Monday, September 7, 2009

Practice Squad is set


The Eagles have finally announced all 8 players on the Practice Squad:

WR Danny Amendola
CB Jack Ikegwuonu
FB Marcus Mailei
TE Rob Myers
OL Paul Fanaika
OL Mike Gibson
SS Reshard Langford
LB Jeremy Leman

I'm very happy with this group. Occasionally the Eagles will make a choice or two that I'm not ecstatic about. These guys all showed something in the preseason.

Amendola lacks ideal size and speed, but there is a place in the NFL for him. Danny has good hands and shows a feel for getting open. He's quick and has very good RAC ability. He also can help at PR and KOR.

Ikegwuonu was a gifted cover corner at Wisconsin before suffering a terrible knee injury in Combine training in early 2008. Jack sat out the '08 season. He came back this offseason, but never looked like the guy from UW. I did see him get a little better each week. CB is a tricky position. Those guys need supreme confidence. Jack looked tentative at times (especially tackling). He's worth keeping around because if he ever gets that confidence back he could be a good DB. I had a hard time seeing how healthy his knee looked. Obviously the Eagles felt it was good enough to keep him around.

Mailei looked like a good pass catcher this summer. He showed a lot of promise in that area. He played okay on STs. His blocking is the area that needs work. He has the size and strength. Marcus is a willing blocker. He just needs to work on his technique. Leonard Weaver is only here on a 1-year deal so Marcus could have a chance to be the FB in 2010 (although I hope we can extend Weaver).

Myers looked very impressive against the Colts, catching 4 passes. He was very quiet in the last 2 games as a receiver. Myers is athletic and has potential as a pass catcher. His blocking needs a lot of work. He also is just rusty from missing his Senior season due to a toe injury. Rob could challenge for a roster spot in the future or could be a viable replacement if we lose a TE in the middle of the year.

Fanaika is my least favorite player to make it. He's a RG who can run block. That's great, except we're Big Red's pass happy Eagles. Paul struggled as a pass blocker in college. We'll see if he can develop in that area.

Gibson is a good utility blocker. He played OT in college. The Eagles have played him at G, but also think he could play C. There is nothing special about Mike, but he could develop into a solid backup OL.

Langford has good potential. He could turn out to be a player. He was very productive at Vanderbilt and has the size & talent to play in the NFL. Langford really struggled in the PS finale, probably trying to do too much. Very good run defender who could be a solid backup SS next year or a starter in the future.

Leman is a 2nd year guy. He played for the Carolina Panthers this summer. I know a lot of people will talk about the angle of us playing them in the opener, but the Eagles don't generally do that type of stuff. Plus, the Panthers are a simple team that relies on execution (which makes me jealous...being tricky is overrated). Leman played MLB at Illinois. The Panthers had him playing OLB.

Here is my college write-up on him:

Very good college MLB. He had a big game vs Penn State. J had 10 tackles, broke up a pass in the endzone, and picked off a ball. He is solid vs inside run plays, but athletic enough to play the pass as well. Very active player. Around the ball a lot. Has pretty good range. Good student. Very productive player. Plays the run well between the tackles. Pursues well. Won’t give up on a play. Gets good depth on his pass drops. Will take on blockers, but isn’t adept at shedding them. Has okay COD ability. Looks okay playing the middle of the field in the Nickel defense. Wrap-up tackler. Hustles. Got a good hit on the TE in the Wisc game. 2 time captain. Has everything you might want in an ILB except speed and top athletic ability.

The Eagles were disappointed in Joe Mays. Leman comes in to push him. Leman is 6'2, 240 and might be able to help out as a backup SAM if needed. We needed to add a LB for practice reps. Leman had a good summer for the Panthers. He was second on the team with 19 tackles. He flew around and always seemed to be near the ball. Leman was cut because Carolina had 6 other guys already set.


All the major roster moves are done. We can now start talking about the actual game that will be played on Sunday. I'll being covering that on Tuesday.


Stephen said...

Anyone else getting goosebumps thinking about how close kickoff of the '09 season is?

Anyone have any thoughts as to who they'll line Julius Peppers up over? Shawn Andrews or Jason Peters, either one could be vulnerable.

Guys like Westbrook and Andrews need to kick off the rust in a hurry this game, Carolina is a tough opponent to open against.

T_S_O_P said...

Either could be vulnerable, equally if either get their hands on Peppers he will be dominated like very few times this season.

T_S_O_P said...

Andrews also said he's looking forward to the challenge of blocking Julius Peppers, one of the game's premier pass rushers. Peppers normally lines up as a left end, but the Panthers have traditionally moved him around on the defensive line to create favorable matchups.

"I look forward to it," Andrews said. "I'm all for the challenge. Just to be able to fire off on some people that are pretty much strangers, it's going to be fun.

"It's not a me-and-Peppers deal, it's a team thing. But since you asked about the individual battle, I'm a beast too. Let the beasting begin."

I love MANdrews

izzylangfan said...

What should we look for from Omar Gaither this Sunday? In the past, the rap against him is that he is unable to play off the initial block whether it be from the center if he is the SAM or the fullback if he is the WILL. Is there any reason to believe he has improved in this regard?

We know the Panthers are a running team so it seems likely that Gaither will be tested often and early on Sunday. What will the Eagles do to help him out, and what are the risks of such help?

The Eagles played well against the run last year. But this year they are missing Bradley and Dawkins. Bradley of course was the big force in the middle and Dawkins seemed to be at his best playing up in the box. Now Harris seems to be a sure tackler, but from my vantage point on the television set he was a sure tackler, but generally did not break up the play early instead he was getting to the receiver after the catch for a sure tackle and getting to the runner after the good gain for a sure tackle.

Perhaps the Eagles got stronger at DE this year with Albiamiri healthy from the beginning and the addition of Babiin. But can that offset the loss of Dawkings and Bradley? How good do you think the Eagles defense will be against the run and the pass relative to last year? What will be the keys to watch on Sunday?

izzylangfan said...

Obviously, I meant MIKE instead of SAM.

rick said...

I think it will take half a season for our O-line to gel. And I don't have a good feeling about going up against a good running team in Carolina to start out. Omar is going to have to step up big time.

Cliff said...

I think we'll see MLB-by-committee against the Panthers' running attack. Gaither can't get pounded on all game long or his body won't last, so I'm guessing Mays and Fokou will be mixed in if the running game gets repetitive.

T_S_O_P said...

Why would re run MLB by committee when we didn't in '07 when Gaither started at Mike?

orangecrush007 said...

We added Alex Smith. Who did we cut?

T_S_O_P said...

/\Tony Curtis. One TE for another. Confused? Puzzled? We clearly believe that we are going to get a pick for Reggie.

Cliff said...

T_S_O_P, did we have any other options at MLB in 2007? I think the coaches showed a willingness to play musical chairs with the MLB position in the off/pre-season.

Maybe that's mostly because they were just trying to find a good fit, but now they know we have Mays and Fokou to shoulder some of the load.

Personally, I think Omar is capable of manning the position himself. I loved him after 2007 (and not so much as the WLB). I just think Mays and Fokou earned a *little* playing time. That could make Omar more effective.

Cliff said...

I like the Smith signing, btw. We didn't need a starter, just a capable, veteran back-up. That was a need even before Ingram was lost to injury.

According to Rotoworld, the Giants wanted Smith too. Maybe we killed 2 birds with one stone here - we got a 2nd TE and kept the Giants from getting a 2nd TE.

T_S_O_P said...

Omar beat out Trotter albeit an aged shadow, but it still came as a shock to many, especially as Spikes and Trot had spoken of their excitement at being in the same line up.

This year Mays has earned exactly what transpired, a demotion and I can't see him being of any help on D this year and if he can't play STs, even remaining on he roster for the duration of this season will be difficult IMO. Moise looks great, reminds me of a 2006 LB drafted in the 5th round who was also the talk of training camp. If Omar struggles, maybe he can push for his role, but full time not by committee. Akeem might also want to ensure that he plays lights out too,because I'm sure that Fokou wouldn't mind a shot at his position too.