The Eagles roster has been set. A.J. Feeley was released this morning. Fenuki Tupouhas been placed on IR.
The loss of Stewart Bradley now becomes glaring on the depth chart with a few new names at the LB position. Here’s a good read on rookie LB Moise Fokuo, Fokou who? Word is also going around that Macho Harris may have the starting FS role over Quintin Demps.
It’s also good to know that Danny Amendola and Jack Ikegwuonu have been added to the practice squad. The practice squad also includes guards Paul Fanaika and Mike Gibson.
Quarterbacks (3) – Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, Michael Vick
Running Backs (3) – Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy, Eldra Buckley
Fullback (1) – Leonard Weaver
Wide Receivers (7) – DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis, Jason Avant, Jeremy Maclin, Reggie Brown, Hank Baskett, Brandon Gibson
Tight Ends (2) - Brent Celek, Tony Curtis
Offensive Lineman (10) - Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson, Stacy Andrews, Shawn Andrews, Nick Cole, Max Jean-Gilles, Winston Justice, Mike McGlynn, King Dunlap
Defensive Lineman (9) – Trent Cole, Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, Victor Abiamiri, Chris Clemons, Juqau Parker, Jason Babin, Darren Howard, Trevor Laws
Linebackers (6) – Chris Gocong, Omar Gaither, Akeem Jordan, Joe Mays, Moise Fokou, Tracy White
The Eagles next free agency move could be signing veteran CB Shawn Springs. Springs was just released by the Redskins. Springs has been a solid corner over the years for the Redskins. Springs is visiting the Eagles. The Eagles should be able to add the experienced (12 years) 33-year-old CB for a low-to-moderate price. Presumably, Springs would be the 4th corner on the depth chart.
The move could also help the Eagles move Sheldon Brown to safety. A secondary of Asante Samuel, Joselio Hanson, Sheldon Brown, and Quitin Mikell would work extremely well and Springs would be a nickel corner. Another option would be keeping Sheldon Brown at corner instead of moving him to safety and have Shawn Springs at the FS spot if Quintin Demps isn’t ready for the starting role.
Instead of signing Springs, the ideal move would be to go for the youngster with a lot of upside, Jabari Greer. However, Greer is drawing a lot of interest from the Bucs and Ravens. With Joselio Hanson getting a big 5-year, $21 contract, Greer should be getting something in that ball park. If the Eagles do end up with Springs, instead of shelling out more money for Greer, it may make more sense.
Also keep in mind, the dime corner would be filled with rookie/thug Jack Ikeqwuonu, who the Eagles draft/stole in the 4th round in last year’s draft, although he was considered first-round talent.
If I had to give you my top 3 Eagles of 2009, it would have to be in this order: Brian Dawkins, DeSean Jackson, and Asante Samuel. To celebrate these players and their contributions, here are some new wallpapers dedicated to their domination in the NFL.
1.) Brian Dawkins — At 35 years young, Brian Dawkins is still a force to reckon with. The 7-time Pro-Bowler hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down as he continues to be one of the NFL’s elite safeties. Before what seems to be an eternal man has to retire, let’s get him a Super Bowl victory to cap off what has been an incredible career.
2.) DeSean Jackson — An unbelievable rookie season from the sensational Cal product. Eagles Nation’s prayers were answered when he was drafted by the Eagles 49, about 40 spots in the draft too late for his production this year. Can DeSean Jackson be the next Steve Smith? It didn’t take long before we found that out. When you get over 200 yards in your rookie debut, you know you have a special player on your hands. We look forward to many more great seasons from D-Jack.
3.) Asante Samuel — The big-money corner paid huge dividends this year, especially in the playoffs where he had two huge interceptions (one a pick six, which led the Eagles over the Vikings and another against the Giants to set up a TD and the W). They say big players come up big in big games and Asante proved that statement true.
Although the Eagles lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 16-10 in last night’s meaningless preseason opener, there were still many positives that the Birds could walk away with from the contest. For starters, our franchise quarterback, Donovan McNabb looked stellar in his limited action throwing for 97 yards on 10-13 passing. We all know that #5 throws a great deep ball, but I must say that I was much more impressed by his accuracy on the shorter routes. As a result of Donovan’s confidence in himself and his receivers, the Eagles offense scored 10 points in their first two drives downfield (28 yd FG-David Akers, 3-yd TD Jason Davis).
Another plus was the superb play of the Eagles first-round draft pick DeSean Jackson. Jackson had 5 catches for 51 yards, his longest catch being a 19 yd reception, including the phenomenal grab shown in the video below this story. DeSean also saw limited action on special teams where he returned 3 punts for a dismal 3 yards. I look to see more from the rookie out of California in the return game in the second preseason game at Carolina on August 14th.
Coming into the game I was looking at four important components that the Eagles needed to impress me on in order for them to regain the NFC East dominance which we are all used to just two seasons ago.
1) QB Play
2) RB Play (besides B-West)
3) Special Teams play
4) Lineman Play (in protection and rush)
In all four of these categories, the Eagles did not disappoint.
– Although AJ Feeley had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds when he overthrew an open Kris Wilson in the end-zone, the overall QB play of all three QBs was satisfactory [McNabb 10-13 (97yds), Kolb 12-21 (81yds), Feeley 6-14 (51 yds)].
– As it was reported here by my colleague Zach Zawarski, Brian Westbrook got his lucrative new deal. The details listed in this 52-page draft were so intricate however, that B-West was sidelined the first two quarters so that he had a chance to look over and understand the entire contract alongside Joe Banner. This gave Eagles fans the chance to watch Correll Buckhalter, Lorenzo Booker, Tony Hunt, and Ryan Moats in action. Buckhalter and Booker looked impressive and seem to be great compliments to the best running back and possibly best player in the league, Brian Westbrook. Tony Hunt proved he can be relied on to gain 1 or 2 yards in the trenches when called upon. Ryan Moats, who is trying very hard to make this Eagles team, played well and with a lot of heart. Reluctantly, I must say that I just don’t see Moats making this year’s team. His play on the field was more of an audition to showcase to other NFL teams scouts his ability to play, rather than for Eagles coaches and management. I wish Ryan well, but I stand behind my opinion that there just is no room for him on this year’s roster.
– Special Teams dropped only one ball (L. Booker still gained positive yards) during returns yesterday, but atleast didn’t turn the ball over to the Steelers. This in itself is definitely an improvement from last year when the Eagles were plagued by turnovers in the return game. In addition, David “Moneyfoot” Akers should no signs of an ailing hamstring and looked to be in Pro-Bowl form. Also, Sav Rocca punted the ball well.
–The lineman on both sides of the ball looked great. In addition to Trent Cole, I was impressed by Jerome McDougle. He seemed aggressive and made his presence felt at Heinz Field. RG Max Jean-Gilles subbed in for Pro-Bowl G Shawn Andrews and also played very well.
I purposely arrived late at camp today (around 8:30am) so that I could go through the trials and tribulations of parking far away and making the long walk with other Eagle fans to the Lehigh practice field. Today, Saturday July 26th, marked the first day that the entire Eagle team (including RB Brian Westbrook and CB Lito Sheppard) practiced in full contact drills in front of more than 15,000 passionate and die hard Eagle fans. As I sauntered through the crowds making my way to the main practice field where the offense was going through some drills, I stopped and talked to some of the Philly faithful about their thoughts on this glorious day. “I’m here with my boys to finally see some hitting. We have all waited long enough to see some football,” said Dave of Wilmington, DE. The nest was surely a buzz. Angela from Philadelphia added, “This is my first year ever coming to camp. It reminds me of a Woodstock-like concert. There are so many people here. My boys and husband are happy that they are able to see some of the new players on the team. This Eagles camp is probably the best professional training camp in the country. Don’t you think?”
Angela could not have been more right in her assessment of Eagle camp. Eagles training camp is not probably, but definitively the best NFL camp in the nation. Where else can you find passionate fans in the tens of thousands, driving up to 5 hours from their homes in places such as Virginia Beach (VA), Wilmington (DE), Lancaster (PA), Harrisburg PA), etc. just to see some guys they cheer for on weekends practice? I mean…we’re talking about practice. Not the game, not the game….but practice. (Thanks again for those words A.I., you are truly missed)
The first thing I saw as I reached the stands to watch the actual practice was Donovan McNabb throwing a dart across the middle to a cutting Hank Baskett in stride for a 15 yard gain. McNabb looked great and poised, and so did this year’s probable receiving corps of Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Greg Lewis, Jason Avant, Hank Baskett, as well as new comers DeSean Jackson, Shaheer McBride, and Bam Childress. Not only that, but our secondary looked great as well. Led by Brian Dawkins, the corners and safeties also put in great work picking off and deflecting numerous passes from our QBs (this is not to say that the QBs played poorly). For example J.R. Reed made a great read on a McNabb to Curtis route and jumped the route to pick of Donovan and take the ball back 20 yards. This play was then immediately followed up by a delayed handoff to Brian Westbrook, who received a clamorous cheer from the gallery as soon as he touched the ball. B-West was cutting and weaving past the linebackers and headed directly for the secondary before he decided to get out of bounds on many of his touches. What followed was truly amazing. Fans began to stand and yell comments from the gallery such as “Don’t worry Brian, we will pay you”, “Don’t hold out on us Brian”, “We need you Brian”, and “We love you Brian” for about 3 minutes after his 7 second run. This got me thinking. Should the media saturate the airwaves with talk of holdouts by Lito Sheppard and Brian Westbrook (as once reported here by me) along with contract disputes, rather than talk about other more pressing issues (i.e. what to make of an offense who struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone) surrounding the team and the players who are content with their roles on the 2008 Eagle squad. So, to get an idea of what Eagle nation thought about this issue I decided to ask some fans for their thoughts on the subject and then relay their thoughts to you the reader. What I found was that there were two schools of thought regarding this matter. On one hand we had Eagle fans that were fed up and disgusted with the media who at times made more of these distracting contract issues then the players themselves did. Conversely, on the other hand we had fans that were adamant that contract “hoopla” is important for fans to know about and discuss as part of Eagle nation. “I’m tired of all this contract stuff,” complained Joe of Malvern, Pa, “If I hear that garbage on TV or the radio, I simply switch the station. Fans shouldn’t have to worry about that stuff.” When asked specifically about the B-West and Lito contract disputes Will of Lancaster, PA replied, “The media makes more of it than they do. It’s all infuriating.” Rob of Bethlehem, PA agreed with Joe and Will but also added, “All these NFL guys are way overpaid. I honestly don’t think any of them are worth even a million dollars. I mean, it’s a million dollars we are talking about here!” Not all fans, however, saw the media’s role as “distracting” to the real issue at hand; getting to the Super Bowl. “The players and the media are only as noticeable as the fans want them to be,” explained lifelong Eagle fan Nate L. of Sicklerville, NJ, “Take a look around. How many #5, #20, and #36 jerseys do you see walking around? We (the fans) all pay upwards of a $100 for tickets and jerseys and most other Eagle paraphernalia, and take more than 3 hours plus a week cheering on the team during the regular season. Don’t you think, especially in today’s economy, that that money could be spent in other places? But no, we the loyal Eagle fans see ‘being a fan’ in a different light. In a way, through spending our hard earned money on the Eagles franchise, we become shareholders of this company called the Philadelphia Eagles. When they win, we win. When they lose, we lose. It’s a mindset and a lifestyle each one of us has chosen. Therefore, when asked should the fans care about contract ‘stuff’ and the media’s role in telling us about that ‘stuff’, I think we the fans must have a say, and be fully briefed on what is happening. In a way, these players are being paid with our money.”
It was now 10:15am, and I turned away from the practice field to take a minute in the shade to reflect on what I had heard from you, the Eagle fans, and also gather my thoughts and then jot them down in a notepad. My attention was then suddenly taking away by the joyous yelping of young Bird fans playing in the designated play section located about 100 yards away from the practice field. Every little kid’s face I observed playing on the moon walk, participating in kick, pass and punt competitions, or simply eating Italian ice was one of delight and happiness. This is what it should all be about I thought, Happiness. These kids probably cheer our team, the Eagles, just as hard as you and I. When we (adults) concern ourselves with contract disputes, what player said what, and who is hurt or not, we take away the element of happiness from our lives. Rather than concern ourselves with the above mentioned distractions, we should all learn from the children and just enjoy. We have a great team and a great fan base, and that alone should make us all happy.
– Jay Vaidya
(Thanks to every fan and person that took time out of their day to stop and talk to me. I learned a lot from you guys and appreciate it.)
QUICK EAGLE NOTES:
– Shawn Andrews is still a no show at practice, citing personal reasons. There is no word on when he will arrive at Lehigh.
– Asante Samuel’s practice was cut short when he re-aggravated his hamstring. This injury has plagued the $10mil a year Pro-Bowl cornerback ever since his arrival in Philadelphia. No further information was given about this injury.
– For the last time, McNabb is fine [Bleeding Green Nation] – What’s up with the media’s love affair with McNabb’s injuries. This is TENDINITIS for Christ’s sake. Since when is tendinitis a major news story on ESPN? This is absolutely ridiculous. If this were any other QB, this wouldn’t even be a story. What’s next, “McNabb stubs toe, gets paper cut on throwing finger” as ESPN.com’s next story? Well, McNabb spoke out and you can read what he had to say at BGN.
– Picture of McNabb at the OTAs [Iggles Blog] — In the quote from the BGN article, McNabb talks about how the media criticizes his weight. This may be a bad picture, but he is looking a little chubbier than last year.
– So… what really happened this spring? [Dave Spadaro] — Spads goes over the major stories coming out of the OTAs. We’re really beating a dead horse with the Lito Sheppard situation. He also analyzes the state of the WRs and looks at the DL.
Spads poses the question, “Can J.R. Reed challenge Considine in camp?” It should be the other way around. Considine is a joke. He has to earn the spot from Reed, not the other way around.
Curtis had a good camp, Brown is catching balls with more consistency, and DeSean Jackson has the mental part down.
The defensive line looks sick — I agree. The Eagles have stockpiled talent on the line. They should be able to let them loose this year. I’ll be paying close attention to Abiamiri this camp. If he steps up, with the outside rushers the Eagles have, and Trent Cole, they can be dangerous.
Jason Davis looks like a lock to be the starting FB.
The Eagles’ nickel package has me excited: Asante and Lito on the outside. Sheldon playing the slot. Gaither and Bradley in the middle. Dawkins and Q roaming in the back. I like it.
The Lito story leads me to the next story…
– An article Lito Sheppard should read… [Bleeding Green Nation] — The consensus amongst a few GMs is that Lito is nothing more than 3rd CB. I.e., Lito should stop bitching about his contract, stay healthy, hit harder, make more plays, and then we can talk.
So I promised an Eagles link up and there you have it. These days in Eagles news are slow. We’ll really get into full gear when the Eagles kick off training camp in late July at Lehigh University. Until then, we can keep hoping that the Phillies continue to put up 20 on the scoreboard.
What’s new since last time? The Flyers got killed by the Penguins in Game 5. Hell of a season none the less: from NHL’s worst to Eastern Conference runner-up. Now, my attention has turned to the Eagles and it’s about that time for another Eagles link roundup.
Eagles Kolb grows into quarterback’s role [Philadelphia Inquirer] — Kolb is improving as a signal caller as he has improved a lot since last year, especially with his mechanics, which Quintin Demps noted. Demps played against Kolb when they were rivals in Conference USA.
A Closer Look: Bryan Smith [Bleeding Green Nation] – I thought the Eagles reached for Smith, but it looks like several teams were on to him. I think the Eagles will find that diamond in the rough small-school DE in either Bryan Smith or Studebaker. It’s interesting to note that the Eagles plan to keep Smith at DE despite his small size (241 lbs.) and plan to convert Studebaker to OLB.
Asante picked off a pass from A.J. Feeley. Asante said to A.J., “Didn’t you learn last year that you couldn’t get a pass in on me?” That got the whole team laughing, including Andy Reid. — [Bleeding Green Nation]
I love DeSean Jackson’s confidence. He is so assured that he is going to make it at the next level. His attitude is quite similar to a Maurice Jones-Drew. They’re both small guys, with a lot of heart, who have a chip on their shoulder for not getting picked in the first round. Maurice Jones-Drew has one hell of a career already; hopefully, Jackson will have the same success, and I don’t doubt it for a second.
You have to love quotes from Jackson like this, “I’m very confident that I can produce and do great things for this team on offense. I know what I’m capable of doing. I just want to do anything and everything possible to help out this team. I don’t want to come in expecting to do too much or not expecting to do too much. Any way I can fit in, that’s what I’m willing to do.” With what Jerry Rice said about him, I’m confident that he’s going to be outstanding and will have a hell of a season.
Spadaro’s Camp Review Summaries:
Here’s a recap of how the Eagles camp went. Obviously, nothing but positivity from Spadaro.
Defense: The defense looks insane. Dawkins is healthy. We already know about their young linebackers, who are oustanding, and Akeem Jordan keeps improving. Bradley is ready to become the man in the middle. The Laws pick was huge: he should be able to contribute right away and will get a lot of playing time. Jim Johnson has a lot of pieces to work with: they got another outside speed rusher Byron Smith in the 3rd round, not to mention the addition of Chris Clemons. Abiamiri should push Juqua for the starting job on the left. Their rookie safety Demps had a good camp. Factor in Asante Samuel to an already outstanding cast and you get a Super Bowl defense.
I think it’s been a good offseason. If you get Asante (Samuel, cornerback) and Chris Clemons (defensive end), those are two playmakers. I told our defense that we are on a three-game winning streak. We beat Dallas and New Orleans on the road and Buffalo here (to end the 2007 season), and we didn’t really lose any players. We picked up some more players and had a good draft with what we wanted draft-wise, so you feel good and you feel positive
Offense: First, Donovan McNabb is 100%. I love the Eagles two big additions: DeSean Jackson and Lorenzo Booker, they should both have tremendous seasons. Considering the Eagles added those two players and haven’t lost anyone on offense (other than Tapeh), their offense should be outstanding once again. Those two players add a ton of speed and they will both take a lot of pressure off Westbrook. Their running back corp is as deep as ever: Westbrook, Booker, Buckhalter, Hunt, and Moats. Moats is said to be looking good and after his recovery. Moats and Hunt will be be battling hard for a roster spot. Hunt is going to have to prove to be more than just a short-yardage back. Booker has a lot of plays designed for him: he should have a large role in the offense this season. If you haven’t heard already: Jackson has been outstanding. He was given a lot of reps in at camp and responded well. Jackson is going to drive defensive coordinators nuts. They’ll have him in the slot, lined up out wide, put him in motion, and running fakes and end-arounds. He’ll definitely keep the defense on their heels and guessing. You can do a lot of things with Jackson in the slot and Westbrook and Booker in the backfield: you can flank them out to the side, and somebody will be open. McNabb should have an outstanding completion percentage and passer rating as long as the line does its job, which I’m confident it will. The linemen pick ups in the draft were wise choices: McGlynn adds a solid reserve who can take over any spot on the line and King Dunlap is a beast. Dunlap is a project, but his size and quick feet make him a promising prospect at tackle.
I’m pumped about the season, the Eagles have improved immensely.