The deadline for NFL teams to reduce their roster size to 53 players expired at 9 pm Friday night. Now, it is time for everyone under the sun to begin their analysis of the moves each team has made. The Philadelphia Eagles had an incredibly deep and talented roster heading into training camp, and as such, they had many incredibly difficult decisions to make when trimming down their roster. I did not use the word “finalize” because there are a number of moves yet to be made in the way of trades and signing free agents that were released by their previous employers.
One of the more interesting moves in my mind, considering how focused the Eagles are in the passing game, is the fact that the team kept 4 running backs. In addition to LeSean McCoy and backup Dion Lewis, Philadelphia has 2 rookie backs in Bryce Brown and Chris Polk that are on the roster. It’s certainly going to be interesting to see if this is an indication they are going to be running the ball more.
The quarterback position was one that was basically up for grabs coming into the end of the preseason, and veteran free agent Trent Edwards beat out Mike Kafka for the 3rd quarterback spot. Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that rookie Nick Foles beat out both Kafka and Edwards for the backup position. As you may well be aware, the backup qb position may be one of the most important in all of football, considering the frailty of Philadelphia starter Michael Vick.
The majority of the players that were cut were rookies that were unlikely to make the team to begin with, but could possibly end up on a roster somewhere else in the NFL. There are some veteran exceptions, however, that raised a few eyebrows. Cornerback Joselio Hanson was shown the door due to the fact that the team is confident in his replacement, rookie Brandon Boykin. Hanson was more of a specialty corner, in that he only really played well in the nickel position and never really excelled on the outside.
Safety O.J. Atogwe was brought in to potentially add depth to a young, talented secondary. His performance in training camp and the preseason showed the team that he simply did not have what it took to make the team. The Eagles are going to roll the dice with their secondary, hoping that they continue to improve with each week of experience they gain.
The majority of the moves the Eagles made before the 53 man roster deadline were by no means surprising, but they are far from done yet. Something tells me that the executives may have one or two more moves up their sleeve before all is said and done.