The so-called "dress rehearsal" game between Cleveland and Philly this coming Thursday night is bigger than originally portrayed here...
Turns out a lot more personnel decisions will be based upon this meeting than originally thought...
Both teams have announced their starters---including the 1's and some 2's--- will play up to three quarters of the game.
And it took an earthquake (5.8 on the Richter scale) to wake me today to the fact that Eagles LB candidate Brian Rolle is going to get his best chance on Thursday to show he belongs on the roster as a nickel linebacker in the NFL.
Brian Rolle in pursuit in the Ravens preseason game....at 5-10, 229 out of Ohio State (6th round), Rolle gets his biggest chance to make the team against Cleveland and Colt McCoy in Thursday's outing...
If Rolle were about .15 second faster in the '40, I'd try to turn him into the baddest strong safety the Eagles have ever had...
Instead, what we have is an undersized OLB whose best chance to survive and thrive in the NFL is as the hybrid "nickel linebacker" in specialized packages designed to crush 2nd-and-long and 3rd-and-long situations for opposing offenses...
Rolle will get the chance of a lifetime against the Browns this week...
Coach Andy Reid announced that the starters will play the first three quarters of Thursday's preseason game against Cleveland.
And to clarify, rookie Jason Kelce is expected to start at center ahead of veteran Jamaal Jackson. King Dunlap will start at right tackle in place of injured Winston Justice (knee surgery) and Ryan Harris (back spasms), but Reggie Wells also could get a lot of playing time.
Wells just re-signed with the team Sunday. "It wasn't like I didn't want to be back or that they weren't pleased with the progress I was making at the end of last year," Wells said. "Ultimately, I just wanted a chance to play again."
On defense, Casey Matthews will remain the starting middle linebacker, but rookie Brian Rolle, a cousin of Galloway Township native and Tennessee Titans safety Myron Rolle, will play with the starters in passing situations.
[The Cleveland connections: Thursday's game will be a homecoming of sorts for several Browns players. Their roster includes six former Eagles: cornerback Sheldon Brown (2002-09), linebacker Chris Gocong (2007-09), wide receiver Jordan Norwood (2009), cornerback Dimitri Patterson (2009-10), cornerback Ramzee Robinson (2009) and tight end Alex Smith (2009).]
[In addition, Browns coach Pat Shurmur was an Eagles assistant from 1999-2008. His staff includes two other former Eagles coaches: defensive coordinator Dick Jauron (defensive backs 2010) and senior defensive assistant Ray Rhodes (head coach 1995-98).]
Rolle has grasped what new coordinator Juan Castillo is trying to do well enough to work his way this week into the first-team nickel package, which means he could wind up starting a bunch of games this season, considering how often opponents start with pass packages against them.
"When the coach kind of said [I would be with the first team], I was like, 'did he mean what he said?'" Rolle said. "But I've been getting compliments on how I played in the first two games, so I'm not surprised I'm out there with the 1's."
Rolle's only thought now is to play as fast as he talks and to not think about being out of position or anything else.
"I'm not worried about mistakes," Rolle said. "That's what Castillo tells me. Don't worry about making mistakes, just worry about making plays, and I'm just out there having fun."
Rolle now replaces fellow rookie Casey Matthews on passing downs, joining second-year player Jamar Chaney as the only linebackers on the field.
"I play the [middle linebacker]'," he said. "If they run the ball, I'm stuffing holes and [if they pass] I'm out guarding the tailback or tight end or whatever may be."
This is a big deal for such a (relatively) "small" defensive guy...
Rolle is undersized at 5-10, 229, but was good enough to win the Randy Gradishar Award as Ohio State's top linebacker last season. Drafted in the sixth round, he is part of what is shaping up to be an extremely strong set of rookies.
How strong? Rolle could be one of as many as six rookie starters on opening day, including Matthews, punter Chas Henry and kicker Alex Henery. Offensive linemen Danny Watkins and Jason Kelce are the others.
Meanwhile Gary Cobb.com reports that Juan Castillo faced the media yesterday and he knew he was going to receive quite a few questions about the struggles of rookie middle linebacker Casey Matthews and the Eagles other young linebackers.
Castillo came out talking about patience. He believes that he and the Birds coaching staff will have the time to develop the young linebackers for the second half of the season.
“Remember, it takes 16 weeks, and then really [it comes down to] whoever is playing the best during the playoffs. When you look at it, there is time to develop. You can say that there’s not, but the key is, fundamentally who is the best come Week 8, 9 10, during that crunch time. Over the years, we’ve been pretty good during that time, and we’ll continue to do that.”
"Sometimes….. when you’re looking at a game and you think ‘well it’s this guy’s fault,’ you know, sometimes, unless you understand what’s going on, well this guy, it wasn’t his gap," the defensive coordinator contended.
Gary Cobb wrote--- "I must admit that I don’t understand why the Eagles moved Jamar Chaney out of the middle linebacker position. But Castillo refused to answer the question of whether he considers Chaney an insurance policy at middle linebacker if Matthews can’t cut it."
“Jamar is playing a position that’s special”, Castillo responded. “That SAM linebacker, I don’t know if you noticed that, that’s a special position for us. It’s almost a hybrid. He’s got to be able to run, but yet, he’s got to be able to come in there and take on that C gap. That’s a pretty important position to us. He’s a pretty good player, playing a position that’s very important for us.”
Castillo also said he is teaching Matthews a different technique to ward off opposing linemen, involving the use of the hands, according to Cobb.
It's not a tough sell as long as the Eagles get of to a fast start. But if the Birds falter defensively in the first six weeks or so of the regular season, I'm sure Castillo will have some explaining to do. Of course, all of this speculation is meaningless conjecture if the Eagles go out and sign a premier free agent MLB tomorrow (not that there are many, if any, out there...)
Oh yeah, the earthquake that hit the East Coast for 30 seconds yesterday...
About 30 minutes after they finished practice at the NovaCare Complex, players were scattered around the locker room and cafeteria when they felt the tremors caused by an earthquake that shook almost the entire East Coast.
"I was eating lunch and the TVs started swinging," fullback Owen Schmitt said. "I was sitting with (guard) Mike McGlynn, and at first I thought it was him shaking the table and just goofing around. But it wasn't.
"That was pretty intense. I don't know how people in California deal with that (shyte)."
Rookie middle linebacker Casey Matthews, a native of Westlake Village, Calif., was more confused than scared.
"I thought it was only blizzards and stuff like that back East," he said.
Defensive end Trent Cole and wide receiver Riley Cooper were among the players in the showers when it hit.
Cole burst into the locker room with a panic-stricken look in his eyes and yelled, "Did you all feel that?"
Cooper sure did. "I had just put my drink on the shelf of the shower and felt everything starting to shake," Cooper said. "I was like, 'Is it me or is this an earthquake?' I almost blacked out."
Linebacker Moise Fokou was among the players lifting in the weight room when the stationary bikes, treadmills and even some of the weights started to shake.
"I thought I was going to die," Fokou said.
I came in hoping to snag a first on TJ's new article, but no such luck. Oh well, I'll get her some day. :(
come to thimk of it,..that wine was kinda funny tonite,..ATV,..who 0.5 suks ,..and his big mouf,..needs one,..cuz he routinely sticks his big foot in it....how 'bout dem Cubs?...6.5,..genius!,..perk up!,...&.
Hola amigos! Ok JB as I said I am down for whatever rules but would like a chance to review them before the draft to see how things are weighted, etc.
I know a dude who screwed his rules up once and assigned 1000 points to 10 kick return yards... that was totally sweet...
But I guess... in the end.. we'll have to vote on it... which is only fair with so many new peoples.
Still no word from doc oc and his bro... who was champ last year.
Yeah, the guy who beat me in the championship game. He pretty much had an awesome team that no one was going to beat if I remember correctly. I tried and failed miserably at it. @TheGreatJB99