Two Gibsons Down, One Depth Issue to Go for the Eagles?

Lou DiPietroAnalyst IOctober 23, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - MAY 1: Wide receiver Brandon Gibson #19 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs the ball during minicamp practice at the NovaCare Complex on May 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

Brandon and Mike Gibson have almost nothing in common besides a last name...nothing, that is, except the fact that they’re now both ex-Eagles.

Brandon was traded to the St. Louis Rams as part of the Will Witherspoon deal Tuesday afternoon, and less than 24 hours later, Mike was signed off the practice squad by the Seattle Seahawks.

Sure, between them they have been active for all of one game in their NFL careers—but that’s pretty much all it took for Tom Brady to pave his path to the Pro Bowl.

Okay, wild comparisons aside, the Gibsons at the very least represented depth at what have become the Eagles’ two most worrisome positions.

In Brandon’s case, his talent (and Reggie Brown’s iron-clad contract) forced Andy Reid to uncharacteristically keep seven wide receivers on the final 53-man roster. The 2009 seventh-round pick was only active for one of the first five games, but he drew rave reviews in training camp and practices, and looked to be a big part of the Birds’ future plans.

Instead, he was shipped to St. Louis so the Eagles could fill what’s become another position of need, MIKE linebacker.

As a Ram, Gibson will have an immediate chance to contribute. St. Louis’ receiver chart, which was thin and inexperienced to begin with, is in even worse shape with Laurent Robinson on IR. Gibson will join 2008 draft picks Donnie Avery and Keenan Burton and former Eagles practice squadder Danny Amendola on what might be the least desirable quartet of receivers outside of Cleveland.

Unfortunately, the Eagles might not be much better off. Beyond DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant, it’s a crapshoot. Kevin Curtis has been hobbled by a knee injury, Reggie Brown is clearly not a part of plans no matter what his contract says, and Hank Baskett was released so Andy Reid could push the Michael Vick panic button.

Given those losses, an injury to (or ineffectiveness from) the Big Three could’ve given Gibson a shot—one he’ll now get from another Big East alum in Marc Bulger. 

As for Mike Gibson, he’s an offensive lineman. That’s really all you needed to say.

But looking deeper—yes, he spent 2008 on IR, and yes, he’s spent all of 2009 on the practice squad. Obviously, the Eagles saw something in him enough to keep him around for 18 months after drafting him.

And just looking at the state of the O-line, you can almost see why, as there are more linemen in the trainer’s room than on the field.

The tackles are the hardest hit. Shawn Andrews is on IR, Jason Peters left last week’s game with a knee sprain and ankle contusion, and replacement King Dunlap was abused by Richard Seymour.

At guard, meanwhile, Todd Herremans has missed the whole season with a bum foot and Stacy Andrews has been ineffective and slow to recover from his own leg injury.

While Peters is probable, Herremans might be back and Andrews is making progress, it’s a very thin house of cards that Andy Reid and Juan Castillo have to work with. While serviceable, a fivesome of Dunlap, Nick Cole, Jamaal Jackson, Max-Jean Gilles and Winston Justice doesn’t scream incredible.

However, those five and utilityman Mike McGlynn are the only six healthy linemen on the roster. So if Herremans can’t go and Peters is hurt worse than thought, who is there to provide depth?

Not Gibson. Not anymore, anyway. Sure, he was only on the practice squad, but that also means that he a) knows the playbook, and b) is always a hair’s breadth away from a call-up.

Instead, Mike will be joining a Seattle unit that is actually worse off than Philadelphia’s. They only have two healthy tackles on the roster, and while he slots in as a guard as of now, Gibson’s versatility will give the Seahawks more versatility.

In response, the Eagles made two practice squad additions on Thursday: guard Dallas Reynolds (a rookie from BYU who spent training camp with the Birds) and rookie WR Dobson Collins. They also have WR Jordan Norwood and G Paul Fanaika—one of their 2009 seventh-round draft picks—on the practice squad if needed.

Let’s hope the Eagles don’t have to find out the hard way that they’re no Gibson.


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