The unpredictable 2009 season for your Philadelphia Eagles took another turn today when the team brought back 32-year-old veteran linebacker Jeremiah Trotter.
The Birds now have seven linebackers on the roster. Here's a quick breakdown of what we've seen from each so far, and what we might expect going forward:
Omar Gaither - The Eagles' starting MLB has had two good games, and one not-so-good game. The opponent certainly had a lot to do with it. Gaither was strong against the run in Week 1 against the Panthers and Sunday against the Chiefs. He struggled in Week 2 against the Saints. How much will the addition of Trotter affect his role in the middle? Gaither has been a three-down linebacker up to this point and is probably the most vocal member of the Eagles' defense.
Chris Gocong - He hasn't been much of a factor through three games. Gocong made a few plays in Week 1 but has not been heard from since. I know we've been saying this for three years now, but it seems like the Eagles still have not figured out how to properly use Gocong. There's no real competition at the strong-side spot. Barring injury, he'll be there the rest of the way. Perhaps Sean McDermott can cook comething up to better utilize him.
Akeem Jordan - I questioned whether the defense had enough playmakers during the preseason. Jordan sure looks like he could be one of those guys through three games. A sack and two interceptions. Jordan's a very active player who looks like he has a bright future. He'll start at the weakside spot the rest of the way.
Tracy White - In his eighth season, I fully expected White to be a special teams player and nothing more. But Sunday against the Chiefs, he replaced Jordan in the Eagles' nickel package, playing alongside Gaither. Hopefully McDermott will shed more light on that decision the next time he speaks with the media, but it appears that White could play a bigger role going forward.
Jeremiah Trotter - Let's take a shot at speculating what kind of role he might play. Trotter said Andy Reid didn't bring him in to just play special teams. But what exactly does that mean? We know he'll bring leadership and toughness. Those are good things, but not tangible things. We know they don't want to see Trotter lined up against running backs and tight ends in coverage. Beyond that, who knows? Maybe he comes into the game on obvious running downs -- goal line, short yardage, etc. We'll just have to wait for the Week 5 game against the Bucs. All I know is that if I told you a year ago that the 2009 Eagles' roster would have the names Trotter and Vick and would be without the name Dawkins, you would have taken away my blogging privileges and cited insanity. For what it's worth, Trotter is listed as the third-string middle linebacker on the unofficial depth chart on the team's Web site.
Moise Fokou - A nice find for the Eagles in the seventh round, but it doesn't appear he'll be much of a factor as a rookie. However, if the Eagles suffer injuries, particularly to Gocong, Fokou could see the field.
Joe Mays - It seems like years ago when he was the projected middle linebacker. Mays got the reps there in camp and had a chance to win the job in the preseason, but didn't do enough. He was banged-up and missed the Eagles' first two games. Mays was only in on special teams and garbage time Sunday against the Chiefs. His role becomes even more uncertain with the addition of Trotter.