Moise Fokou spent one day of training camp as the first-team strongside linebacker before ceding the job to Akeem Jordan. Since then, Fokou has been moved around, given reps as a defensive end and at the joker position in addition to his duties as the backup SAM. So after a bit of a whirlwind summer, you can forgive the second-year former seventh-round pick for enjoying his opportunity to just get on the field and play football.
And play football he did Thursday night in the Eagles' 21-17 loss to the visiting New York Jets. Playing all over the defensive formation, Fokou led the team in tackles with 10 (eight solo), and was steps shy of a sack at least twice on the evening.
"I think the coaches knew I always had it in me, so they put me out there and let me loose," Fokou said. "I just like to get to the ball. Wherever you put me on the field, safety, (defensive end), linebacker, I'm going to get to the ball. That's the kind of player I am."
"I think he has improved not only at the linebacker spot, and he was probably the strongest at the linebacker spot, but also the defensive end as a pass rusher," said head coach Andy Reid following the game. "I liked what I saw there tonight and in the past weeks."
Fokou sees his versatility as a feather in his cap.
"All my focus has been on the linebacker position, but the more you can do the better," he said. "It's kind of fun. It makes me more versatile. Offenses don't really know what to expect from me."
And while he did all he could do Thursday night, Fokou does find himself in a crowded numbers game at linebacker. Stewart Bradley, Ernie Sims and Jordan are entrenched as the starters. Omar Gaither appears to be the top backup and rookie Keenan Clayton has been impressive all preseason. The team usually keeps six linebackers, though seven is not out of the question, which leaves Fokou in the mix with rookie seventh-round pick Jamar Chaney and veteran Tracy White.
"What we're trying to do here is find the best mix, the best 53-man roster of guys to move on forward with this team," Fokou said. "It's out of my hands now. I've put it all out on the field."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:12 a.m., September 3