do. With the oline, the eagles need to find one additional linemen in order to have adequate depth there; having only 3 backups is absurd. Pretty sure they make a move for one but that means someone is getting cut. And since the Eagles have 11 DBs now, I’m thinking they will cut a player from the secondary.

  • I agee with PAge above.. an OT to look for is Andrew Datko who was released by the Packers.. He was a Top 5 OT in Draft going into his Senior Year but tore his ACL and missed the 2nd half of his Senior Season while at Florida State.. He’s 6’6″ about 300 Lbs but has the athleticism that Coach Mudd likes and demands.. He probably wouldn’t contribute much this Year as he’s only 9-10 months removed from ACL surgery but could be a real good pick-up and understudy behind Herremans for the future.. I can see the Eagles waiving CB T Lindley and signing Datko by days end

  • or waiving Safety Jarrett who should not have made the 53 Man Roster to begin with

    • I agree Paul

  • Trevard Lindley was waived and the Eagles claimed Nate Menkin, a Guard/Tackle at 6’4 296, who was an UDFA of the Texans.

  • I can’t believe I’m actually thinking let alone typing this but, gulp, could It possibly be that Reid is keeping 4 RBs because he plans on running more because of his QB and O line? Let’s face it, EVERYONE including Risd & company knows Vick can’t get rid of the ball quick enough and will take major hits, read injuries here, so what’s the next best thing if you know you can’t teach a duck to say oink? Run the ball.

  • daggolden you argue for a draft strategy that killed the Eagles in 2010 and 2011. If you are not drafting for value you are reaching for need. Curry was being talked about as a late first early 2nd and was a steal value-wise at the 59th pick. You argue we should have gone after a S, LB or O-line.

    LB: Zach Brown was taken at 54 (didn’t like him anyways), but the next LB wasn’t taken until Demario Davis was drafted at 77 which was considered a stretch at the time. Even if we did draft him for WILL or SAM who’s to say he would have started? And if he did you would be bitching that we had 2 rookies starting at LB

    S: This Safety class was WEAK outside of Barron and any selection at 59 would have probably been considered more of a reach than the Jarret pick in 11 (again reaching for need than drafting for value).

    OL: Come on you need to be more specific. The only O-line that was available that should have even been considered is Kelechi Osemele who was taken by the Ravens at 60. Osemele is a big body who has been doing well with the Ravens, but doesn’t fit into Mudd’s scheme that stresses athleticism and the ability to get to the second level.

    Curry: The roster isn’t set in stone yet and Tapp could still be traded. Curry has done what he’s supposed to and been tremendous against opponents’ 2s, 3s and 4s. He’ll get playing time this year and we’ll have to see How Cole, Tapp, Graham and Hunt play in 2012. It wouldn’t be a stretch to think that 2 of those guys are gone in 2013. Babin needs another big year, graham needs to continue his progression into a very good rotational DE and Hunt has to basically do what he’s been doing so far in the PS. Tapp is most likely gone in 2013 and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Babin cut/traded if he doesn’t hit double digit sacks again as he’s owed $6M in 2013.

    Again sorry for the diatribe, but drafting for need got us into this mess. Lets see what the rookies can do before we start hammering the FO

  • Curry was agreat pick at #59 and you can never have enough strong Pass-rushers.. We will see this pay off by the 2014 when Cole and Babin are on their downside of their careers.. Graham’s level of play this Camp as well as the improvement of Phillip Hunt was not a given so drafting Curry (where most Draft niks had him in the 40-50 Range) was a steal and needed to provide Pass-rushing talent for years to come ..

  • I can’t for the life of me see why the Eagles kept Casey Matthews. He’s not fast,
    his reaction time is slow, he’s not a great hitter. Someone please tell me what are his strong points.

  • Patriots release LB Bobby Carpenter who was a former high Draft Pick of the Cowboys back in the Parcell Days.. Still a pretty good Special Teams PLayers and a voaible back-up who woul be an upgrade over Matthews,Rolle & Chaney..

  • Winslow has been released from Seattle and the Eagles should sign him. He’s a vast upgrade from Celek…Faster, stronger, with great hands.

  • Stay away from Kellen Winslow who is injury prone and overrated to begin with…He has been a cancer everywhere he has gone and would not fit into the Eagles culture at all.. The Eaglews are ok with Celek and Harbor at TE

  • watched a lot of Patriots preseason and yes Pman, Carpenter still looks pretty good and would be a definite upgrade from those three.

  • Winslow has had something like 204 knee surgeries, I think. That dude is a couple of hits away from being done.

    That they kept Jarrett and Matthews is pretty frustrating. The only thing I can think is that they’re going to try to essentially platoon Boykin and Jarrett at the nickle spot and decide which depending on whether they believe it’s a pass or a run.

    It would be nice to see the Eagles cut Matthews in favor of a legitimate waived SAM prospect in like Kourtnie Brown, who just got cut from the 49ers. It also would be nice to see the Eagles swap Chad Hall for Plexico Burress and Trent Edwards for Donovan McNabb to solidify the roster.

    • 2-4 knee surgeries (typo)

  • O-line scares me right now. Dunlap looks like he has improved but I don’t know what he can do in a 16 game schedule..I know they want Bell to eventually take the position but I think he might scare me even more. The only positive about this is that pretty much most of all the NFL teams in the league have shaky Oline issues as well. I honestly cant think of one without any question marks..would have probably said TB but they just lost their all pro guard for the season. The Olines in our division are nothing to brag about either so we have that going for us too.

    I have big concerns when it comes to the Safety position, especially the depth. JJ just cant play to me at all..really disappointing. Whats also disappointing is watching the play of Bell and Landry on the JETs, since we could have had either. I just think they have looked really good so far..I know Bell picked them over us but Im sure it we offered more money it would have been different story. I don’t know what the numbers were but could have maybe offered more than just a similar offer. he would have probably been the best solution for this year until the next draft comes up which is loaded is some ridiculous safety talent.

    On Winslow, that guy sucks. Why the hell would you want him over Celek, maybe the most underrated TE in the league. You think Winslow would stay in and block like Celek does mostly when our Oline is struggling for the better of the team than his own personal glory? Nope..and that dude cant stay healthy one bit…Celek will play hurt as hell and still give you every thing he has.

    If you want to upgrade offense then you go and get Plax who gives us some size. I don’t think he is done. I mean he was one of the most productive redzone threats in the league LAST YEAR with horrible QB play. He wouldnt have to play substantial snaps here keeping him fresh. Im sure once week 1 rolls around he will get signed since I dont think the contract $ is guaranteed for the season and you can cut him freely if he stinks it up. Give me Plax without any ankles over Cooper any day.

  • Kellen Winslow is a SOLDIER

  • Kellen Jr is a bum and is nothing like his Father was on or off the field…

  • The only ones on the roster that should have flat out been cut were Jarrett, and Casey Matthews, Ryan Rau is this years Derek Landri. Trevor Laws should have been cut after training camp, but because he was a second round pick, and stubborness admitting they made a mistake in drafting him, they kept him although it was obvious to everyone he sucked during the preseason.

    Casey Matthews(Trevor Laws) didn’t play due to injury, whileRau earned the right to make the official 53 man roster. Matthews will be cut during the season, He sucks. Just like Dan Connor.

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