The Philadelphia Eagles made a move in an attempt to shore up their special teams, releasing former starting weakside linebacker Brian Rolle.
Rolle, a sixth round draft pick in 2011, emerged as the starter at linebacker after three games had been played in 2011. He started the season’s final 13 games, and finished the year with 40 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and four pass deflections. He also contributed one of the four defensive touchdowns from last year, scooping up a fumble and returning it 23 yards for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.
Heading into 2012, Rolle was expected to compete for the starting job at weakside linebacker with his second cousin, teammate Jamar Chaney.
He won the battle, as many expected, but did not play well during the first few preseason games. Veteran Akeem Jordan was named the new starting weakside linebacker on August 26th.
Heading into the season, Andy Reid said that he plans to rotate his linebackers in week one against the Cleveland Browns. But he did exactly the opposite, playing Rolle in just two snaps, Chaney in one, and Casey Matthews in zero.
Rolle didn’t play at all in week two. He earned 16 snaps against the Arizona Cardinals in week three when Jordan suffered a hamstring strain, but Chaney was named the starter in week four after Rolle’s poor performance.
He was released not for his play at linebacker, however, but for his poor showing on special teams. The Eagles allowed four kick returns of more than 35 yards against the New York Giants on Sunday night. The Eagles released Rolle and signed training camp linebacker Adrian Moten to take his place on the roster/special teams.
Some say that the releasing of Rolle is about the Eagles making a statement with their special teams. I don’t know if I’d call it making a statement. I think the team just knew that it needed to improve its special teams coverage. Rolle doesn’t play on defense anyway so it makes sense to go with a player who has more upside on special teams.