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Philadelphia Eagles News

Moves A Taste Of What's To Come

For the record, the Eagles signed former Canadian Football League defensive end/linebacker Chris McCoy, a player who had some success in the CFL, who has some burst and who is going to come in and compete for a roster position. He isn't a sure thing to make this team, or to make an impact, by any means.

But McCoy impressed the Eagles enough in a workout, and he was at the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday to take a physical and sign his contract, so he's here for a look. You never know ...

The bigger news was the release of Demetress Bell, who was an extreme disappointment in 2012. In many ways, his rise and fall provided a snapshot of what the Eagles were all about during a 4-12 campaign.

The loss of Jason Peters to a torn Achilles tendon was a devastating blow, but the Eagles felt that they had a real shot of at least replacing their Pro Bowl left tackle with an athletic, experienced player whom line coach Howard Mudd believed would fit perfectly in his blocking scheme.

Bell, though, never responded. Handed the starting job in the spring, Bell lost his grip almost right away. He was slow off the ball. He was unable to hold the edge. His training camp practices exposed all kinds of concerns, and then Bell's performance in the preseason was so disappointing that Mudd was forced to go to the next man in line, King Dunlap, as the starter.

In the end, Bell was just about the most disappointing acquisition the Eagles made in last year's off-season. He played in nine games and started five. And he never came close to the expectations the Eagles had for him when they quickly moved to replace Peters, whose absence had such a tremendously huge impact on the entire offense in 2012.

Nobody is surprised that Bell was released. The move saves the Eagles a bundle under the salary cap -- reportedly $9.6 million -- as the team creates flexibility for anticipated moves to be made leading into the 2013 season.

There are a lot of other stories percolating, of course -- When will the Eagles complete their coaching staff? What are they going to do with the quarterback situation? How will the team approach free agency? Who is the target with the fourth pick in April's draft? -- and Wednesday's mini-news was just the beginning.

The positive news in all of this is that the Eagles expect Peters to be healthy for 2013. There is no other single addition this team can make that will have a more positive impact than welcoming Peters back to the starting offensive line. He missed all of the 2012 campaign while recovering from his twice-injured Achilles and the Eagles acutely missed the services of a left tackle who dominates the edge of the offensive line of scrimmage. Peters is a stone wall in pass protection and his athletic ability keys the running game at the second level.

Missing Peters created huge headaches for an offense that again was turnover prone in 2012. The Eagles just couldn't replace the best left tackle in the game.

They've got him back now, as well as center Jason Kelce and guard/tackle Todd Herremans. The offensive line will be much improved for 2013, and it's certainly not unrealistic to expect that the Eagles will look for more talent at the line of scrimmage in free agency, the draft, or both.

Back to McCoy for a moment ... a former seventh-round draft pick, he's one of those 'tweener players whom the Eagles could look at as a defensive end in a 4-3 or a pass-rushing linebacker in a 3-4. We've still not received any confirmed direction for the defense as far as the scheme, nor do we know who is going to run the show as the coordinator. There are no rumblings about interviews scheduled or candidates on the verge of being hired. The mystery deepens ...

At least the team threw us a morsel of news on Wednesday. It was just a nibble, a taste. The main course, many of them, are still to come as Chip Kelly digests what he knows about the roster and looks to make improvements across the board.

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