Monday, September 01, 2008

Thoughts on 53 Man Roster

the 53 man roster for 2008 as it stands today after final cuts and an initial free agency move:

QB - 3 - mcnabb, feeley, kolb

RB - 3 - westbrook, booker, buckhalter

FB - 1 - hunt

WR - 6 - curtis, brown, avant, baskett, d jackson, lewis

TE - 3 - lj smith, schobel, celek

OL - 9 - thomas, runyan, andrews, herremans, j jackson, justice, mcglynn, jean-gillies, cole

DL - 10 - cole, parker, abiamiri, howard, clemons, b smith, patterson, bunkley, laws, klecko

LB - 6 - gocong, gaither, bradley, jordan, mays, daniels

CB - 4 - samuel, sheppard, brown, hanson

S - 5 - dawkins, mikell, demps, reed, considine

ST - 3 - akers, rocca, dorenbos

some initial thoughts:

- in addition to inciting a lot of (ironic) consternation among eagles fandom, kevin curtis' sports hernia injury had a cascading effect on the roster: a) it ensured that greg lewis made yet another roster and b) it made keeping jerome mcdougle hard to do. mcdougle was surely the hardest cut for the birds considering they have multiple picks and millions of dollars sunk into him. too little too late i guess. it sucks big time that he's moving to the hated giants now that he showing the first real glimmer of life.

- blocking at fullback is a concern, but stashing tony hunt there is more important than people think. i've seen some speculation that the birds will jump at a competent fullback if one becomes available in the free agent market. i don't believe this will happen. the birds only kept 3 halfbacks. two of them already have significant injury history and the third back's size makes me worry about his ability to stay healthy as well. they need hunt to be effective at FB because it saves them a roster spot at RB.

- i really like the two set of lines. the offensive line will be starting the jackson five for the third straight year -- a huge advantage at offensive line. i can't quite remember where (pro football prospectus perhaps?), but i think i've seen research that shows that the continuity of the offensive line (number of games started together) has a higher correlation with offensive line performance than almost any other factor (including how high the individual linemen were drafted). thomas and runyan continue to play effectively (despite their age), andrews can be a stud when he wants to be, and jackson and herremans are more than adequate.

the defensive line is young and good -- potentially the best group of the andy reid era. while the cole and parker may not be as good as the 2004 team (douglas, burgess), patterson and bunkley are probably more effective overall than simon and walker -- the development of bunkley as a companion to patterson makes this d-line more effective against the run than they have been in years (7th vs the run last season). in addition, this line has depth at both positions that the 2004 team did not.

- keeping 5 safeties is unusual, but given dawkins age, recent fragility, and declining performance, keeping only 4 safeties would have been risky. i'm excited as heck about demps.

- i understand that continuity is a key to special teams' performance, but dorenbos' inability to play any other position is a liability and increases the importance of being able to stash guys like hunt at FB.

- i'm not too surprised about IR'ing dunlap, since it would have been risky to put him on the practice squad. he seems to be the new heir apparent at LT, not too shabby for a 7th rounder.



Anonymous Phil said...

We're the most loyal. Yeah.

7:17 AM EDT  

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