Special teams season & six more thoughts on the Eagles 53-man roster

NFL: DEC 01 Eagles at Dolphins
MIAMI GARDENS, FL – DECEMBER 01: Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker Alex Singleton (49) on the field before the start of the NFL game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Miami Dolphins at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on December 1, 2019. (Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles made their final wave of roster moves in order to trim their group down to 53. With your 2020 Philadelphia Eagles now set in stone (until Howie wheels and deals this weekend), here are some quick thoughts on the shape of it all.

Eagles Cornerback depth is light

Cutting both Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas came as a big surprise to many. The Eagles have only Craig James as a devout backup to the outside corners, unless we wish to include Jalen Mills in that discussion which could be very logical.

The Eagles usually go heavy at corner but decided to unusually run light this season. They may well add some more names between now and next Sunday, but as things stand, the team are one bad injury away from the position being ruined once again.

Special teams szn

Craig James got a new deal, and the duo of Alex Singleton & Duke Riley made the roster. In fact, every linebacker did. The position that the Eagles appear to value the least, is among those with the most depth. A lot of this will come down to Dave Fipp and his push to stop special teams turnover. Rudy Ford and Marcus Epps both keep their roster spots as potent special teamers on a group that has suffered a lot of losses over the last few years. Keeping key contributors around is vital to its resurgence as one of the top groups in the league.

No RB by committee for the Eagles

We knew this the second the Eagles released all three of their underdog running backs, but the committee effort is no more. The team can use the practice squad to rotate players up without risk of losing them, but with Miles Sanders suffering a summer injury, the team currently only have Boston Scott and Corey Clement as backs at 100%. Sure, this will all fizzle out when Sanders returns, but in contrast to recent years, it feels very empty.

Alsh’g’on

Alshon Jeffery saw his name shopped around the league (again) today but actually makes the final 53. He won’t start on the PUP list or IR as many expected. Howie Roseman said to expect changes within the next two days, but could moving Alshon be one of them? If not, it’s an almighty cap-hit to swallow and a move that would suffocate the very clear and impressive progress of JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Had the Eagles not kept Alshon, they could’ve retained someone such as Sidney Jones, perhaps.

Light on OL depth

The Eagles typically run heavy on offensive line depth, but for the first time in what feels like forever, they’re only carrying 8. Brandon Brooks starts the year on the PUP list, at least keeping the idea of a 2020 return open, but considering the dire need for help at both guard and tackle right now, 8 linemen seems…odd.

Only 5 of the players have previous starting experience. Those five are your current starters if Peters takes the LT reins.

Eagles relying on the practice squad

It’s not just OL and CB impacted by a sudden lack of depth. The Eagles are only carrying two tight ends into the new season and both of them are absolutely crucial to the success of the offense. If one were to go down, the team would be in a really tight spot after waiving Noah Togiai.

The wildcard here is that practice squads have been expanded to 16. Two of those spots can now be used to flex players to-and-from the 53-man roster without a risk of exposing them to waivers. This may have prompted the team to go lighter at previous areas of concern, knowing that they can use the practice squad to safely add two players to their roster on a need-by-need basis as the weeks go by. It’s still an inherent risk to part ways with players who should be fringe talents, but even so, if they make the practice squad, there’s a chance they make a significant impact still.

Watch for names like Deontay Burnett, Grayland Arnold, and Noah Togiai to see some NFL action this year.

Highs and lows

The good news is, Casey Toohill, the team’s seventh-round pick, makes the roster at DE after a really strong camp. The worrying news is that last year’s fourth-round pick Shareef Miller fails to make the cut after a poor one. Ouch.

It wasn’t a good day for many former draft picks. Jones and Douglas bit the dust, while Prince Tega Wanogho, a rookie out of Auburn, also failed to push onto the back end of the final 53. This only further emphasizes how impressive it is that Toohill has impressed the coaches enough to stick on.

We’ll have a full position-by-position breakdown of the roster tomorrow so stay locked in!

Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire

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