Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mailbag: Sapp, Clayton and Hall

Answering e-mails and Tweets on Ricky Sapp, Keenan Clayton, Chad Hall, Todd Herremans and others.

Mailbag: Sapp, Clayton and Hall

Time to catch up on some questions I haven't been able to answer via Twitter and e-mails.

@deanlist: Do you suspect the Eagles aren't being honest about Todd Herremans' injury like I do?

A: It's a strange situation that is very difficult to figure out. Let's start with the positives, shall we? Herremans is on the practice field every day, often times twice a day with Jamaal Jackson, working out. I have seen him running up and down the field normally and engaging in other activities. It would obviously be much more worrisome if he were in hiding, or if the team said he was rehabbing elsewhere.

Then again, I'm not sure why he hasn't returned fully to practice yet. I understand easing him back in and not wanting to rush anything. If that's all Andy Reid is doing, it's a good idea. And all this will be forgotten soon enough.

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But the situation is obviously worth monitoring until Herremans is back the field with the rest of his teammates.

Michael: Is Keenan Clayton a better fit than Chris Gocong?

A: Well, Akeem Jordan is taking Gocong's place as the starting SAM linebacker. But Clayton has had some good moments. Early in camp, he showed he could do a good job in coverage, but Clayton has not been on the field since Flight Night because of "personal reasons." When he was practicing, Clayton's main role was with the second-team nickel. I think Clayton makes the cut and is on the 53-man roster, although I'm not sure exactly what Bobby April thinks of him on special teams.

@ZROD_IN: How is Mike McGlynn looking with the ones?

A: McGlynn has looked fine in practice. I haven't seen him having any problems with the snap, and I caught offensive line coach Juan Castillo praising him after a run play over the weekend.

That being said, center might be the most difficult position to judge in a game situation. And it's about 10 times harder in practice.

To simplify things, there were three areas I tried to focus in on last year when I evaluated the Eagles' centers: blocking, directing protection and transferring the ball safely to the quarterback.

These are things that are tough to judge in practice. The center is not usually blocking a defensive lineman one-on-one. Calling out assignments comes into play a little, but it's not a real game. And then there's getting the ball to the quarterback, which we can get a handle on.

To be honest, it is going to be difficult to evaluate the centers until the regular season. I don't anticipate defenses showing the Eagles a bunch of different looks and blitz packages in the preseason.

If Nick Cole's injury keeps him out for awhile, McGlynn will be the starter. If Cole returns fairly soon, I still think it's his job.

@wadewalton: Any chance we see JaMar Chaney on the field this season?

A: Only if Stewart Bradley goes down, which is obviously something that nobody should be rooting for. Chaney has been playing middle linebacker with the third unit, but when Bradley and Omar Gaither have been sidelined, he's been getting the second-team reps. I did a rough draft of the projected 53-man roster yesterday, and I'm not sure Chaney makes it. Unless the coaching staff puts a lot of trust in him and decides they're comfortable with him over Gaither. He is one of those 'bubble' guys.

@tomohara: How is Chad Hall doing? I loved him on tape, and he's got a nice story. Will he make the team?

A: I'm not seeing it. You're right. Hall is a nice story, and he's really done all he can in camp, but I just don't think there's going to be a spot for him. If the Eagles keep five wide receivers, he has no shot. If they keep six, he might have a very tiny shot. You never know what will happen during the season though when guys get injured.

@IBenjammin: How has Ernie Sims been looking? Is he going to contribute this season?

A: Sims has been a pleasant surprise. I really like what I've seen out of him. At OTAs, we saw that Sims was fast and could run to the ball. But at Lehigh, we're seeing that he can be physical and a big hitter. He's been matched up in coverage quite a bit with LeSean McCoy and holding his own. I also like that he's a guy with something to prove and in such a different environment than Detroit. He's formed a bond with Bradley. As I mentioned in an earlier post, they form the team's No. 1 BRO-mance. Based on what I've seen out of Sims at Lehigh, I'm expecting big things from him this season.

Derek: Does Ricky Sapp have a chance of making the team this season?

A: I don't see it. The Eagles have been playing Sapp at defensive end, but he hasn't made much of an impact. And he's missed the past couple of practices with a swollen knee. Remember, every defensive lineman who makes the team will be expected to play and contribute. I don't think Sapp is in a position to do that, and I don't think he makes it onto the 53-man roster.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
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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