The twists and turns that go into forming an NFL roster came to a halt late Sunday afternoon when the Eagles announced the addition of linebacker Tank Daniels and the subtraction of linebacker Rocky Boiman and stepped back with the finality of the moment: This is the 53-man group the Eagles take into their season opener.
It is a roster that appears to have depth all around. The quarterbacks are solid one through three. The offensive line has changing parts and at least a couple of reserves the Eagles feel they can count on right now to step in and play well. The wide receivers are thin without Kevin Curtis, but with the expected return of Reggie Brown this week, the Eagles have four receivers who have been in this system a long time and a fifth receiver, DeSean Jackson, who has picked things up extraordinarily quickly.
In the backfield, the Eagles have three running backs who give them flexibility, explosiveness and some power. They have a fullback in Tony Hunt who is a novice at the position, but the Eagles are never deep there, anyway. The tight ends are experienced in the system and are productive when called upon.
From stem to stern, the defense looks great. Brian Dawkins is a key player at safety, and he is ready to get back on the practice field and prepare for the Rams. Even with the injury to Victor Abiamiri, the Eagles feel really good about their depth at end. The cornerbacks go four deep -- and all four of those players have proven themselves as solid to great players in the NFL.
Linebacker? Young, but very talented. The top four 'backers on the depth chart showed up and made plays last year and then added more confidence to the situation by having outstanding summers.
Daniels was claimed off of waivers to replace Boiman, who worked his rear end off after signing here as an unrestricted free agent. Daniels is bigger, younger and at this point probably a better special teams player.
"We think he can help us there. He has made big plays in the past on special teams and we expect him to do the same thing again," said General Manager Tom Heckert after the move was announced. "Tank is a big, athletic guy who knows our scheme. He can step right in and help us out."
Whether this works out the way the Eagles have it laid out,well, I don't have the answer to that one. That is why they play the games. The Eagles like what they have on paper. Now they have to go out and prove they can regain the top seat in the NFC East and the NFC and capture that elusive Super Bowl championship.
The coaching staff worked on Sunday preparing for Sunday's game against St. Louis. The Rams suffered through a nightmarish 2007 season and are going to be plenty motivated to turn things around. They have every right to go for broke starting with the opening kickoff at Lincoln Financial Field. It is so incredibly important that the Eagles start the season well and play their best football from the very beginning and not have to dig themselves out of a hole in November and December.
Where am I going with all of this? Nowhere, really. Ramblings of an insanely impatient man. The clock is ticking too slowly. Sunday is too far away ...
NEWS AND NOTES AND THIS AND THAT
- As expected, Jerome McDougle signed immediately with a team. He joined the Giants on a one-year deal worth a reported $1 million. Good for McDougle. He deserves to make it in this league.
- No word on the practice squad until Monday, but understand that the Eagles spent the day on Sunday putting together their group. Until it is finalized, the team won't announce who is on the squad. I expect several of the team's cuts over the weekend to return.
- Former Panthers cornerback Ricky Manning, Jr., who had one terrific game against the Eagles in the NFC Championship back in the 2003 season, signed with the Rams over the weekend. Somewhere, Todd Pinkston is having flashbacks.
- The Eagles have a 10-10-10 practice on Monday, have the day off on Tuesday and then back into the routine with a gameplan practice on Wednesday. It's good to get into some kind of normal week after the crazy game schedule of the preseason.