The NFL preseason has come to an end, and teams have had to cut their rosters down to 53 players for the first week of the 2015 NFL season. For Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles, the roster has been finalized. There weren’t many notable cuts made by the Eagles, with the exception of a few. Here’s a look at the final cuts made by Philadelphia’s Head Coach Chip Kelly:
Quarterback Tim Tebow stands out as among the list of final cuts. Many people thought Tebow performed well enough in the preseason to earn the third quarterback spot, and it looked like Tebow’s chances of making the team increased after Chip Kelly traded Matt Barkley to the Arizona Cardinals on Friday. Nonetheless, Tim Tebow will not be wearing an Eagles uniform this year. In a press conference on Saturday, Chip Kelly thoroughly explained his reasoning for releasing Tebow. “We felt Tim has progressed, but we didn’t feel he was good enough to be the [No.] 3 right now,” Kelly said. “He really improved his throwing motion. I think he just needs to get more playing time, get out there and get actual reps. He’s done a ton on his own from an individual basis, but it’s about playing the game.”
The Eagles added their third quarterback on Sunday by claiming former Jacksonville Jaguar QB Stephen Morris off of waivers, to give the Eagles a QB-trio of Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, and Morris. Adding Morris over Barkley and Tebow was the only true surprise for the Eagles on cut day. Running back Kenjon Barner’s spot on the team was in question, purely because it was unknown whether or not Chip Kelly would want to keep four running backs after already having DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, and Darren Sproles. However Barner proved that he could fill a role on this Eagles team, giving Philadelphia one of the most dynamic running back groups in the league.
Heading into the season, the biggest question mark for Kelly’s Eagles remains in the secondary. Outside of starters Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll, Malcolm Jenkins, and Walter Thurmond, the Eagles are very thin in depth at corner and safety. The slot corner is still a big question mark heading into week one against the Atlanta Falcons. Veteran E.J. Biggers appears to have the edge over rookie Eric Rowe, but there will still be committee format early on in the season with both getting time on the field until one outperforms the other. Outside linebacker is another position defensively where the Eagles have no help besides their two starters in Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham. Last year’s first round pick Marcus Smith currently has a hamstring, and Brad Jones and Bryan Braman will serve primarily on special teams. Vinny Curry could get some reps at outside linebacker if Smith shows he’s not ready.
The Eagles do not have many roster concerns outside of depth at outside linebacker and safety. It will all come down to performance. Will the 53 men suiting up for Philadelphia be good enough to make the playoffs? The 2015 season is looking promising for Chip Kelly’s Eagles, and if all goes as planned, this could be a team that is playing deep into January.
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