Cut down day is here and the Eagles did the usual, cutting a gaggle of veterans and jobbers, with a surprise or two thrown in as well. Here are the most notable cuts along with some thoughts on each one:
Joselio Hanson, cornerback – With all the elite players and young depth currently at the position, it’s not a surprise that Hanson is now a former Eagles cornerback. What is a little surprising though is that the team couldn’t make a trade and squeeze a draft pick out of a corner-needy squad. Either way, Hanson was never going to be on this year’s team.
Anthony Hargrove, defensive tackle – I really thought Hargrove’s talent and versatility would garner him a spot, especially with the assumption that the disppointing Trevor Laws was likely headed out of town. Wrong on both fronts — not only did Hargrove get cut, Laws didn’t. It sounds like it basically came down to the Eagles stubbornly refusing to give up on a higher level draft pick. Coming into his fourth season and so far only showing an ability to get hurt instead of play, Laws should have been given the boot.
Daniel Te’o-Nesheim, defensive end – Then again, and speaking of disappointing draft picks, the Eagles took the exact opposite approach here than the one they are taking with Laws, dumping last year’s third round pick Te’o-Nesheim rather than giving him another season to develop. Yet another wasted high end pick, but it’s the right move and at least they were willing to pull the trigger. The better move would have been to use that third round pick on a guy who could play instead reaching massively for a guy who can’t, but I digress..
Derek Landri, defensive tackle – Landri really played well in the preseason and looked like a potential option as a solid veteran backup. With the Eagles deciding to keep Laws and undrafted rookie Cedric Thornton, both surprises, Landri just got caught up in a numbers game. He’ll likely get another NFL job soon.
Chad Hall, wide receiver — When it comes to feel good stories in the NFL, the bottom line isn’t your ability to become a movie plot, it’s flat out talent. Hall worked hard and showed some ability but the bottom line is always about actual skills and he just falls short (no pun intended from a guy the same height).
Sinorice Moss, wide receiver – With Chad Hall getting cut, it would seem that Moss would have been a lock to make the team as a kick returner and veteran back up. That’s not the case. Moss has some talent but has dealt with severe injury issues ever since joining the league as a second round pick of the New York Giants, and it looks like his reward doesn’t outweigh his risk and really his usefulness. He should get a look from someone else in the NFL though. For now, it looks like the Eagles will go with rookie running back Dion Lewis returning kicks and hope that another former Giant, Steve Smith, can get healthy and contribute.
Donald Lee, tight end – Lee is a solid veteran who showed he can play, but the Eagles weren’t about to give up on Clay Harbor. As they only carried two tight ends last season, Lee basically served as a motivator for Harbor all preseason. Expect Lee to sign elsewhere pretty quickly.
The rest of the former Eagles are safety Jamar Adams, running back Eldra Buckley, wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins, offensive tackle Austin Howard, safety Marlin Jackson, offensive guard Mike McGlynn, offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou, offensive lineman Reggie Wells, and rookie linebacker Greg Lloyd, one of only two rookie draft picks to get cut (along with fullback Stanley Havili).
They join the other Eagles who were cut yesterday: defensive back Jamar Wall, wide receiver Rod Harper, defensive end Chris Wilson, linebacker Rashad Jeanty, center A.Q. Shipley, tight end Cornelius Ingram, guard Dallas Reynolds, running back Graig Cooper, and Havili.
Former first round pick defensive end Brandom Graham will start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list. He’ll miss at least the first six games of the season.
Free agent pickup offensive tackle Ryan Harris was waived/injured after having surgery to repair a herniated disc. He’ll likely get an injury settlement at some point. It’s a disappointing development considering many thought Harris was going to be the starting right tackle this season, especially with the concern around former starter Winston Justice’s knee, as well as Justice’s overall ability and inconsistency.
Speaking of, Justice was activated from the PUP list and has agreed to take a pay cut in order to avoid getting himself cut. This per Andrew Brandt of ESPN.com. It’s a win/win situation. Justice makes the team and the Eagles get insurance at tackle for less financial risk. Though at this point it would be a surprise if Justice ever starts again at right tackle, barring injury. New starter Todd Herremans said during Thursday night’s game that he’s been asking Andy Reid for four years now to play tackle. Now that he’s finally got his wish, Herremans may never give up the spot. For the Eagles and their quarterbacks, that’s good news.
That leaves the Eagles initial final 53-man depth chart as follows:
Starter: Michael Vick
Backups: Vince Young, Mike Kafka
No surprise here.
RUNNING BACK (3)
Starter: LeSean McCoy
Backups: Ronnie Brown, Dion Lewis
Shady is a stud and Brown could start for most teams. Rookie Dion Lewis, who Andy Reid calls the “Little Bullet” (an awesome nickname) looks legit. No no surprise here either.
Starter: Owen Schmitt
Backup: None – rookie draft pick Stanley Havili may be signed to the practice squad
WIDE RECEIVER (5)
Starters: DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin
Backups: Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Steve Smith
The top five were pretty much locks, with the only mild surprise being the release of both Hall and Moss. This basically means Maclin and Smith look pretty healthy and the Eagles expect them to remain that way.
TIGHT END (2)
Starter: Brent Celek
Backup: Clay Harbor
Donald Lee is a solid player but the Eagles weren’t dumping Harbor and they usually only carry two TEs.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
Starters: Jason Peters (LT), Todd Herremans; Evan Mathis (LG), Danny Watkins, (RG), Jason Kelce (C)
Backups: Winston Justice, Jamaal Jackson, Julian Vandervelde, King Dunlap
The Eagles went a little light here on the offensive line, which is surprising considering how shaky it’s been. It’s possible they add a veteran from amongst another team’s cuts.
DEFENSIVE LINE (10)
Starters: Trent Cole (RE), Juqua Parker (LE), Mike Patterson (DT), Cullen Jenkins (DT)
Backups: Jason Babin, Phillip Hunt, Darryl Tapp, Antonio Dixon, Trevor Laws, Cedric Thornton
The Eagles kept promising CFL import Phillip Hunt at defensive end over the useless Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Smart move. In a bit of a shocker, the Eagles kept defensive takcles underachiever Trevor Laws and undrafted rookie Cedric Thornton while cutting both veterans Anthony Hargrove and Derek Landri. The team better hope no one gets hurt.
Starters: Jamar Chaney (SAM), Casey Matthews (MIKE), Moise Fokou (WILL)
Backups: Akeem Jordan, Keenan Clayton, Brian Rolle
Not really a surprise here. The starters have been pretty much set since camp started. Jordan was on the bubble but he provides veteran depth and is a special teams ace. Rolle has flashed real ability as a rookie and should see plenty of playing time in the nickel.
Starters: Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel
Backups: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Trevard Lindley, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes
The only real surprise here is that the team went a little heavy and kept Hughes. Otherwise, the position has been pretty set for a while, with it being set nearly in stone early on that Joselio Hanson would either be traded or cut.
Starters: Kurt Coleman, Jarrad Page
Backups: Nate Allen, Jaiquawn Jarrett, Colt Anderson
Kurt Coleman has played himself into a starter’s job, and with Jarrad Page’s solid play combined with Nate Allen still recovering from last season’s knee injury, the safety situation was pretty much set. Rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett looks promising and is a big hitter but he needs time to develop. One of the more surprising moves the Eagles made was the non-cut of Colt Anderson. While he’ll likely never see the field as a safety he kept his job as a special teams demon. With the NFL’s lame new kickoff rule it was assumed that Anderson would be a victim of the change but apparently that isn’t the case. It’s good to see hard work pay off.
SPECIAL TEAMS (3)
Kicker: Alex Henery
Punter: Chas Henry
Long Snapper: Jon Dorenbos
Despite at times looking like the rookies they are, the Eagles seem set on going into the season with Alex Henery and Chas Henry as their kicker and punter, respectively. Not a huge surprise here but it’s still a little worrisome.
Expect some more churning at the bottom of the roster over the next week or so as teams look to pick through the hundreds and hundreds of players now on the street. Those Eagles players who were considered longshots to make the team probably shouldn’t but a lot of property in the tri-state area just yet.
Lastly, our projections for offense and defense/special teams were of course off, but it was still a fun exercise.
Justin Adkins owns and operates the Philly Sports Central blog and message board discussion forums .