The Eagles are now down to 53 players, although it's highly unlikely their roster will remain the same for long, as currently constructed. Here's what they're saying...
But there were plenty of clues that Watkins, who first picked up the game at 22 when he attended California's Butte College to study fire sciences, didn't have the passion required to succeed in the NFL. If true, he certainly wasn't the first top draft pick to lack the necessary drive.
Watkins loves firefighting, though. There is no speculation there. He was a regular at Rescue 1, Philadelphia's elite firefighting unit, and at Engine 7 in Kensington, according to sources within the department.
Watkins would cook, do dishes, mop the floor, and even rode the trucks to calls.
Both starting cornerbacks and one of the starting safeties are new. Two of the outside linebackers used to be defensive ends and another is in his first year here. Both nose tackles and a couple defensive ends? New here. Two backup inside linebackers? New here as well.
When the Eagles cut the roster from 75 to 53 over the past couple days, it continued the overhaul of the defense that began soon after Chip Kelly took over for Andy Reid.
Gone from last year’s moribund unit are eight players that started at least one game and 17 guys who got on the field on the defensive side of the ball. Added to this year’s defense are 12 new names, including five projected starters.
The Eagles are certainly different on defense. But are they better?
Wide receivers (5): DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson, Jeff Maehl.
This position was a bit of a surprise. The Eagles got rid of rookie free agent Russell Shepard andGreg Salas. Throughout camp, the thought here was that at least one of the two would make it, but they both ended up getting released in favor of Maehl.
Outside linebacker (3): Connor Barwin, Trent Cole, Brandon Graham.
Assuming he’s healthy and well-conditioned, Barwin’s not going to get many snaps off this season. He’s the only true 3-4 outside linebacker on the roster.
If the preseason was any indication, Cole will start at ROLB, and Graham will rotate in. The Eagles got rid of every other outside linebacker on the roster, including Chris McCoy, whom many (present company included) thought had a good shot to make it.
Howie Roseman was asked about depth here and said Curry could play outside linebacker in a pinch. He mentioned Casey Matthews’ name too. Obviously, those are not ideal options, so don’t be surprised if the Eagles add a player here in the coming days.
Why was Chris McCoy cut? Like you, I felt he was a sure thing. My guess is that the Eagles were worried about his physicality. The first job for an OLB in the 3-4 is to be able to play the run. He must be able to set the edge, whether taking on an OT or TE. There was a play vs the Jags where a WR moved McCoy off the ball. That was a red flag moment for me. A 6-4, 261 OLB cannot be blocked by a WR, especially not moved off the LOS.
McCoy was terrific vs the Jets, but what did we see? You always need context in the preseason. McCoy beat the LT and LG to get pressure on pass plays. He should always beat the LG due to athleticism. The LT was Jason Smith, one of the biggest draft busts in the history of the NFL. Beating him doesn’t mean much.
I’m not ripping McCoy, but we need to understand what he can really do right now. If you were to put him in vs a good starting LT, could he be a functional run defender? It doesn’t seem like it. The good news is that this part of his game might be the easiest to fix. McCoy has shown pass rush ability and some cover skills. Those things require athleticism that you either have or don’t. He does.
"When we watched Square, we always knew that he was a good player and fit this scheme," said general manager Howie Roseman. "To get him as an undrafted free agent, we felt very fortunate about that and it didn't take very long to see him in pads and to see how violent he was and what a good technician he was. I think that was pretty quick that we realized he was going to be part of this."
Assuming some players clear waivers, the Eagles' practice squad is beginning to take shape:
In case you missed it at the Red Zone...
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