Jerome McDougle is understandably excited about starting over, after his star-crossed career with the Eagles ended in McDougle being released on Saturday. Sunday McDougle signed a reported one-year, $1 million contract with the Giants -- about twice what the Eagles wanted to pay him, when they approached him about a pay cut earlier this year.
"I look good in blue. I feel good to be here, staying in the division, so not really much of a difference as far as guys you are going against, and I just feel good to be here, to be wanted, and I am just looking forward to doing some good things on this defense," McDougle told New York-area reporters. "I like the defensive scheme, it is sort of the same kinds of things that I came from – a lot of movement – and we get after it"
That similarlity, of course, stems from the Giants' defensive coordinator being Steve Spagnuolo, Jim Johnson's former assistant with the Eagles.
"Coach Spags has done a good job here. He really gets after it, and kind of put his own 'niche' on kind of the defense that we were running there in Philly. It is good for me, because there is a lot of movement, which allows for guys like me a chance to kind of move and get after the quarterback a little bit," McDougle said.
McDougle was a huge disappointment even when healthy, after the Eagles traded up to draft him 15th overall in 2003. A series of injuries and a gunshot wound meant that he played in just 33 games over five seasons, starting none. But this summer, just when the Eagles finally seemed to have really good depth at defensive end, and weren't counting on McDougle, the former Miami star seemed to flip an invisible switch. He played more downs (probably because he was being showcased) and made more plays in the preseason than any other Birds d-lineman. His 2.5 sacks led the team.
"We just felt like when we evaluated those that were released that he certainly was a guy that created great interest for us and can help us," Giants coach Tom Coughlin told reporters.
The Eagles, meanwhile, took similar interest in one of the Giants' castoffs, who originally was one of theirs. The Birds announced they'd claimed linebacker Tank Daniels off waivers, and released linebacker Rocky Boiman, who was brought in this past offseason as a special teams boost but didn't really provide one.
Daniels was an Eagle in 2006, then was cut last year and surfaced with the Giants. He was a special-teams cog throughout the Giants' Super Bowl run, recovering a fumble on a kickoff return in the initial playoff win at Tampa.
Daniels said he was "very surprised" to end up back with the Eagles. He said he was signing the papers to join the Giants' practice squad when he was told he'd been claimed by the Birds.
"I was like, 'Ohhhkkkayyyy...' " Daniels said.
"This is a weird business," Daniels concluded, when asked on a conference call about McDougle going north while he headed south. Technically, though, Daniels was not released for the Giants to sign McDougle.
Daniels, 26, the first player from Division II Harding University to play in the NFL, said he wants "to be that special teams player that (other teams say) 'we have to block this guy .. when this guy's on the field, you have to look out for him, because he's making, like, game-changing plays.' "
UPDATE: The Eagles have not announced the practice squad but Wheaton College's Web site has confirmed that linebacker Andy Studebaker is among the players. A sixth-round pick in April, Studebaker had a strong preseason and was considered a virtual lock for the practice quad.