The 53 Man Roster v.1.0 is now official and several journalists have had their say. The most objectionable to my mind is one penned by Bob Ford in today's Inquirer. He takes issue with several of the Eagles roster moves and suggests that this roster is unfinished. I think he's trying too hard to come up with negative things to say about the moves. After the break, I break down his article.
First Ford objects to the decision to trust Tony Hunt with the Fullback position. He suggests the move of Tony Hunt to fullback is an indefensible mistake:
If the Eagles go into the season without a real fullback, it could be as disastrous as Reid's decision to enter last year without a punt returner.
Really? I must say that I respectfully disagree on this one. How often do the Eagles actually use 2-back sets in live games? Of the three preseason candidates for the position, Tony is unarguably the best athlete and will provide match up problems for opposing defenses in short yardage situations. What will the Eagles do? Both the run and the pass are distinct possibilities in a set utilizing Tony Hunt and whatever tailback we choose to go with. Granted, Tony will be learning on the job, but what team in the NFL would be better than the Birds for that opportunity?
As we continue through Ford's article, we find that he feels our Offensive Line is too thin for his comfort level.
Even if the knee injury sustained Thursday by Max Jean-Gilles isn't serious, there is simply too little insurance against injuries to the starting unit, and too little experience. Heckert glossed over the lack of depth... Nevertheless, the backups behind tackles Tra Thomas and Jon Runyan are guard Todd Herremans and Winston Justice. That doesn't necessarily inspire confidence.
I suppose that it would have been easy to keep 10 linemen if we had gone with 5 wide receivers, and we may yet see this happen, however Winston is a decent Right Tackle and Todd looked good on the left side when Tra was down. According to Heckert, Jean-Gilles is ready to practice this week so our number one sub is ready to go should the need arise. Scott Young had a strong preseason, but Mike McGlynn can play all over the offensive line. In truth, how many people are sad to see Scott go? I'm not really one to hold grudges, but he is the proud owner of the most memorable false start in Eagles history. Couple that with his holdout and well, you're on your own buddy...
Ford calls the release of McDougle a surprise. I call it a disappointment. I really wanted him to make the team. If we can place King Dunlap on IR for a high ankle strain, what about Clemmons? I realize that he has himself a 4 million dollar roster bonus, but has he even taken practice? The Eagles must really like what they've got in him. Ford states:
The defensive line...still searches for a sack threat to place opposite Trent Cole in passing situations.
According to the Eagles brass, that threat would be Clemmons. Note to the training staff, get (and keep) Chris healthy.
Ford concludes his piece with this statement:
There are moves that still can be made. And, here's that first impression again: They better make them.
I agree with part 1, however part 2 seems a touch overstated. This Eagles roster looks good to me. I'm disappointed that they couldn't find room for Jerome McDougle and am surprised that Greg Lewis made the team over Michael Gasperson, but I feel that both players will catch on with another team. If you're worried about McDougle playing the Eagles dressed in blue, there are a whole bunch of other teams picking off the waiver wire with priority over the Giants so I'm pretty sure we won't have to see him twice a year. The first roster is never the last, we'll just have to wait and see what the Eagles do next.