Chip Kelly has set his final roster, barring any signings from other teams’ cast offs. There were a few surprise inclusion and cuts. Kelly kept two of his former college players in Casey Matthews and Jeff Maehl, while cutting Dennis Dixon, Russell Shepard, Chris McCoy and Clay Harbor. Kelly’s choices have left this team short on talent, and many are wondering if the group is good enough to make progress this season.
If Kelly cut Danny Watkins, and rightfully so, there is no reason Matthews is still on this team. Watkins never performed up to par, and is another bust to add to Andy Reid‘s poor evaluations. Matthews is not his brother and will never be him. He lost his starting role, and is not much more than a special teams’ contributor. He will backup the linebackers, but this has the feel of Kelly hooking up a former player. McCoy played well in the preseason, and even though his final game dominance was against a second unit offense, he showed enough potential to warrant a spot on this team. He will be one of those cuts to go to a contender and make a difference this season.
Maehl just joined the team, and had limited production in the last preseason game. Shepard showed more than Maehl, and even played with the special teams unit. Greg Salas, also cut from the team, has more experience than Maehl, and flashed skills during his preseason experience. Here again, Kelly chose with loyalty to his former players.
When you look across this league, the quality teams have a number of strong position players. The Philadelphia Eagles‘ only area of real strength is the running game. LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk have the abilities to dominate as long as the offensive line stays healthy. If they put up an 8-8 record, it will be an accomplishment. This is truly a building year. Kelly needs a few more drafts and quality free agent signings to fully shape his team.