The trade on Thursday that sent Stanley Havili to Indianapolis in exchange for defensive end
Chip Kelly’s offense is to be determined as it unfolds before our eyes, but it’s likely to be an evolving and progressive scheme keeping in line with where the NFL is and where its offensive X’s and O’s are going. The idea of the “old-school” fullback is fading as teams spread the field and incorporate the read/option and demand that their players are more versatile and athletic to better match up against the speed and multiplicity of the league’s defenses.
So, then, say goodbye to the fullback in the Eagles offense. What will be is to be a hybrid player, a weapon on the field rather than, as it was defined in recent seasons, a placeholder used sparingly.
Who isn’t excited about what’s ahead? I mean, this is new territory, uncharted waters, and Kelly’s offensive mind combined with that of Pat Shurmur and what we know from his West Coast offense experience here in his 10-year run with the Eagles leads to tremendous possibilities. The likely upshot of the trade of Havili is this: The Eagles have moved away from having a pure-bred fullback on the roster and instead of having players who bring thunder as a lead blocker and an occasional ball handler, they want explosiveness and versatility.
The central figure in the plan is
He is expected to make plays down the field, rather than have a limited role and diminished snap count.
The Eagles – and this is a guess, obviously – could use one-back sets with
With no “pure” fullback on the roster, the Eagles have some flexibility to keep a third or even a fourth tight end among their prized 53.
It certainly wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility for the Eagles to seek more of what they are looking for in the position. And it makes you understand just a little bit more why the reaction was so positive when the team signed Casey in free agency. He moved around in Houston and made the most of his opportunities, and the feeling the Eagles have is that he will increase his productivity with more chances to touch the football – as a tight end, a fullback, an H-back or a slot receiver.
This is the new world in which NFL offenses live. The fullback is no longer in many offenses, replaced by a more athletic player who provides more options. Obviously, we saw this coming. Havili played in 232 snaps in 2012, three fewer than No. 5 wide receiver
As for the trade, time will tell. Geathers is a huge guy at 6 feet 7, 325 pounds. The Eagles are his fifth team since he was taken in the sixth round of the 2010 draft by Cleveland (he also played with Seattle, Dallas and last season with the Colts) and he’s gained strength and weight and has learned about the position as a “five technique” defensive end in a 3-4 front.
The trade is about getting a player the Eagles like in Geathers, and it’s also about a shift in philosophy that we’ve seen coming for years. The fullback position, as we knew it back in the days of Leonard Weaver and Jon Ritchie and even way back when to Kevin Turner and then Cecil Martin, is over. This new NFL order demands more and the Eagles just happen to feel really good about what they have in place with Casey leading the way as the hybrid “Mr. X” in the offense.