After the monster free agency we saw for the Eagles during which we bagged 6 pro-bowlers, we have been watching with bated breath for the impact that the high priced free agents will make to this franchise. With two games gone now (the second against a play-off contender) it is probably worth assessing the impact that the new additions have had on the field! I am looking at any player on the current roster whom was not with the franchise last season. I have decided to omit rookies for two reasons. The first being due to the reduced off-season and loss of invaluable rookie training camps which has made things tougher to acclimate to the NFL. The second being due to the majority of veteran acquisitions having proven themselves already in the NFL and being expected to contribute in a big way day 1 (unlike the rookies whom are usually projects).
Nnamdi Asomugha (Five-year, $60 million deal)
I guess it is only fair to start of with the most sought after free agent in years. Billed as a true shut-down cornerwhom could cover any of the top #1 WR's in the league. Results have been mixed so far. In game one we saw Nnamdi beaten twice by Brandon Gibson (hardly Andre Johnson), the first leading to a 31 yard reception, and the second to an awful pass interference penalty giving Rams possession at the 1 yard line. In game two we did see Nnamdi grab his first INT as an Eagle, and had such good coverage early in the game that they even showed a replay of him covering Julio Jones. A better day at the office but still not perfect.
Played awful against the Rams NFL worst receiving corps, but picked up his game against the Falcons. So far not worth his whopper contract, but has time to prove himself as the season goes on.
(More after the jump)
Jason Babin (Five Year, $28 million deal)
Following his 2009 stint with the franchise, we allowed Babin to leave in free agency, and why not? Back 2 seasons ago he was still a first round bust. Following a Pro-Bowl year in Jim Washburns wide 9 scheme, we saw fit to re-unite Babin with Washburn when he came to Philadelphia, in part hoping to finally provide a threat opposite Trent Cole. In both games we have seen that Babin was not a one hit wonder, and is a complete DE in the Washburn scheme, he has consistently got pressure and hits on both Bradford & Ryan, alongside TFL against two of the NFC's top backs in Turner & Jackson.
Heck can we really say that Babin has not played lights out with 3 sacks in two games? So far worth every penny he is paid.
Ronnie Brown (1 Year, $1 million deal)
After years of trying (and failing) to sign a decent complimentary back for Westbrook, and now McCoy, the Eagles went after former Dolphin Ronnie Brown. The Wildcat ace had to do it all in Miami, run, block, catch passes, and even on occasion actually throw the ball. It is not common that a back with this skill-set becomes a FA, let alone one that has been to a Pro-Bowl. The Eagles signed Ronnie Brown, undoubtedly not only to back-up McCoy, but to spell McCoy and help give the Eagles a 1-2 punch at HB. After two games we have not seen much, bar a failed Wildcat play, and a few carries here and there we have not yet seen much of Brown in the Eagles offense.
Having re-watched last years Falcons game yesterday morning, he cannot help but remind me of Mike Bell who can 'rip off' a gain of 10 yards, but then be stuffed the rest of the evening. That being said, he is worth his bargain basement contract so far.
With the uncertainty at RG, despite being a position filled by rookie fireman Danny Watkins, rookie opera singer Julian Vandervelde and incumbent C Mike McGlynn, Howard Mudd was not satisfied with his personnel at the position and in a move much reminiscent of the Stacey Andrews/Reggie Wells trade 12 months prior, the Eagles signed Kyle DeVan, a former Mudd disciple from Indianapolis, off Wavers to protect Vicks blindside. So far, more than likely due to his knowledge in the Mudd blocking scheme, DeVan has been stable at the RG position having started both games so far.
DeVan snuck onto the roster at the 11th hour before the start of the season and has beaten out first round rookie Danny Watkins for the role at protecting Vick. He has not been outstanding, but has done enough to keep defensive linesmen off of Vick. Nothing more that could be asked.
Cullen Jenkins (Five-Year, $25 million deal)
Since the days of Corey Simon, the Eagles have unsuccessfully tried to fill the DT position with top tier talent using their first pick in the 2005 (Patterson), 2006 (Bunkley) & 2008 (Laws) drafts at the position. However this trio combined for only 24 sacks over a combined 14 seasons, a far cry from Corey Simon averaging 6 per season. With this in mind the Eagles went after Cullen Jenkins, previously a DE in the Packers 3-4 defense. We have seen Jenkins take to the Washburns wide 9 scheme like a fish to water, and has consistently beat his man opposite to get into the backfield. for a sack or TFL.
Jenkins for lack of a better phrase has been a monster at DT for the Eagles, having already bagged 3 sacks in two games including a brutal hit on Matt Ryan last night. It is also noteworthy that Jenkins is almost halfway to equalling the total sacks from the DT position on the team last season (7). Very much like Babin, worth every penny of his contract.
Evan Mathis (1 Year, $735K deal)
With one of the shakiest O-lines in football, the Eagles have done a lot to fortify the position, be it draft picks, trades, free agents or legendary coaches. Evan Mathis, the former Bengal highly rated by Pro Football Focus was signed to give the Eagles some depth and potential competition at the G position, which was losing all but incumbent starter Todd Herremans. Upon the season opener with Todd Herremans moving to RT, Mathis suddenly found himself starting at his favoured LG. Mathis has been stable at the very least during the first two games.
Seeing as you usually only hear an offensive linemans name when he does something wrong, the silence around Mathis bodes well for this offense. Upon further inspection of last nights encounter in the Georgia dome, it was his block at the second level which allowed McCoy in for his second rushing TD.
Jarrad Page (1 Year, $735K deal)
Since the departure of Brian Dawkins the question marks at the FS position for the Eagles have yet to be truly remedied. Macho Harris, Sean Jones & Marlin Jackson could not live up to the task in 2009 and in 2010 rookie Nate Allen performed well (bar the Titans game) before tearing his patella tendon and leaving the FS job to 7th round rookie Kurt Coleman. Entering 2010, Page was signed to compete with Nate Allen at the "SS" position and has started both games there, providing a veteran influence to what is a very young safety group (Allen, Coleman & Jarrett all 23 or younger.) Jarrad Page has not lit the world alight, and has somewhat benefited with Asomugha, Samuel & DRC on the outside.
Page has been steady, but took a real hammering yesterday against the falcons, out of position on Turners big gain and bullied by sure fire HOF Tony Gonzalez most of the evening. Played better against the Rams in week 1.
One of the worst kept secrets during the lock-out was that Kevin Kolb would be plying his trade in the Arizona desert by the end of the off-season. The only question was what compensation would the Eagles settle for. With CB a need the Eagles managed to acquire Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie along with a future second round pick from the Cardinals. Rodgers-Cromartie originally seemed to be pencilled in the starting gig opposite Asante Samuel, but eventually became the leagues best 3rd QB following the Asomugha acquisition. Since blocking a pre-season field goal, Rodgers-Cromartie has appeared sporadically in the Eagles defense during the first game due to Castillo using his Base 4-3 defense for much of the game. During his limited time he did allow a few receptions to Danny Amendola. Against the Falcons he did see a lot more game time with Asante Samuel heading to the locker room to sort out a dislocated finger. During this time he broke up a deep pass intended for Julio Jones and also made a TD saving tackle on Michael Turners breakout 4th quarter run.
In limited time Rodgers-Cromartie, has played well, particularly on the outside. He does not look comfortable in the slot but makes up for this athletically.
Vince Young (1 Year, $4 million deal)
Fact: Michael Vick only played 12 games last year
Fact: Kevin Kolb was also injured during the season
With this in mind, and Kolb having already been sent to the Arizona Desert for a small ransom, it is no surprise that the Eagles were in the market for another veteran back-up QB, and history has taught us that they often see playing time (Garcia, Feeley, Kolb). The Eagles pulled off a minor coup picking up Vince Young, a poor mans Vick & fellow fallen pro-bowl star to relatively cheap 1 year contract. He looked good during the pre-season, although picked up probably the worst looking hamstring pull in history when rolling out against the Jets.
To place a rating on Young would be superfluous to say the least. As long as he gets back healthy, he looks like a very clever acquisition.
After seasons of misses on marquee free agent signings (Stacey Andrews), marginal additions (Kelley Washington), projects (Dan Klecko) and total waste of spaces (Mike Bell) it is great to see that the Eagles are getting some good production out of its free agent signings from this summer. Although some players are a little rough around the edges, they are all to some extent validating their place on the roster by their performances. Not saying that all acquisitions came to fruitation (Ryan Harris), but the majority have.
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