Friday, February 5, 2016

What Rolle has shown in three games

For the second consecutive Wednesday, the Eagles announced a shake-up with their linebackers.

What Rolle has shown in three games

Brian Rolle has replaced Casey Matthews at weakside linebacker. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)
Brian Rolle has replaced Casey Matthews at weakside linebacker. (Clem Murray/Staff Photographer)

For the second consecutive Wednesday, the Eagles announced a shake-up with their linebackers.


I didn't think so.

Last week, when the Birds moved Jamar Chaney to the middle and Casey Matthews to the weak side, I was among many who figured another shuffle would be coming.

More coverage
Birds' Eye View: Rolle, Allen to start
Eagletarian: Vick: 100 percent chance I'll play
MTC: Mike Check: Vick, Eagles missing big plays
Paul Domowitch: DeSean's value is debatable
Video: Eagles' season in jeopardy?

Now, after getting fooled on a 40-yard touchdown to Brandon Jacobs, Matthews is out and Brian Rolle is in.

Rolle was a sixth-round pick. Like Matthews (and Danny Watkins and Jaiquawn Jarrett and Curtis Marsh), he did not have the benefit of a full offseason. But, really, the Eagles weren't left with much of a choice other than to give him a shot.

By my count, Rolle has played 36 snaps in three weeks and has been used in a few different ways - both in base and nickel packages.

Last week, Rolle played 15 snaps. His blitz up the middle led to a Trent Cole sack. The Eagles have only blitzed 16 times in three games, but according to Pro Football Focus, Rolle has been part of eight of those blitzes. It'll be interesting to see how much Juan Castillo sends him after Alex Smith against the Niners.

In coverage, Rolle looked good last week, breaking up a pass intended for Giants fullback Henry Hynoski down the left sideline.

The Eagles are hoping he'll provide an upgrade against the pass - both in coverage and as a blitzer. But will he perform better than Matthews against the run? Opponents are averaging 5.4 yards per carry (fourth-worst) and 182 yards per game (second-worst) against the Eagles.

Rolle's only been credited with one tackle this season against the run, but it was an impressive one. Against the Rams, he literally knocked center Jason Brown over with a two-handed shove and hustled to get to running back Cadillac Williams after a 7-yard gain on 3rd-and-11. Video of that play is embedded below (thanks to Tommy Lawlor over at Iggles Blitz for posting it).

And for Rolle's comments on the move, check out Eagletarian and Birds' Eye View.

Earlier Wednesday, I posted Mike Check, breaking down Vick's performance against the Giants.

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for 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 or by clicking here

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