Posted tagged ‘Winston Justice’

Eagles Flurry of Roster Moves

September 17, 2009
Jeff Garcia playing for the Eagles in 2006.  He'll wear #9 in 2009.  (Rusty Kennedy/Associated Press)

Jeff Garcia playing for the Eagles in 2006. He'll wear #9 in 2009. (Rusty Kennedy/Associated Press)

Usually, the end of pre-season is the most hectic in terms of roster moves.  Well, after an impressive week 1 win and an injury to Donovan McNabb, the Eagles made some significant roster moves to solidify their team heading into week 2 against the Saints.  First, the Eagles announced the signing of Jeff Garcia.  Second to make room for Garcia, the Eagles placed Shawn Andrews on IR (as discussed in an earlier post).  Third, the Eagles activated Michael Vick so he can practice.  Finally, to make room on the active roster for Vick, the Eagles cut Hank Baskett.

Jeff Garcia will provide the Eagles some insurance at the quarterback position this weekend.  Kevin Kolb in unproven and quite frankly, looks terrible in game situations – pre-season and regular season.  Kolb will be given all the first team repetitions this week in practice and will have every chance to lead the Eagles offense.  However, I think he may have a short leash as the Eagles should be able to put up points against a weak New Orleans Saints defense.  Detroit scored 27 points against the Saints last week.  If Kolb doesn’t perform well, I expect the Eagles to replace him with Garcia in this game and then the following week’s starter will be up in the air.  There is some precedent here.  Koy Detmer played amazing in his one start after McNabb was hurt.  Unfortunately, he shredded his elbow in that game.  A.J. Feeley, now with Carolina, has made many starts to help the Eagles team and won a few games.  Also, Jeff Garcia led the Eagles to a 5-1 record after McNabb tore his ACL.  However, Mike McMahon started a few games and was just awful.  We’ll see how Kolb does, but I have very low expectations.

With Michael Vick practicing, my assumption is that Coach Reid wants to have Vick on the field for the week 3 game against the Chiefs.  Depending on McNabb’s health and the play of Kevin Kolb, will really dictate how much Vick will play.  I am hoping for a healthy McNabb – none of the other QB’s on the roster really excites me.  

Hank Baskett was caught up in the numbers game and contract situations of the wide receivers on the team.  I was hoping the team would trade Baskett, but no trade partner became apparent – most likely due to the money Baskett would be owed.  So, the Eagles released him.  He passed through waivers, as no one wanted to pick up his salary, and was subsequently signed as a free agent with Indianapolis Colts.  Basket is a good blocker and decent special teams player, but hasn’t seen much action as a receiver, nor on special teams with this year’s version of the Eagles.  While we like Baskett as a football player, he wasn’t anything special and his contributions to the team will be picked up by other players.  I guess the question is – what are the Eagles going to do with Reggie Brown?  I think they will keep him.  He is good insurance in case the Eagles suffer an injury to the receiver position.  Besides, his contract is slightly prohibitive, so it makes sense.  I think he can still play.

Even with all of these moves, I expect a few more, especially along the offensive line.  Andrews is on the IR and Todd Herremans is still having foot issues – he might not be back until the end of October.  Nick Cole and Winston Justice are filling in admirably, however, the depth is extremely questionable.

Shawn Andrews to the IR

September 15, 2009

In the most bizarre set of circumstances, Shawn Andrews was place on the injured reserve list ending his season with the Eagles.  Last season, we all knew about Andrews’ depression and back injury.  He missed all but two games.  This year, he apparently spent the off-season healing and getting in shape.  He doesn’t practice at training camp because he hurt his back doing wind sprints.  He practices with the team for a few days and then abruptly his back flared up and he was ruled out the of the season opener.  Just like that, he was placed on IR and his season is done.  The Eagles needed the roster spot for the addition of Jeff Garcia.

At this point, it is unclear if this is injury related or non-football related.  Could Andrews be suffering from depression that is impeding his recovery from the back injury or is the back injury that severe that he needs another year to have it heal?  Whatever the situation, Andrews is done for the year and Winston Justice will play for time-being in his place.  

Justice played well against the Panthers, but had a lot of tight end help.  Also, the Eagles dominated, so he wasn’t able to really show how far he has come as a NFL player.  The Eagles did run the ball to his side and he proved capable in run blocking.  My concern will be when it is time to throw the ball or play from behind if Justice can handle an end one on one.  Regardless, Justice is in and Andrews is done.  I guess the question is – will the Eagles bring in another tackle?  Jon Runyan is still available.

Shawn Andrews Out for Opener

September 11, 2009
Winston Justice

Winston Justice

Standard.  I guess I shouldn’t have expected that he would play.  The Eagles will be out with their starting right tackle.  Replacing Andrews in the line-up will be none other than Winston Justice.  The last time Winston Justice got a meaningful start it was a disaster.  Hopefully, he has improved and will draw on some experience to play a solid game.

While I am not a Winston Justice fan, I will give him a shot to prove himself in the opener.  The more important issue is that Shawn Andrews isn’t healthy.  This back issue of his has been consistent since game 2 of last season.  What’s the issue?  Also, if his health was a considerable concern and it should have been this past off-season, why didn’t the Eagles address the issue?  It seems like they expected Andrews to be ok, but they did subtle moves, but none that I will think help them.  They brought big Jon Runyan in for a workout yesterday, they moved Justice from the left side to the right side and signed Stacy Andrews to play guard, but spent last season playing tackle.   Shawn Andrews is disappointing me at this point in his career.  I thought he would be a dominant lineman and mainstay on the Eagles line.  While injuries and his public bought with depression were definitely the cause, I would have hoped he would have done more to get himself ready to play.  You can’t fault him for depression – a serious issue and you can’t fault him for injuries, but you can speculate that his work ethic and dedication to football and the Eagles is not where it should be for a pro-bowl lineman.  

This Shawn Andrews playing/not playing issue could be a moot point if Winston Justice comes through.  I’m not holding my breath…yet.

Offensive Line Depth?

August 12, 2009
Shawn Andrews rehabbing?  (Geoff Mosher blog)

Shawn Andrews rehabbing? (Geoff Mosher blog)

It’s been an injury riddled training camp for the Eagles and quite frankly, I think the injuries will continue into the preseason.  Already lost for the year are Stewart Bradley and Cornelius Ingram – the starting middle linebacker and rookie tight end, respectively – both with ACL tears, who were being counted on as big contributors to the Eagles football team.  Knowing that both players will be on injured reserve, allows the team to move on and find replacements.  However, with the injuries to the offensive line, it’s not as easy.  You see, we have no idea if our projected starters will be ready for the season.

Right now, center Jamaal Jackson appears to be the only healthy member of the projected starting offensive line.  Jason Peters has some nagging injuries, but looks ready and will start in the first preseason game.  After that, it’s a mess.  No one knows what is going on with Shawn Andrews.  Stacy Andrews is coming along and barring any setbacks should be ready for the season.  It was just announced that Todd Herremans has an injury that could lead to a stress fracture.  All of this should be of concern to the Eagles organization and Eagles fans.  The Eagles could have had one of the most dominant lines in Eagles history if they were healthy and had time to develop as a unit.  Not going to happen.

Taking some consolation is that the team appears to have depth at the offensive line, specifically the guard positions.  Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles both have had experiences starting and look comfortable in their roles.  Mike McGlynn has apparently played well in camp and has a year on the roster under his belt.  The tackle position is a little more enigmatic.  I suspect Todd Herremans was the lead back-up at the tackle spots, since the team is deep at guard, but with his injury this may force the Eagles to use inexperienced and clueless Winston Justice.  Also, King Dunlap, while blessed with size, strength and power, can’t seem to put it together on the field.  I’m not sure who else will man the tackle positions if the injury situation gets worse.  Stacy Andrews could slide out to play tackle and big Jon Runyan is still unsigned, but we don’t know if his rehab will put him in a position to be ready for the season.  

The way I see it is this:  aside from getting healthy fast, the Eagles need to get their young tackles some significant playing time in the preseason.  If the injuries continue they will need lineman that can be trusted to allow this team to win.  For once I agree with Andy Reid, it looks like the way to win football games is at the line of scrimmage.  

Other injury issues include the defensive line with the Trent Cole shoulder and Victor Abiamiri pectoral.  I do suspect those guys will be ready for the season, but I assume the Eagles are preparing some depth at defensive end with Chris Clemons, Juqua Parker, Bryan Smith, Justin Babin and even Darren Howard, sliding out from tackle.   Let’s just get healthy and escape without any other significant injuries.