Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Howie Roseman shines during NFL final cuts

Eliot Shorr-Parks
September 02, 2019 - 7:36 am

The preseason is over, training camp is in the books and the beginning of Week 1 is finally here for the Eagles. 

To get there, the Eagles cut 34 players from their 90-man roster over the weekend, getting down to the league-mandated 53-player roster. They have since added nine players to their practice squad and passed on claiming any player off of waivers. 

Before we dive into the team’s Week 1 opponent, here are some thoughts on the current roster and the decisions Howie Roseman made over the past few days. 

** Roseman shines: There are certainly things you can nitpick when it comes to the Eagles’ final 53-man roster, and we will indeed be doing just that. Still, the last two days were good ones for the Eagles. Teams around the league desperately tried to fill out their roster,  find 53-players good enough to keep and deal with self-created drama. 

The Eagles were not one of them. 

Not only did the Eagles likely have trouble picking 53-players -- a sign of how talented their roster is -- but they didn’t even claim any players off of waivers, deciding to stick with the guys they had. They then saw some of the guys they cut — including running back Wendell Smallwood and offensive tackle Brett Toth — get claimed. 

Meanwhile, the Houston Texans had to deal away one of there best players, Jadeveon Clowney, for pennies on the dollar. Clowney wanted to come to the Eagles but Roseman apparently flat-out said no. The Miami Dolphins, the team Clowney didn’t want to go to, sent out two first-round picks and a second-round pick to fill a need at left tackle. The Vikings traded a fifth-round pick for kicker Kaare Vedvik three weeks ago only to cut him over the weekend. The Oakland Raiders have four quarterbacks on their roster. The Giants kept Alex Tanney and still have Eli Manning on their roster. 

The Eagles, with Roseman at the helm, instead simply picked the best 53-players on arguably the best roster in the NFL and started to prepare for Week 1. They didn’t have to make any cuts to save money and none of their players demanded a trade. They didn’t need to overpay to fill a need. Instead, they were turning down talent.

In a league that is constantly filled with drama, especially over cutdown day, the Eagles once again show why they are one of the smartest and best-run franchises going right now in all of sports. 

** Stefen Wisniewski: One of the interesting decisions Roseman made was cutting offensive guard Stefen Wisniewski. Wisniewski is a veteran, so it could be that he is back after Week 1, making his contract non-guaranteed for the rest of the season. Still, cutting Wisniewski puts the Eagles in a potentially rough spot in Week 1.

Assuming Brandon Brooks doesn’t play the Eagles will go into their game against the Washington Redskins with exactly one player on the roster who has played guard in a regular-season NFL game before. They will start Isaac Seumalo, but other than him they will be counting on Halapoulivaati Vaitai to start at guard, with Matt Pryor as his backup. The Washington Redskins are not a great team, but they are deep along the interior of the defensive line. In his first game back from a fractured back, quarterback Carson Wentz could have some issues if one of his two guards were to go down with an injury. 

** Mack Hollins: Receiver Mack Hollins is back for a third year after making the team over Greg Ward. The reasons for Hollins sticking around are pretty clear. He was a 4th-round pick and he is a good special teams player. Ward was undrafted and isn’t as good on special teams. Ward is back with the team on practice squad, but didn’t get the roster spot he deserved from his play in training camp and the preseason. Despite making the team chances are that Hollins’ roster spot is on thin ice. If he can’t stay healthy, or isn’t an impact player on special teams, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ward make his way onto the 53-man roster at some point this season. 

** Clayton Thorson: The Eagles not only cut fifth-round pick Clayton Thorson, they also let the quarterback walk in free agency as he signed with the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad. A fifth-round pick not working out isn’t the end of the world, but for a team that is run at such a high level, it is embarrassing to see how their attempt to find a developmental quarterback went. Thorson did not play well overall in training camp, but he did have a strong arm and fit the prototype of what the Eagles look for in a quarterback. Perhaps they got too wrapped up in what they want a quarterback to look like — tall, big arm, semi-mobile — and looked past the obvious flaws in Thorson’s game when drafting him. Still, it is very surprising to see the Eagles give up so quickly from a player that just a few months ago was brought in to be developed. 

** Fletcher Cox: The team’s decision to only keep four defensive tackles is likely a good sign for where Fletcher Cox is at in his rehab. Cox has missed essentially the entire training camp and preseason as he continues to recover from offseason ankle surgery. The Eagles rotate their defensive tackles throughout the game, so they won’t be going into Week 1 with only three playing. That means Cox should play and start in Week 1, an obviously big boost for the defense overall, even if he does show some signs of rust from missing so much of the offseason. 

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