Wednesday, October 22, 2014
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Backing Off Fullback as Roster Staple

One of the continuing storylines reporters will follow through this Eagles training camp will be the fullback situation. By letting incumbent Owen Schmitt walk in free agency, the Birds might have been hinting that they don't really plan to carry a fullback this season.

Backing Off Fullback as Roster Staple

After making the 2011 practice squad, fullback Stanley Havili is hoping for a roster spot. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
After making the 2011 practice squad, fullback Stanley Havili is hoping for a roster spot. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

BETHLEHEM --- One of the continuing storylines reporters will follow through this Eagles training camp will be the fullback situation. By letting incumbent Owen Schmitt -- the guy who got Jason Kelce excited about that "Beserker" look -- walk in free agency, the Birds might have been hinting that they don't really plan to carry a fullback this season.

They used one for only about 19 percent of their 2011 snaps. There is some thinking you could plug in a third tight end type in the backfield for that minimal workload, and make more efficient use of your roster space. The Eagles like 2011 practice squad fullback Stanley Havili, but we'll see if they like him enough to put him on the roster. It's interesting that with Brent Celek currently sidelined, undrafted rookie fullback Emil Igwenagu from UMass is taking tight end reps. He was a tight end and running back his senior year in college. If you're looking for a hybrid, he might be the guy.

Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was asked about that Monday. Mornhinweg outlined the situation, while cleverly avoiding having to pronounce "Igwenagu."

"We've got some good fullbacks here. Stanley is definitely leading that group." Mornhinweg said. "[Stanford rookie Jeremy Stewart] has been very good in camp, and then our young man from UMass, we've moved him to the tight end spot, but he's also playing a little bit of fullback. All three of those players are just natural players. They have some good size and they're physical.

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"A lot of teams have a man or two who can play tight end or fullback. So many people have gone to one-back [formations]. We're in a little bit more two-back than some people. The fullback has normally been a vital position for us."

***

Mornhinweg was asked about whether backup Mike Kafka reminds him of former backup A.J. Feeley. "I hate to compare, because every quarterback is different, but he's in that same mold, certainly. as A.J.," Mornhinweg said.

So far in camp, Kafka is well ahead of third-round rookie Nick Foles.

***

Not much change in the injury situation, except that Jason Babin tweeted that the internal thermometer that was keeping him from having an MRI on his strained calf was no longer an issue.

***

The Eagles worked out an undrafted rookie wideout from Arizona named Travis Cobb. At least he'd be familiar with Nick Foles.

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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