- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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You guys ask so much about why the Philadelphia Eagles haven't signed veteran linebacker Lofa Tatupu that, frankly, I've kind of stopped paying attention to it. But the idea has shown up now in a very interesting place that makes me wonder if something might finally happen soon with Tatupu. That place is Adam Schefter's mailbag, which includes this item:
Q: Adam, why have the Philadelphia Eagles not signed anyone like Lofa Tatupu or anyone else for help at linebacker? It seems like even a slightly unhealthy Tatupu would be better than a trio of Brian Rolle, Jamar Chaney and Casey Matthews?
-- Isaac (Penn.)
A: Hard to argue against your point, Isaac. The interesting part is that Tatupu wanted to play for the Eagles as much as, if not more than, any team in the league when this season kicked off. He did have some casual conversations with the Eagles during the summer, but Philadelphia wanted to see its young linebackers and how they performed. So far, not so well. At the same time, Tatupu's knees weren't quite as ready as he wanted them to be, though they are now. He is ready to play. But he has wanted to play for a winning team and right now the Eagles are struggling. However, to think Tatupu would be the difference for this team is a bit short-sighted. For now, the Eagles' issues are larger.
My thought on Tatupu all along has been that, since he's been out there for two months and nobody's even looked at him, he must be washed up or unlikely to be a help. But Adam indicates that he's healthier now than he was when he and the Seahawks parted ways, which means maybe a team like the Eagles could take a look. Two interesting points, though, from Adam are that the Eagles aren't the "winning team" right now for which Tatupu wants to play and that the Eagles' problems likely don't have a solution as simple as adding one linebacker.
One of those problems appears to be myopia. The idea that "Philadelphia wanted to see its young linebackers and how they performed" is completely out of line with everything else the Eagles did this offseason. We were led to believe -- told, actually -- that they were going all-in for a Super Bowl run this season. A team that does that doesn't decide to look at young guys at one position while piling up veterans everywhere else. The Eagles seem to have believed that they could mask linebacker deficiencies with excellence on the defensive line and in the secondary. But that's a strategy that has cost the Giants in recent years, and it's cost the Eagles this year, in part because the secondary hasn't been excellent and in part because the strategy just doesn't make any sense. NFL offenses will seek out weaknesses and attack them, and the Eagles' weaknesses weren't hard to find.
The Eagles' problems are systemic, it would seem, and unlikely to get better anytime soon or with the help of any midseason acquisition. So while it wouldn't be surprising to see them make such a move, I'm not sure it would be the panacea that Eagles fans might imagine it to be.