WHEN Training Camp opened up, we more or less already knew who we’d be relying on this season. We also had a pretty good handle on who was more or less just a “camp body”. For the most part the Eagles roster has shaped up along those lines. For the most part the guys who earned spots have made the cut.
For the most part.
At QB we got a Wentz/Foles pairing, which surprises no one. Given that our 3rd string TE can fill in at emergency QB, there’s no need to stockpile three, while #1 and #2 are healthy. Speaking of TE, that position also shook out as predicted.
I wish I could say that I was surprised that RB Donnel Pumphrey made the roster. He did nothing to earn the spot, but the Eagles brass doesn’t care to discard a 4th round pick. That will unfortunately send a message to players about how this organization views and rewards performance.
Marcus Johnson was already a stretch, but somehow WR Shelton Gibson made the roster, while Bryce Treggs didn’t. This too will send a message to players about how this organization views and rewards performance. Then again we did spend a draft pick on him…(smh)
Offensive Line seems a little light at 8 players. Then again, even the 9 that I predicted seemed light. Ideally you want at least a back-up for every starter. (This also does wonders in practice.) It’s hard to “push” a young player who doesn’t have to look over his shoulder. Sacred cow status sends the wrong message.
It would have been nice to keep Alex McCalister, but there is just no sane way to keep 6 DE’s on this roster. We’re already pushing it with 5 (and that’s only because Curry can be kicked inside on pass rush downs). Still, if McCalister could cover even a little, he’d have been re-cast as an OLB and probably would challenged for a starting job.
Unfortunately the DT position played out as I thought it would. The Eagles kept 7th round pick Elijah Qualls, and cut the free agents. For the record I’m far less impressed with Qualls than some are. With no starts in the preseason, Qualls faced the bottom of an opponents roster in every game . That wasn’t so for Justin Hamliton, a free agent whom Qualls beat out. Then again at #5 on the depth chart, it will hardly matter.
At LB the Eagles went with 6 players not 7 (3 OLB , 3 MLB). I’m guessing that they aren’t done here. 6 LB’s is too few to go into a season with. You need LB’s on Special Teams to beat blocks faster, close out areas, and draw block in the back penalties. We can’t use starters to fill in there, because it tires them out for defensive downs. Right now we’re at 6, but I’d be appalled if it didn’t change by kick-off.
We kept 5 Safeties. I was sure of four of them. The 5th was something like a surprise, without actually being one. I don’t know what to say about this group. Until about midseason last year, this position had been the strength of our Secondary. Since midway through last season, the only place we’ve seen them is on the backs of milk cartons. I’m hoping this changes, because lord knows we have the talent.
The position causing our coaching staff the most headache is CB. I expected them to keep 6, if only to have options during the year. Instead the Eagles went with 5. Considering that 2 of these guys are defensive starters, and a third may play heavy minutes at Nickel, it seems weird to only keep 5 total.
On the whole, I want to be a lot more optimistic about this roster than I am. However, there are some serious deficiencies built into it now. Most glaringly, it looks like Special Teams and/or Offensive line depth, took a hit in order to accommodate 3 draft picks who failed to demonstrate that they can help this team, one iota. That said, adjustments still have to be made, so we’ll see how that shakes out.