NFC East: Dan Klecko
Biggest surprise: I guess putting quarterback Michael Vick on the commissioner's special exemption list might qualify, but it might only be for a day or two. The Eagles kept A.J. Feeley on the 53-man roster, probably so they can keep trying to trade him. As long as Vick's on that exemption list, he can't practice with the Eagles. But they can take him off the list at any time. The Eagles are known for cutting ties with former draft picks rather quickly if they don't see steady progress. They've done that with cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu and defensive end Bryan Smith. Tom Heckert hinted that the Eagles might try to bring at least one of those players back on the practice squad.
I noticed that some folks had fullback Kyle Eckel and defensive tackle Dan Klecko projected to make the team. Eckel didn't help himself by whiffing on a blitz pickup in the final preseason game and Klecko was one of the reasons a Jets rookie running back ran wild. Biggest surprise may have been the fact that Reggie Brown and Hank Baskett both made the 53-man roster. The Eagles have seven wide receivers right now. But something could certainly change on that front. They're in the same boat as the Giants at wide receiver. I think the Eagles might downsize at receiver if they can find a third tight end they like.
No-brainers: There was no way to keep rookie Brandon Gibson and veteran defensive end Jason Babin off this team. Babin, a former first-round draft pick, performed so well that he received a restructured contract and Gibson simply made plays throughout camp. He outperformed first-round pick Jeremy Maclin. I think Danny Amendola is a fun player to watch, but he's NOT Wes Welker. He's not anywhere close to Welker, but he may be good enough to make the Eagles' practice squad. I think he could be a decent punt returner. Can't hold up as a receiver. The drop in the end zone against the Jets didn't help.
What's next? Well, we have to see how this quarterback situation plays out. I don't think a team's going to give up anything significant for Feeley at this point in his career. It wouldn't surprise me if Vick's back with the team by Wednesday. He's making too much progress right now to suddenly take him out of the locker room.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The Philadelphia Eagles haven't utilized the fullback position much in recent years, but that may change soon. According to a report from ESPN.com's John Clayton, the Eagles have agreed to terms with former Seahawks fullback Leonard Weaver on a one-year, $1.75 million contract.
Weaver will speak with reporters via conference call in about 20 minutes and he'll be in Philadelphia for a formal annoucement at noon Saturday. The Vikings, Bucs and Seahawks were all interested in the 26-year-old fullback, but from the start, he reportedly had a desire to be with the Eagles. Clayton indicated that Weaver took less money in Philly because he truly wanted to play for the organization.
He's averaged close to 30 carries per season over the past couple years and he's also been effective in the passing game at times. Weaver's a major upgrade over the Dan Klecko experiment. I don't think you'll see Weaver on the field for 50 percent of the snaps -- as he was in Seattle -- but he'll see plenty of action. The Eagles have struggled mightily in short yardage situations, and Weaver's a guy who can help them in that area.
NFC West blogger Mike Sando covered Weaver in Seattle and he thinks the fullback will be a better fit for the Eagles. Weaver's one of the better fullbacks in the NFC, but it's not a position where you can make killing in free agency. This probably isn't the sort of firepower that Donovan McNabb's been craving, but Weaver will certainly help.
Posted by ESPN.cm's Matt Mosley
"Again, I've said this before, anytime you can win in the National Football League, that's a good thing. Then, we go back and we critique it from there, the pluses and the minuses, and try to take care of the minuses, make sure that we get them better.
It was nice to see the defense step up like they did against the run game and what I thought was a good combination team, run and pass. I thought with [Falcons RB Michael] Turner, being the back that he was, I thought the defense did a nice job there. It's good to get the turnovers. We've struggled with that the past couple of years, and we're doing well in that category and really can even improve on that. We had opportunities, [CB] Asante [Samuel] was around the ball all day yesterday and had a couple of opportunities that he would like to have back where he was able to get his hands on the ball and wasn't able to get it, but he sure played a good game.
Our third-down defense, I think was strong. The guys played well. They were 6 for 16, somewhere in that area there. I just thought we did a good job of getting off the field. I thought [CB] Lito [Sheppard] had a nice game. We talked about the interception, the play before that he had the pass interference, and to put us in that position. Rather than hang his head or pout about that, he geared it up and came back in there and made a big play. That's what competition is all about. Those are the things that you look for, and I was proud of him for that.
Offensively, I thought we started slow, but we finished the right way. Again, I thought [QB] Donovan [McNabb], he had a couple of throws there in the beginning that he would like to have back, but after he settled down there, he did a heck of a job. With [RB Brian] Westbrook, it was great to get Brian back. I thought he just played his heart out both in the pass game and the run game. It almost looked like he got stronger as the game went on. I know he was a little fatigued in the fourth quarter, but he looked even stronger there than he did prior to that. Then, [FB Dan] Klecko continues to improve. He did some real nice things both blocking, you saw the catch that he had even though it was brought back, he had a nice grab there. Then, obviously, if Brian is gaining all of those yards, the offensive line has to be doing something out there and they did a nice job in the run game there.
Then, special teams; [K] David [Akers] had a couple more field goals. Then, it was nice to get [LB] Tracy White in there. Tracy had a tackle early. I thought he was very effective on the [special] teams units there."
On the goal line offense and whether he sees anything specific that is keeping them out of the end zone:
"I do. There are some things that we have to get better at. I know that's not answering your question there, but I don't think we need to answer that publicly. But there are some things that are being done, and we got a couple of them done, so we need to make sure we straighten that out and get it right."
On whether it is scheme that they're working on or guys getting their assignments right:
"It's a little bit of each. I'll always take the responsibility for that. I can put these guys in better spots. Then, they have to take care of business from there."
On whether the no-huddle call before the quarterback sneak was something that helped the Falcons execute the play:
"Yeah, possibly. That's a possibility. Again, you make those calls, but again, it's important to make the right call. Then, it's important to execute that call. We all have a little piece of that."
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
- Nick Fierro says the Eagles are attempting to put the "special" back in special teams. Quintin Demps and DeSean Jackson are bringing back memories of the Brian Mitchell era -- but it's still early. Personally, I enjoyed the vastly underrated Reno Mahe era.
- WR Kevin Curtis doesn't think his sports hernia was as severe as Donovan McNabb's and L.J. Smith's. But he's not going to rush it, according to the Reading Eagle.
- DT Dan "Glecko" looks like a lock to make the team. Pretty remarkable story when you consider that the Eagles were hoping to use Klecko as a fullback.
- Ashley Fox has a fun story about the one day of the week players have off.
- So what do Eagles coaches do on Tuesdays? And here's what defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is thinking on Mondays.
- Geez, could someone give Ashley a day off? She has another column on what it's like to sit through an Andy Reid news conference.