Philadelphia Eagles 2009 Offseason: Part 1, Free Agent Additions
I will preface this by saying I am grading each group of moves for both contribution in 2009 and potential contributions in the future. We'll start with free agency, move on to trades, and then finally to the draft in later editions.
1. Stacy Andrews
2. Leonard Weaver
3. Sean Jones
4. Eldra Buckley
5. Mike Vick
6. Jason Babin
7. Alex Smith
8. Jeremiah Trotter
Stacy Andrews wasn't expected to come in immediately and contribute, but he was clearly in their plans for the 2009 season. What eventually happened, after numerous issues in pass protection (epitomised by his complete whiff on Dallas NT Jay Ratliff leading to a sack), is that Stacy Andrews became a healthy scratch when the Eagles needed him most.
With Jamaal Jackson on IR the O-line could have done with Andrews at RG and with Cole at C, but instead they had to play the horrendously overweight MJG, a major reason the team was blown out in both games.
Stats: 174 pass blocks, 3 sacks, 0 hits, 7 pressures, 4 penalties
Weaver turned out to be the steal of free agency. Finally given an opportunity to carry the football as well as block and receive, the young FB shined. Underrated in pass protection, Weaver was quite easily the Eagles' best move.
Stats: 70 carries, 323 yards, 4.6 YPC, 194 YCo, 2.8 avg, 2 TDs, 8 broken or evaded tackles, 78 pass blocks, 3 pressures allowed
Sean Jones came over from Cleveland as a potential ballhawk who would add stability to the FS position, but it didn't quite turn out that way. Jones found himself lost in coverage on numerous occasions and clearly lacked the speed to play in McDermott's versatile scheme. His play against the run had the potential to make up for it, but it ended up that he was not much better in that department, registering numerous missed tackles.
Stats: 34 tackles, 6 assists, 7 missed tackles, 17 times targeted, 13 receptions allowed, 179 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs, 2 PDs
Eldra Buckley was another interesting piece added to the team. He was in a camp competition with the underwhelming Lorenzo Booker and snatched the roster spot away with apparent ease. He is a very likeable guy to watch on special teams because of his intensity and speed. On occasion, this may lead to more harm than good because he outruns the coverage, however every good NFL team has players like Buckley on it.
Stats: 9 special teams tackles, 4 missed tackles
Mike Vick was the story of the offseason for the Eagles. He was suspended for the first four games but he might as well have been suspended for 15 with the amount he contributed in all but the Atlanta game. He showed promise in the wildcard game but his failure to recover a fumble that bounced right back to him really cost the Eagles in that game. If you told the Eagles of Vick's contribution in '09 and then asked them whether or not they would sign him my guess is they wouldn't.
Stats: 6/12, 86 yards, 1 TD
Jason Babin is a former first round pick of the Houston Texans. His contribution in limited opportunities in 2009 was fairly impressive considering the heavy rotation the Eagles used. I certainly wouldn't have minded him sticking around.
Stats: 243 snaps, 9 tackles, 2 assists. 150 pass rushes, 3 sacks, 6 hits, 5 pressures
Alex Smith was signed so that the Eagles could finally release waste of space Matt Schobel (we'll get to that later). Smith did an okay job. He merely did what was asked of him to an average level, with his greatest contribution being staying in to pass block when the Eagles were in two TE sets.
Stats: 35 pass block, 1 hit, 1 pressure
Jeremiah Trotter was the emergency replacement at MLB when Bradley, and then Gaither, went down. I can't say he played well in the time he had at MLB but he was the Eagles only good player in Week 17, and seemed to be the only one giving decent effort. I give the Axe Man a lot of credit for that. Considering the situation the Eagles found themselves in, its hard to imagine a better proposition.
Stats: 30 tackles, 2 assists, 3 missed tackles, 19 stops (tackles when engaged by a lineman)
Overall grade: C
1. Stacy Andrews
2. Leonard Weaver
3. Eldra Buckley
4. Mike Vick
Four of the eight players remain. Weaver is easily the pick of the bunch. He is already in the top three FBs in the NFL and is the best all purpose one. His contract extension this offseason was thoroughly deserved.
Andrews is a guy I want to buy into at RG but I just can't. I don't think the injury can take sole blame for his performance and I never like to hear coaches mentioning he needs "technique" work, considering he's been in the league for a considerable period and is 28 years old.
Buckley is a guy I like but has limited upside as a RB and may be cut if rookie Charles Scott can impress in camp.
Vick will be gone in 2011 or even the start of the season if a team suffers an injury at QB during preseason. The 2009 class was very underwhelming for long term players.
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