Why Howie Roseman can't stop adding new players

Why Howie Roseman can't stop adding new players

Howie Roseman built a roster for training camp. Then he built another one.

Roseman isn’t one to sit around and admire his handiwork. The Eagles’ personnel guru has added 14 players since the START of training camp and hasn’t gone more than two days since camp began without bringing in somebody new.

That's 16 percent of the roster.

No team has brought in more players than the Eagles since training camps began in late July.

The Colts have also added 14 players and the Titans (13), Buccaneers (13) and Raiders (10) are also in double figures. The NFL average is 5.3.

Some of the moves have been necessitated by injury, but for the most part, Roseman is constantly looking for ways to not only upgrade the starting lineup and 53-man roster but also give his coaches and scouts every opportunity to evaluate as many players as possible on the 90-man roster.

Of those 14 new guys, 13 are still on the roster. And a few have legit shots at making the 53.

Let’s take a look at the Howie Roseman 14, where they came from, when they got here, how they’ve done and whether they have a chance to stick:

CB Alex Brown
Signed July 26.
NFL experience: Undrafted free agent.
Chances to stick: Brown was released on Aug. 4.

LB Asantay Brown
Signed Aug. 4.
NFL experience:  This is Brown’s fifth stint with the Eagles in the last year. He’s never been on the 53-man roster, but he did have two stints on the practice squad last year.
Chances to stick:  Despite the Eagles’ injuries at linebacker, Brown is facing long odds to stick. But the fact that they keep bringing him back means there’s something there they like.

S Jonathan Cyprien
Signed Aug. 2.
NFL experience: This is Cyprien’s sixth NFL season. He’s played in 70 games for the Jaguars and Titans, starting all 70.
Chances to stick: Cyprien is definitely in the mix as a backup safety who is also big and physical enough to play linebacker in dime, which considering the Eagles’ linebacker injuries could be huge.

TE Alex Ellis
Signed Aug. 2.
NFL experience: Ellis began his career as an undrafted rookie with the Titans in 2016, has been with five teams over the last four years and has played in eight career games with the Jaguars and Chiefs. He has three career receptions, all in 2016.
Chances to stick: Ellis has caught the ball well since he got here both at practice -- he had a nine-yard TD Thursday night against the Ravens — and seems to be a decent blocker. With Richard Rodgers injured, there’s an opening for a third tight end. It’ll probably be Josh Perkins, but Ellis isn’t bad and definitely a practice squad candidate.

DE Kasim Edebali
Signed Aug. 6
NFL experience:  Has bounced around the league for six years (Saints, Broncos, Lions, Rams, Saints, Bears, Bengals) and played in 62 games with two starts. He has eight career sacks, five in 2015 with the Saints but none since 2016.
Chances to stick: Edebali hasn’t made a huge impression since he got here and although the Eagles need defensive end depth he’s behind Daeshon Hall, Sharif Miller and Josh Sweat.

S Rudy Ford 
Aug. 22.
NFL experience:  Ford, the Cards’ sixth-round pick in 2017, has played in 23 games with one start for Arizona the last two years, mainly on special teams. He’s averaged 20 special teams snaps in those 23 games, which is a ton.
Chances to stick: Ford doesn’t have a ton of time to impress the coaches, but his special teams experience gives him a fighting chance.

DE Eli Harold 
Aug. 9
NFL experience:  Harold was the 49ers’ third-round pick in 2015 but only had five sacks in three seasons in San Francisco before spending a year with the Lions last year, adding four more sacks. He’s in his fifth season but only 25 years old.
Chances to stick: Harold hasn’t flashed in limited playing time the last two preseason games — 29 total snaps, which tells you he’s probably still on the outside looking in.

CB Ajene Harris
Aug. 6
NFL experience:  Undrafted rookie out of Stanford.
Chances to stick:  Slim, considering the Eagles’ depth at corner, but he’s definitely a practice squad candidate. Harris even had a sack on a blitz in the Titans preseason game.

QB Josh McCown
 Aug. 17
NFL experience: McCown has played in 99 games with 76 starts for the Cards, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears, Buccaneers, Browns and Jets since the Cards drafted him in the third round of the 2002 draft.
Chances to stick:  McCown begins the season as the Eagles’ No. 2 quarterback and will remain there until — and possibly beyond

CB Orlando Scandrick
 July 27
NFL experience:  Scandrick has played 140 games starting 76 over 11 years, the first 10 with the Cowboys, last year with the Chiefs.
Chances to stick:  He’s looked OK since arriving here. The Eagles need a backup slot corner with Cre’Von LeBlanc out indefinitely, and Scandrick probably has the inside track.

CB Sojourn Shelton
 Aug. 11
NFL experience: Shelton had two stints on the Bengals’ practice squad in 2017 but was out of football last year after the Bengals released him in late August.
Chances to stick:  Shelton is a long-range project but could find himself on the practice squad.

DT Aziz Shittu
 Aug. 13
NFL experience:  Shittu has bounced around for four years but has never played in a regular-season game. He was at OTAs with the Eagles in 2016 and in camp here in 2017 and 2018 then spent some time on the Cowboys’ practice squad last year.
Chances to stick: The Eagles like Shittu enough to keep bringing him back for camp, but with their depth at defensive tackle, his best hope at this point is the practice squad.

OT Brett Toth
 Aug. 16
NFL experience:  Undrafted rookie.
Chances to stick:  Toth is an interesting case. You can read his whole story here, but he hasn’t played since the end of the 2017 season at Army and is much lighter than he needs to be to really compete on the o-line. The Eagles actually could keep him on the 53 to protect him from the waiver process.

LB Chris Worley
Acquired:  Aug. 18
NFL experience:  Played two games last year for the Bengals as an undrafted rookie, with all 37 snaps coming on special teams.
Chances to stick: Slim, but you never know. The Eagles certainly need linebacking depth and if they like what they see from Worley on special teams he could stick around.

The moves:
July 26: Claimed CB Alex Brown off waivers
July 27: Signed CB Orlando Scandrick, waived DT Anthony Rush
Aug. 2: Signed S Jonathan Cyprien, waived LB Joey Alfieri
Aug. 2: Signed TE Alex Ellis, waived S Godwin Igwebuike
Aug. 4: Signed LB Asantay Brown, waived CB Alex Brown
Aug. 6: Signed DE Kasim Edebali, placed DE Joe Ostman on IR
Aug. 6: Signed CB Ajene Harris, waived/injured OT Casey Tucker
Aug. 9: Acquired DE Eli Harold from Bills for OT Ryan Bates
Aug. 11: Signed CB Sojourn Shelton, waived/injured WR Shelton Gibson
Aug. 13: Signed DT Aziz Shittu, waived S Blake Countess w. injury settlement
Aug. 16: Signed OT Brett Toth, waived CB Jay Liggins
Aug. 17: Signed QB Josh McCown, waived WR Braxton Miller
Aug. 18: Signed LB Chris Worley, waived LB Paul Worrilow
Aug. 22: Acquired S Rudy Ford from Cards for DT Bruce Hector

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Personnel disasters and more in Roob's random Eagles points

Personnel disasters and more in Roob's random Eagles points

Taking stock of Derek Barnett, the Eagles’ MVP, a long-range prediction and lots more in this weekend’s edition of Roob’s random Eagles points! 

1. When the Eagles needed defensive end depth, they didn’t hesitate to sign Vinny Curry, who had 11½ sacks in his previous four seasons. When they needed a running back, they signed Jay Ajayi off a one-year layoff. When they needed a wide receiver, it was 32-year-old DeSean Jackson and then when they needed another one, it was Jordan Matthews, who had been released three times in the past year.

Maybe this isn’t entirely true, but the impression these moves give is that the Eagles’ scouting department is bringing back guys it’s familiar with — guys the team has already cut ties with at least once — instead of really doing its due diligence to find the most talented and most promising players available at those positions. Need an Eagle? Find an old Eagle!

Jackson got hurt. Curry’s done nothing. Ajayi’s been here only a couple weeks but looks slow. Matthews lasted two weeks. There’ve been several other lesser guys they’ve recycled. I can’t help but wonder if the Eagles’ scouting department is basing way too much on familiarity and not enough on ability.

2. Barnett hasn’t been awful this year. He’s shown some flashes. Plays hard. But 4½ sacks is 4½ sacks. And 12 sacks in 33 NFL games is mediocre production. Barnett’s only 23 so there’s still time for him to figure it out, but he’s in Year 3 now, and I don’t see signs of him becoming a special player. He’s still trailing Mike Mamula’s pace (13½ sacks in his first 33 games). Not good enough.

3. Incredible that Miles Sanders already has the fourth-most scrimmage yards ever by a Penn State player in his rookie year: Saquon Barkley (2,028), Curt Warner (1,774), Franco Harris (1,235), Miles Sanders (879). Pretty good company. 

4. With Jordan Howard out (as well as Corey Clement and Darren Sproles), Doug Pederson can’t be afraid to give Sanders 22 or 23 carries in a game. He’s by far the most productive running back available right now, and the Eagles can’t simply go 69-31 pass-run ratio like they have the last three weeks just to protect Sanders. If the other backs on the roster aren’t good enough to produce, go find better running backs.

5. I’m not sure how this is possible, but Sanders has only six third-down carries all year. He’s averaging 5.8 yards on third down.

6. This is fascinating: The average third down Eagles opponents are facing is a 3rd-and-8, which is the fifth-longest third-down average by any defense this year. That’s really good. But opposing teams are converting 37 percent on third down, which is 13th best. The second figure should be much lower based on the first figure. Why the discrepency? Because the Eagles are allowing opposing teams to convert an incredible 25.5 percent on 3rd-and-10 or longer. That’s fourth worst in the league. 

7. My colleague Dave Zangaro and I were trying to figure out who the Eagles’ 2019 MVP is, and we were kind of stumped. Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson have been really good for the most part. Fletcher Cox has been his usual self after a slow start. Zach Ertz has big numbers again. Jake Elliott and Cameron Johnston have been terrific. Rodney McLeod has been the most consistent guy on defense. Sanders keeps getting better. But do any of them deserve the title of MVP? Nope. The reality is with four games to go? This team doesn’t doesn’t have one.

8. Ertz has 507 career catches. He needs 17 in the last four games for the most ever by a tight end in his first seven seasons. Jason Witten caught 523 from 2003 through 2009.

9. Ajayi is only 26, but he looks like he’s 36. That’s understandable to an extent. He didn’t have OTAs, didn’t have a training camp. Didn’t practice in over a year before Seattle week. He’s going to look rusty. But that raises the question … if you knew Ajayi had missed a year and wasn’t immediately going to be the same guy he used to be and you needed a running back to contribute now, why did you sign him?

10. Crazy prediction: If the Eagles find a way to beat the Cowboys and if they win the NFC East and if they host a wild-card weekend game, they’re not losing that game.

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Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

Eagles-Giants NFL Week 14 predictions 2019

The Eagles (5-7) host the Giants (2-10) at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday night. 

To the predictions: 

Reuben Frank (5-7) 
I’m really reluctant to pick the Eagles to beat anybody right now. I have no reason to have faith in this coach, these players, this staff. But then I look at the Giants and they’re way worse than the Dolphins. I don’t think it helps the Eagles that Eli Manning is back, even though he’s been brutal for years against the Eagles. But he's got a better chance to come into the Linc and win a game than a 22-year-old kid who has two career wins.

What Monday night will show all of us is whether the Eagles have mailed it in or if they still have a shred of fight in them. We know the Cowboys have mailed it in. Somebody has to win the NFC East, unless commisioner Roger Goodell just decides to vacate it and add another wild-card team. Probably won’t happen, although if I were the commish I would.

So against my better judgment I’ll pick the Eagles. But at this point, nothing would surprise me.

Eagles 27, Giants 26

Dave Zangaro (6-6) 
Let’s start by making this clear: The Eagles could lose any remaining game on their schedule. I just don’t think they’re gonna lose this one. The Giants are a mess and even with Manning, I’m not expecting that to change. And then there’s the fact that the Eagles have owned Manning and the Giants over the last few years. In fact, the Eagles are 9-1 against the Giants in the last five years. They’ve even won the last five games between the two teams. But four of those five wins have been close games, so I’m not about to predict a blowout. Still, I expect the Eagles to be tied with the Cowboys atop the NFC East on Tuesday morning. 

Eagles 24, Giants 20 

Derrick Gunn (5-7) 
Shocked is the best way to describe what happened to the Eagles down in Miami. The offense came to life, moved the ball effectively and put up 31 points. Then there’s the defense that we had applauded for holding four previous opponents to 17 points or fewer having a complete meltdown and giving up 37 points to one of the worst offenses in the league. If losing wasn’t bad enough, players and the head coach Doug Pederson said in unison “they wanted it more than we did.” So here they stand two games below sea level and fighting for their playoff lives.

The Giants are just as bad as the Dolphins on both sides of the ball. The Eagles’ defense was planning on getting an up-close-and-personal look at Daniel Jones, but he’s injured which means Manning has been dusted off and called into active duty. But wait there’s more: both TE Evan Engram and WR Golden Tate are expected to be healthy enough to return as well. If that happens, Tate, Engram, Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley would all be on the field together for the first time this season.

The Birds have owned Manning in recent years (Manning 1-9 in last 10 meetings with Eagles). This matchup makes me nervous. Manning could want to make a strong showing for a future employer. Will the Giants rally around their former leader? Which Eagles defense will show up? Despite the records, it’s a division battle, but at least the Birds have this one at home. 

Eagles 28, Giants 21

Ray Didinger (4-8) 
It was interesting that the point spread went up when it was announced that Manning would be starting for the Giants on Monday. Has it reached the point where bettors think a rookie, Jones, gives the Giants a better chance to win than a two-time Super Bowl MVP? Wow. 

Anyway, the Eagles were favored by eight but it went up to nine when the Giants announced Manning would start. I think the Giants saw Jones throw three picks Sunday against Green Bay (that's 21 turnovers for him this season) and decided the kid needed to sit for a week or so just to clear his head. Eight straight losses can wreck a young quarterback's confidence. They probably wanted to give Manning a chance at a curtain call anyway.

With Manning at quarterback, there will be a lot of dump offs to Barkley. He caught 91 of them last season when Manning was checking it down all the time. This year with Jones taking over Barkley has just 38 receptions. It is a dramatic difference. So Barkley will get a big work load, rushing and receiving, but it won't spell the difference. Big day for Carson Wentz against a woeful Giants defense.

Eagles 28, Giants 14

Andrew Kulp (6-6) 
I said it last week (while wrongly picking the Eagles), but it's not a given they will win this or any other game for the remainder of the season. That's just the reality of the situation.

That being said, while I might've been tempted to pick the Giants with Jones under center, picking the Giants led by Manning is a different story. Don't get me wrong, I can totally imagine a scenario in which Manning torches the dynamic duo of Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby — I just don't find it incredibly likely.

Manning stinks against the Eagles, stinks at Lincoln Financial Field, and really stinks against the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in primetime. I'll take my chances on the Birds here.

Eagles 34, Giants 15

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