Notes on Cut Down Day

The Eagles need to get down to a 53-man roster by 9pm tonight. I already published my final roster prediction yesterday. However, here are somethings to watch for:

  • Apparently Joselio Hanson was already cut. So much for one of my predictions. Really should have stuck with my gut on that one.
  • OJ Atogwe's injury throws a wrench into an already broken safety position. If his hamstring problem is anything more than day-to-day, I expect the team to cut him and find someone else off the street. After flirting with the waiver wire all preseason, Jaiquawn Jarrett is definitely going to survive.
  • Other than safety, the interior offensive line is the place most likely to see a free agent pickup. I chose Steve Vallos over Dallas Reynolds basically at random. Good possibility that neither makes the squad.
  • I really don't understand the fascination with Trent Edwards. I wasn't able to watch the game last night, but is anyone surprised that a quarterback with 33 regular season starts under his belt would have no problem playing against third and fourth string players? Replacement-level veterans like that are always available off the street.
  • Presumably the trade phones will be ringing all day about Darryl Tapp. I really don't see him sticking around, but if the Eagles don't get an offer they like in time, maybe he stays for a day or two past the deadline.

Post-Draft Position Breakdown: Quarterback

Mike Kafka Eagles

What the Eagles did: I’ve already written about the Nick Foles pick at some length here, although only from the perspective that I think he was overdrafted based on his talent. Foles is an odd selection because he seems so far outside the type of player Andy Reid usually goes for. Huge, with a cannon arm but limited athleticism doesn’t exactly echo through the years of Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb, and Michael Vick. It remains to be seen if Reid and Marty Mornhinweg can either fit him into their offense or adjust the offense to fit him.

Because of that, I have a sneaking suspicion that Russell Wilson was the real target. After the Foles pick, Reid denied any interest in Brock Osweiler, but admitted that he “honed in on those two guys,” Foles and Wilson:

“And with these quarterbacks very few of them come from the west coast offense. You saw the kid that went before him (Wisconsin QB Russell) Wilson. He had played in the west coast offense at North Carolina State. There are very few of those that have that opportunity to do that… I liked Wilson, yeah, I sure did. He’s a heck of a player too. We had our eye on those two players and I wish that kid all the best. He’s got a great personality. Not a lot of guys have his size, but he gives you the confidence he’s going to be able to do it.”

Maybe I’m reading too much into his press conference, but my immediate thought after watching it was along the lines of, “that was a much stronger endorsement than Reid gave Foles.” And Wilson just makes so much sense as a player who wouldn’t challenge Vick’s current leadership but could learn a tremendous amount watching him.

Given Wilson was selected only 13 spots ahead of the Eagles by a Seattle team that no one expected to draft another quarterback, Reid and Howie Roseman may have been forced to settle for Foles instead.

What I would have done: Obviously, I wouldn’t have drafted Nick Foles. He doesn’t seem likely to have the talent or the fit to make him a potential starter down the road, nor will he help push Mike Kafka to be a better backup.

The Eagles definitely have a long term need for a franchise quarterback to replace Vick. We won’t know how long term that need is until after this coming make-or-break season for him. Therefore, barring the ability to go get a top talent like Robert Griffin III, drafting someone in the early-middle rounds probably wasn’t the best use of resources. My goal would have been to grab a veteran backup to compete with Kafka instead, perhaps buying low on either Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace in Cleveland.

Way-too-early prediction: Don’t expect anything from Foles this year, but it will be interesting to see if the Eagles quarterback gurus can help Vick and Kafka rebound from a down year in 2011. As a rule of thumb, one shouldn’t discount the Eagles coaching ability in this area (Vince Young/Mike McMahon nonwithstanding), so I’m reasonably optimistic.

Still, I wonder if we’ve seen the the limits of Vick’s abilities. It’s tough for him to mature into a more responsible quarterback at his age. An improvement from last season is likely, but a return to 2010 may be too much to ask. As to Kafka, I don’t trust him right now but a third-year leap into AJ Feeley territory isn’t out of range.

Oh, and Trent Edwards is not making the team.

Photo from Getty.

The Andy & Les Show

Les Bowen got some prized one-on-one time with everyone’s favorite evasive head coach, and pulled a few good nuggets to share with the group.

Andy has spoken to DeSean Jackson since the franchising of the wideout last week. “I think he’ll sign the tender,” Reid said. “He was very positive about it.” Reid reiterated what he said last month, that the attitude change down the stretch convinced him he could go forward with Jackson, after a rough middle of the season. “That was important,” Andy said. I don’t have a good quote that conveys it, but I got the sense Reid absolutely expects to have Jackson here.

The evidence continues to mount that DeSean’s midseason stretch of poor play and the infamous alarm clock incident scared him straight. Whatever happens between the wide receiver and the team long term, Jackson can’t afford to look like the villain.

Reid sees Mike Kafka as his No. 2 QB in 2012, with Trent Edwards maybe No. 3, depending on how he does and what else develops, via the draft, for instance.

Surprising that Andy didn’t even try to play up Edwards for the third quarterback spot. He’s just keeping the seat warm for somebody else. The questions about Kafka remain.

Trent Edwards Means Nothing

Les Bowen:

It’s looking as if a quarterback won’t be a big priority for the Eagles in the April draft.

The team announced yesterday it had agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with former Buffalo starter Trent Edwards, who presumably will replace pending free-agent backup Vince Young. Given that 2010 fourth-round pick Mike Kafka is under contract and expected to return, that would use up all the roster slots for QBs behind starter Michael Vick, who will be 32 when the season starts.

I know we just played this game a few days ago, but signing a guy who has been out of football for a full year tells me nothing about the Eagles plans for quarterback this offseason. Bowen did qualify this intro later on, but for all discerning fans out there, it’s a nice test case of when not to buy into the immediate surface-level story.

The real question is whether Mike Kafka is any good, and if he really is going to compete with Edwards, that answer is (still) no.