Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster with one week left of the preseason

Predicting Eagles' 53-man roster with one week left of the preseason

With one week of preseason remaining, the Eagles’ roster is largely set, save for maybe a spot or two, so this is my final shot at predicting the 53-man roster.

There are a lot of intriguing debates to be had, but I put a lot of thought into first, who will be the 46 players active on game day, and then who are the best 53 overall.

What I came up with I think is pretty close to where the Eagles are, barring any trades between now and cut-down day.

QB (3): Carson Wentz, Josh McCown, Nate Sudfeld

Clayton Thorson has been better of late, but not so much the fifth-round rookie shouldn’t pass through waivers and make it to the Eagles’ practice squad. The real intrigue here is whether there’s any trade market for Sudfeld, an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

RB (4): Miles Sanders, Jordan Howard, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement

Honestly, it’s hard to discount the possibility Wendell Smallwood makes this roster as a fifth back. With Josh Adams likely to land on the scout team though, there doesn’t appear to be a need.

WR (6): Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Mack Hollins

Ward clearly outperformed Hollins this summer, and Arcega-Whiteside can fill vital roles on special teams. Still, Hollins keeps getting opportunities, so I can’t help but think the third-year wideout will be here, even he’s inactive on Sundays. Keep in mind, the former fourth-round pick only started practicing again in June after a year-long absence.

TE (3): Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Joshua Perkins

There’s a chance Perkins would’ve made the roster over Richard Rodgers anyway, but the vet’s never-ending string of injuries makes it a formality.

OL (8): Jason Peters, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andre Dillard, Jordan Mailata

Stefen Wisniewski’s demotion from backup center to backup guard doesn’t indicate good things are on the horizon for the vet. The Eagles seem to like Nate Herbig and may be able to sneak him on to the practice squad — don’t be surprised if he’s on the 53, though.

DE (6): Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Daeshon Hall, Josh Sweat, Shareef Miller

Hall looks like the Eagles’ third or fourth best end right now, but Sweat is a talented prospect whom the club shouldn’t give up on quite yet. Miller is still extremely raw and won’t be in uniform on Sundays.

DT (4): Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, Tim Jernigan, Hassan Ridgeway

There’s been little discernable difference between Ridegway and Treyvon Hester, other than the Eagles traded a draft pick for Ridgeway. Blocking the occasional field goal is great — just maybe not enough on its own to crack this particular roster.

LB (6): Nigel Bradham, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Zach Brown, L.J. Fort, Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards

Edwards truly played himself into a spot here, though injuries within the ranks didn’t hurt. The undrafted rookie may or may not be active on a weekly basis, but he’s not making it through waivers after a preseason in which he showed improvement each week.

CB (6): Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas, Orlando Scandrick, Cre’Von LeBlanc

It seems LeBlanc could be out awhile, which is problematic. With Scandrick, the Eagles won’t necessarily miss LeBlanc on the field — yet to IR him the first half, he needs to be on the roster Week 1. That’s far from a guarantee, but with no end in sight to Jalen Mills’ stint on the physically unable to perform list, it may be necessary.

S (4): Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Andrew Sendejo, Jonatan Cyprien

Once the Eagles are finished jockeying players around after initial cuts, there’s a chance the Eagles carry five safeties, one of whom is a dedicated special teamer such as Deiondre’ Hall or Rudy Ford. It can probably wait until LeBlanc hits IR, or another corresponding move.

ST (3): Jake Elliott, Cameron Johnston, Rick Lovato

Is Elliott the best kicker in the league? Obviously not, but the Eagles’ philosophy right now basically boils down to Grass isn’t always greener. Probably astute and accurate — he’s won them more games than he’s lost so far.

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Learning more about Rich Scangarello’s role in Eagles’ offense

Learning more about Rich Scangarello’s role in Eagles’ offense

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a pretty ambiguous title.

The Eagles earlier this month hired former Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello as a senior offensive assistant. But if Doug Pederson is the play-caller, Press Taylor is the passing game coordinator and Jeff Stoutland is the run game coordinator, it begs a pretty obvious question:

What the heck is Scangarello going to do?

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Pederson finally answered that question with at least a little bit more depth than we previously heard.

“He’s going to be able to bridge the gap,” Pederson said Tuesday. “He’s going to be able to bring together the run division and the pass division. With a blend of formations and plays and things that really tie everything together. He’s going to have his hands all over the game plan as well. A lot of communication. A lot of film study. Yeah, he’ll work with the quarterbacks, just like I do. He’ll have a chance to have some input there."

OK, so we don’t exactly know how Scangarello will fill every minute of his work days but we’re starting to get a clearer picture.

Pederson said he and Scangarello bonded over their early backgrounds in the West Coast offense but it’s Scangarello’s close ties to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan that the Eagles found most intriguing. Scangarello worked under Shanahan in both Atlanta and San Francisco and the Eagles are hoping to blend some of those concepts with the offense Pederson is already running.

Namely, the Eagles are hoping this hire really helps Carson Wentz. That’s the No. 1 reason Scangarello was hired.

In addition to the time Scangarello will spend actually coaching the quarterbacks, the idea of QB movement is key. For whatever reason, the Eagles seemed hesitant to move Wentz in and out of the pocket early last season but once they did, he thrived.

That movement, throughout Wentz’s career, has always seemed to get him in a rhythm. And the Eagles are finally ready to lean into that.

“It was important for me,” Pederson said. “I think when I look back at our season and how we kind of finished the season, the thing Carson excelled at was basically those two elements. The play action, the QB movement stuff, the screens were important. And the run game ties into all that.

“This was what was intriguing with Rich, the background, what he’s learned. He studies this game now. You’ll learn when you get to speak to him. This guy has spent a lot of time studying the game. Now helping us, helping our offense. That’s why he was so intriguing to me.”

Despite finding a relatively high level of success with rookie quarterback Drew Lock in Denver, Scangarello lasted just one year as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.

After the season, head coach Vic Fangio fired Scangarello and replaced him with Pat Shurmur. There’s plenty of smoke around the idea that Fangio and Scangarello didn’t have the strongest of working relationships.

Check out this exchange I had with Fangio on Tuesday morning:

What were some of Scangarello’s strengths?

“Rich is a good football coach. He knew the system well that he came from, does a good job with quarterbacks. I think Rich has got a bright future.”

What specifically did you like about Scangarello as a coach?

“I think for the first year in there, he did a good job. We played with three quarterbacks, so that has some stress to it. He did a good job of handling that.”

So why didn’t it work?

“That’s a long answer to a short question. I’m not going to get into that.”

See? Plenty of smoke.

Fangio did say on Tuesday that he wanted his offense to be more aggressive in 2020, so perhaps that’s another reason they elected to make a switch.

The word out of Denver is the area where Scangarello struggled was on game day, calling plays. On the flip side, he seemed to excel in preparation and game-planning. The good news for the Eagles is that Pederson is probably never going to give up play-calling responsibilities, so they won’t need Scangarello to do much on game day anyway. They’ll be able to utilize his strengths without worrying about his weaknesses.

Only Pederson really knows the logistics of how this new offensive structure will really work. It’s rare for a team to not have someone with an offensive coordinator title but it’s not unheard of. And the Eagles even thought of deviating from the norm back in 2018 when they promoted Mike Groh.

If this structure doesn’t work in 2020, that failure will belong to Pederson. But if it does work, Scangarello will be a big reason why. 

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How Andy Reid’s life has changed since winning the Super Bowl

How Andy Reid’s life has changed since winning the Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS — If you were expecting Andy Reid to win his first Super Bowl and turn into a different guy, you don’t know Andy Reid.

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Reid spoke to a huge gathering of reporters at the first big NFL event since his Chiefs beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

And guess what?

Not much has changed for Big Red.

“I stay in the office, so I’m isolated a little bit that way. There’s not much change there. I’m sure the players, if you talk to them, they’re out there and being recognized as world champs. 

I have gotten a couple free meals. That was nice. But I’m not out there that much to where I’m affected by it too much.”

Gotta love when Andy plays the hits.

Reid said he and his staff enjoyed the Super Bowl for a few days. They had a parade and reveled briefly but then it was back to business as usual. The focus then had to immediately switch to free agency and the draft in what was now a suddenly short offseason.

“Maybe someday when we get a little older and we’re out of the game, you can sit back and go, hey, you know what, we did pretty good there,” Reid said. “But right now, it’s buckling down and making sure we take care of business."

During the Chiefs’ run to the Super Bowl, Reid was very aware of the support he was receiving from Philadelphia, where he spent 14 seasons as head coach. Not everyone was rooting for him but it seemed like a large portion of Philadelphians were happy to see Reid hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

On Tuesday, Reid was asked if he’s heard from folks in Philly since winning the big game.

"Yeah, I’ve talked to all those guys. I’ve stayed close to the organization,” Reid said before scanning the crowd in front of him. “Guys like Les (Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Les Bowen) I’ve stayed close with.”

Les gave a wave.

“There are a couple other guys here that are Philadelphia here,” Reid continued. “I spent 14 years there. I appreciated every bit of it. Jeff Lurie, I appreciated him being at the game and supporting me there, too."

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