Monday, August 31, 2015

Making sense of the Eagles inactives

Omar Gaither went from starter to inactive in a one-week span. Meanwhile, offseason acquisition Darryl Tapp will see his first action of the season.

Making sense of the Eagles inactives

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There were some surprises on the Eagles' inactives list today.

Here are the players who won't dress: Trevard Lindley, Antwan Barnes, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Keenan Clayton, Austin Howard, Clay Harbor, Omar Gaither and Mike Kafka.

The one that jumps out is Gaither. He goes from starting middle linebacker to inactive in a one-week span. Gaither did not play well against the Lions. He had a game-high 11 tackles, but eight of those came after completed passes as the Eagles struggled mightily to cover Detroit's running backs and tight ends. Gaither was not much of a factor in the run game either.

But the question is: What do the Eagles do if starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley goes down? Rookie seventh-round pick JaMar Chaney might be called on to fill in. Or the Eagles could move Akeem Jordan to the middle and replace him with Moise Fokou at the SAM. Neither option is really ideal. But then again, neither is playing Gaither.

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One name you'll notice missing from the inactives list is Darryl Tapp. The Eagles acquired Tapp from the Seahawks in an offseason trade, but he didn't dress for the first two games. We'll see what role Tapp has. He could steal some of Trevor Laws' snaps inside in nickel situations. Or he could play some defensive end in the nickel.

Barnes had seen quite a bit of time at DE in the nickel, but has been largely ineffective. Barnes had been active for the first two games. Juqua Parker figures to see more time with no Barnes. Parker has been very good through two games.

At tight end, Harbor is inactive for the second straight week as the Eagles instead choose to go with Garrett Mills.

The running back picture is a bit confusing. The Eagles are dressing four: LeSean McCoy, Mike Bell, Eldra Buckley and Joique Bell, plus a fullback in Owen Schmitt. That's surprising because McCoy has been on the field for over 84 percent of the offensive snaps during the first two weeks. Buckley plays a special teams role, and Mike Bell has looked bad. We'll see what role Joique Bell plays today.

Lindley, the rookie cornerback, had been active for the first two games. Looks like he's being replaced by Jorrick Calvin.

The Eagles have eight active offensive linemen, with King Dunlap, Reggie Wells and Max Jean-Gilles serving as backups. Nick Cole did not practice Friday but is active.

Two posts earlier today: a look at who's picking the Eagles, and a piece on defensive goals/blitz packages.

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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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