Stay or Go? Picking Through the Philadelphia Eagles Defense
With the 2010 season officially over for the Eagles, we can now start looking ahead to the 2011 season. We start by taking a look at who should stay around for next season and who should be shown the door. We'll look position-by-position and also include the coaching staff.
We started with the offense first, now on to the defense.
Mike Patterson: Stay
Patterson isn't spectacular at one thing, but is above-average at almost everything sans rushing the passer. He's got good instincts, recognizes the play quickly and does a good job of creating a stalemate at the line of scrimmage before shedding the blocker and making a play.
Brodrick Bunkley: Stay
Jeff McLane wants him to go, so that alone is reason for him to stay. But in all seriousness, the guy is a brute and plays the run extremely well. He was banged up at the end of the season so he was seeing more time in the rotation, but during that time he was starting to look like the Bunkley that stuffed Brandon Jacobs on 4th-and-1.
Antonio Dixon: Stay
Easily the best defensive lineman on the team this year. In fact, he plays a two-gap scheme so well he might have what it takes to be a 3-4 noseguard.
Trevor Laws: Stay
Laws is starting to show why he was a second-round pick. He's slowly but surely starting to look like a guy who could start in this league and is the best pass-rushing tackle on the roster. With four sacks, a forced fumble and an interception, I look for Laws to have a much bigger presence next season.
Jeremy Clark: Go
Clark was a disaster in his only action against the Cowboys. Don't expect him to be an Eagle next year.
Jeff Owens: Go
Owens could wind up on the practice squad again, but that's probably the only way he stays on this team. It's impossible to judge him on two career snaps, but with Bunkley, Patterson, Laws and Dixon already on the roster it would be hard finding room for the seventh-round pick.
Trent Cole: Stay
The way Cole disappears in the latter portion of the season is getting old, but that could be a result of increased attention from opposing offenses. Either way, Cole has shown he's capable of being one of the top-five defensive ends in the league and isn't going anywhere any time soon.
Juqua Parker: Stay
But not as the starter. Parker's days as the starter are long gone. He is no longer quick or agile enough to handle that. He gets winded far too easily as well. Parker was much better in the rotation, but once Brandon Graham went down his production dropped significantly.
Darryl Tapp: Stay
Tapp played much better down the stretch, but trading for him must still be considered an enormous miss. I said at the time that Chris Clemons and a fourth-round pick was too much, and right now it's looking like only a fourth-round pick would have been too much let alone Clemons and his 11 sacks.
Daniel Te'o-Nesheim: Go
Why can't Andy Reid draft defensive ends in the third round? First Bryan Smith, now Te'o-Nesheim. The guy was a disaster every time he touched the field and I don't think he had a worthwhile play all season. He'll stick around because he was a third-round pick, but he looks like a lost cause to me.
Bobby McCray: Go
Personally, I didn't understand cutting Derrick Burgess for this guy. Neither was going to have a huge impact, but this seemed like a lateral move for a guy that had no chance of being on the roster next season.
Brandon Graham: Stay
This one is pretty obvious. Graham was the 13th overall pick last season, so his roster spot is guaranteed. His rookie season was disappointing, but most rookie defensive ends disappoint in their first season. The only real cause for concern with Graham is that the torn ACL might affect the rest of his career.
Ricky Sapp: Stay
Every year Reid finds a way to keep guys on the roster by sticking them on IR. This season, Sapp was the guy who came down with a knee injury at the most opportune time, so clearly Reid wants to see more of him.
Victor Abiamiri: Go
It's been a catastrophe since day one with Abiamiri. He can't stay healthy and even when he does play, he underachieves. Abiamiri could have had a productive career as he slowly seemed to be getting better, but injuries have all but ensured his time in Philly is over.
Ernie Sims: Go
I want Sims to leave Philly and never come back. He was awful at WILL and not anywhere near worth the fifth-round pick given up to acquire him. I would have benched him halfway through the season for either Akeem Jordan or Omar Gaither. They couldn't have been worse.
Should Stewart Bradley remain the starting middle linebacker?
Stewart Bradley: Stay
If Bradley re-signs, it better be to play SAM. He's not a middle linebacker. He's not nearly physical enough and seemed slow mentally. His athleticism and size, however, make him the perfect SAM, which is actually his natural position.
Moise Fokou: Stay
Fokou probably shouldn't be starting, but as a backup and special teams guy he's definitely worth keeping around for another year or so.
Akeem Jordan: Stay
I'm a fan of Jordan and think he's getting a raw deal. He was clearly the better option at either WILL or SAM and for the first month of the season was the most consistent linebacker on the field. But Sean McDermott, in his infinite wisdom, decided to toss him on the bench. Jordan is also an excellent special teams player.
Jamar Chaney: Stay
Not only should he stay, but sans an incredible option in free agency, Chaney should be the starting middle linebacker next year. His worst game as a starter was better than Bradley's best all season long. Chaney has the physicality, the mentality and the instincts to run this defense.
Keenan Clayton: Stay
I'm torn on Clayton. I really like his athleticism and think he could turn into a good WILL linebacker, but he plays so much like a safety it's tempting to toss him back there and see what he can do. Right now, if I'm the defensive coordinator (have the phone nearby), I have Clayton learning both spots and seeing which one clicks better.
Omar Gaither: Go
Gaither is versatile and good on special teams, but he's just not physical enough. Any team looking for depth at linebacker should pick him up right away, but that's really all he is at this point.
Quintin Mikell: Stay
If there's an upgrade available, the team should go for it. Until then, Mikell played well enough to warrant another contract. He's never going to be an All-Pro, but he is an above-average player and a guy the defense looks to as a leader.
Kurt Coleman: Stay
Coleman's coverage needs work, but he's already a solid tackler and clearly a hard-nosed, hard-hitting type of guy. If he gets quicker in the mental aspect of the game, he's probably a guy who could be a backup at both safety spots.
Nate Allen: Stay
Allen looked like a superstar for the first month of the season, but really tailed off later when teams started attacking him. But that's not uncommon for a rookie. If the torn patella tendon doesn't have an adverse affect on his mobility moving forward, the Eagles could have a star in the making.
Colt Anderson: Stay
The most underrated player on the team is Anderson. He made some spectacular special teams plays on the coverage teams and made one of the greatest special teams plays I have ever seen when he pushed a Packer into the ball on a punt in the Wild Card round. It wound up being moot as David Akers missed the field goal, but it was a great play nonetheless.
Jamar Wall/Adams: Go
Nothing but special teams bodies. Good luck in the future.
Marlin Jackson: Go
It's a bit of a shame because I thought there was some potential for him at safety, but this recent injury gives me no faith in him at all. He's not a guy the team can count on, and he could very well get the boot in training camp.
Antoine Harris: Go
Hitting IR was the only way Harris was sticking around. Hopefully he didn't sign a lease for 2011 because he will not be back.
Asante Samuel: Stay
Last offseason I called for the Eagles to trade Samuel because of his attitude. He was freelancing on nearly every play and was often caught out of position because of it, leading to some big plays for opposing offenses. But this season it seemed like Samuel was doing more of what was asked of him and even tried to tackle a time or two.
Ellis Hobbs: Go
It's looking like Hobbs could retire, but even if he does continue to play, it's probably time to let him walk. He is a very up-and-down type of player and was just a stop-gap anyway. Giving him another contract right now wouldn't make much sense.
Joselio Hanson: Stay
The talk of getting rid of Hanson is ridiculous. No, he's not a good option on the outside, but he doesn't have to be. They signed him to play the nickel and it's a spot he plays very well. With Trevard Lindley coming on, they don't need him to play on the outside.
Dimitri Patterson: Stay
A bad stretch against the New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings should not overshadow how well he played once Hobbs went down. In nine starts, Patterson finished with over 50 tackles, four interceptions and one sack. He's a very good open field tackler and reminds me a lot of Sheldon Brown.
Trevard Lindley: Stay
The fourth-round pick showed in his rookie season that he can step in when called upon. He made some rookie mistakes, but overall he showed that he be physical and play bump-and-run, but is also agile enough to play off coverage. Lindley has a very bright future and could be a starter one day.
Jorrick Calvin: Go
Calvin was brought in to be the kick returner and that's it. He didn't see the field often as a corner, and Reid is unlikely to keep him around just to be a returner. A lot of people have been hard on Calvin and his effectiveness as a returner, but let's not forget that he rarely had blocking and did have a touchdown called back.
Brandon Hughes/Gerard Lawson: Go
Like the two Jamars at safety, these two were just some warm bodies for special teams and guys to use in an emergency situation. They'll be moving on next year.
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