Analyzing The Signings

Ma'ake Kemoeatu

While the Eagles weren't getting the guys they wanted on Saturday, other teams were. Here's a look at who has signed where and what it means for the teams involved.

Running Backs

Ron Dayne (Denver) – May have found himself in the rushing-machine known as the Denver Broncos offense. Some of his on-field success, though limited may come from a diligent off-season workout program which he entered and the blocking emphasis of the Denver scheme. Dayne displayed much better burst and vision in the 2005 season, while maintaining a powerful lower base. The Broncos appear committed to Dayne in some capacity, whether as a starter or backup.

 

Chester Taylor (Minnesota) – Versatile back which has been the jack-of-all trades while a member of the Baltimore Ravens. Has not been a feature back at the professional level, but will get the opportunity with the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota head coach Brad Childress envisions the opportunity to focus on Taylor in the running game, much the Eagles (Childress' former team) does with Brian Westbrook, with Taylor being a better between the tackles rusher.

 

DeShaun Foster (Carolina) – The Panthers are in a precarious position at running back. Foster is everything the team wants in a back, but questions remaining regarding injury issues kept this deal from getting done sooner. Despite the issues, the Panthers are thin at the position and are hopeful Foster can be their workhorse back in the future.

 

Mike Alstott (Tampa Bay) – Due to his versatility and experience, Alstott appears poised to play one more season in Tampa Bay. Alstott fits nicely in the Tampa Bay offensive scheme and his leadership qualities were hard for the team to pass on (as well as a modest salary).

 

Jameel Cook (Houston) – Cook is an improving blocking back. Lacks the speed and quickness to carry the load for a team, but can be an asset coming out of the backfield on occasion, as well as on special teams.

 

Tight End

 

Robert Royal (Buffalo) – The Bills are seeking a tight-end which possesses receiving skills to be a threat in the intermediate passing game. While his blocking skills are suspect, Royal came into his own during the 2005 season in Washington and fits the mode of receiver first, improving blocking type player the team targeted.

 

Wide Receivers

Joe Jurevicius (Cleveland) – The Browns were seeking a bigger receiver to line-up opposite Braylon Edwards. In Jurevicius, the Browns have landed an experienced receiver which played very well in the 2005 season. Jurevicius' quickness is deceiving, as he has displayed the ability to get open consistently and makes tough receptions. With a need at wide receiver, this signing is a solid choice for the Browns.

 

Koren Robinson (Minnesota) – Robinson took advantage of the opportunity the Vikings provided him upon his signing early in the 2005 season. Quickly becoming a factor in the kick return game, Robinson has become a fixture in Minnesota and was evolving in the Vikings passing game. Under new head coach Brad Childress' offensive scheme, Robinson could play a major role. With his maturity on the rise, now may be the time Robinson begins to play to his potential.

 

Isaac Bruce (St. Louis) – Only due to salary-cap issues prior to the new CBA was Bruce released, then pulled back from the cut-list. Due to the CBA, the Rams had the additional funds under the salary cap to re-sign Bruce to a new contract. New head coach Scott Linehan wanted Bruce back and he got his wish, as the reliable veteran has inked a three-year deal with the club. Bruce still plays the game at a high level, while he may not be as explosive as he once was, Bruce remains one of the better receivers in the game, teaming with Torry Holt.

 

Center

LeCharles Bentley (Cleveland) – Cleveland wanted to get physical this off-season along the offensive line, a major step was taken with the signing of LeCharles Bentley. Bentley moves well for a man 315-pounds, can maul the opposition, can get to the second line of defense, and has displayed the agility to adjust on the fly. One of the top players available in free agency, Bentley can play center or guard at the highest level.

 

Offensive Guards

Milford Brown (Arizona) – Inconsistent is just one description of Brown. One play he can look like an All-Pro, the next Brown can appear to have no clue. Despite having great size (6'4" 330-lbs), Brown can struggle against a defensive lineman push, while showing sloppy footwork and slow reactions. Can maul in close, but can not be expected to reach the second level of the defense with any consistency. Though being a four-year veteran, Brown still appears to be a project and should be expected to provide depth to an offensive line. At this time, this signing is questionable if for anything other than depth purposes.

 

Jason Whittle (Minnesota)Whittle will step in and provide the Vikings with much needed depth along the interior of the offensive line. Minnesota's offensive line struggled last season, some of which was due to injury, players not playing to potential, and an overall lack of talent in the scheme.

 

Offensive Tackles

Kyle Kosier (Dallas) – Improving, versatile talent. Can play the guard or tackle positions, showing sufficient quickness to get to the second level of defense and shed off the corner. Lacks overall strength to be physical, but is aggressive and follows through the play. While not as physical as you would like, Kosier is very agile and should be a solid fit with the Cowboys.

 

Kevin Shaffer (Cleveland) – Shaffer is a young and improving talent that will fit nicely into the Browns reshaped offensive line. Not overly big, Shaffer uses his hands and feet well to get into position. Has shown some minor inconsistency against quicker ends off the corner, but has worked diligently to improve his awareness. With a need at the left tackle position, the Browns have solidified the weakness with the signing of Shaffer.

 

Victor Rogers (Detroit) – Needing help along the offensive line, the Lions retained the services of tackle Victor Rogers. Rogers, a large lineman can engulf a defensive lineman, but is often beaten by quicker ends. In Rogers, the Lions keep an average lineman which should help with depth issues.

 

Defensive Ends

Trevor Pryce (Baltimore) – When/if healthy, Pryce is an explosive force. Injuries appear to have robbed him of his great quickness and strength off the ball. Pryce is a good fit in the Baltimore defensive scheme, if healthy. The jury is out on this signing until Pryce proves he can play without injury issues.

 

Anthony Weaver (Houston) – Weaver made significant strides during the 2005 season. Point of attack play improved, and has shown the ability to get into the backfield. Plays the run reasonably well and will be expected to make plays in the Houston defensive scheme. Pass rush skills improving as he learns to play off blocks. Houston needed quickness and athleticism at the end position, and Weaver could be a solid starter for the Texans.

 

Aaron Kampman (Green Bay) – The Packers and Kampman worked long and hard to get a deal done prior to the defensive end hitting the open market in free agency. Kampman, very good against the run and a better than average pass rusher felt at home in Green Bay and didn't want to depart. Give credit to the Green Bay front office for stepping to the plate and retaining this popular and consistent lineman. If Kampman would have opted for free agency, he would have been in high demand.

 

Defensive Tackles

Larry Tripplett (Buffalo) – Larry Tripplett is not the run-stuffing defensive tackle he replaces (Sam Adams), but he will give an all-out effort. Much more quicker than physical, Tripplett has the ability to penetrate at the point of attack. Will stand his ground and shed blocks, but can be overpowered at times. In need of a nose/defensive tackle, the Bills have adequately filled the need.

 

Gerard Warren (Denver) – Coming off a sound 2005 season, Warren played well for the Broncos after coming over in a trade with the Browns. Still displays the ability to penetrate the line of scrimmage, while playing the run well. For the first-time in his short career, Warren played to the potential expected of him for an extended period of time and should be a main-stay along the Denver defensive line.

 

Ma'ake Kemoeatu (Carolina) – Big, run-stuffing defensive tackle is physical at the point of attack and will certainly improve an already good Carolina defensive line. Kemoeatu was highly sought due to his ability to manhandle blockers and make plays. This is a very good signing for the Panthers.

 

Kendrick Clancy (Arizona) – Clancy came into his own during the 2005 season with the Giants. Plays the run well and displayed improved strength and quickness. Plays extremely hard and does not quit. Is not a factor rushing the passer, but has learned how to take up space and slide off blocks. A nice face-lift for the Cardinals run defense.

 

Chris Hovan (Tampa Bay) – Hovan turned his career around in Tampa Bay after being jettisoned from Minnesota. Still shows the ability to shoot the gap and run-stopping ability improved once moving onto Tampa Bay. Did not disappear in games in 2005, as he had done in Minnesota. While not a top-quality defensive tackle, Hovan is better than average in the Buccaneers scheme.

 

La'Roi Glover (St. Louis) – Glover remains a solid defensive lineman and should improve an already quick Rams from four. Undersized for the 3-4 in Dallas, Glover should excel in the familiar 4-3 which will be run in St. Louis. With ample speed and quickness as a 4-3 defensive tackle, Glover has the ability to penetrate the line of scrimmage and attack the quarterback, while playing the run well.

 

Linebackers

Ben Leber (Minnesota) – Ben Leber is a good linebacker and should excel in the Tampa-two type defensive scheme which will be utilized in Minnesota. With the ability to drop into coverage effortlessly, while playing the run on a better than average level, Leber will become an instant starter and player to be looked upon for his leadership qualities. This signing is one of the best from day-one in the free agent player signing period.

 

Shawn Barber (Philadelphia) – Barber returns to Philadelphia where he tasted his greatest success with the Eagles. If healthy, Barber's athleticism will be a welcomed addition to a Philadelphia defense which was seeking speed and quickness on the outside. The one-year deal Barber agreed to with the team is a safe offer for the team which could pay high rewards, not only for the Eagles, but for Barber if he is able to return to pre-knee injury form.

 

Cornerbacks

Brian Williams (Jacksonville) – The Jaguars were looking for another solid cornerback to improve their defensive backfield. Williams, provides the Jaguars with a solid talent at the corner, that can play safety if necessary. During the 2005 season, Williams solidified his position as a starting quality cornerback.

 

Sam Madison (NY Giants) – The Giants headed into the off-season looking to improve their below average defensive backfield. In Madison, the Giants have a cornerback that has the ability to man-up on a receiver and at times demonstrates the skills to take a receiver out of the game. While not as dominant as in years past, Madison should be a quality upgrade over free agent Will Allen in New York.

 

Safeties

Marlon McCree (San Diego) – Physical player that has the ability to play either the strong or free safety positions. Displays good quickness and recognition, but can be too aggressive and breakdown on plays in front of him at times. Very good in run support and better than average in pass defense, though pass coverage skills have improved. The Chargers were seeking an upgrade and physical presence in the defensive backfield, which is exactly what McCree provides.

 

Marquand Manuel (Green Bay) – Stepped in when starter Ken Hamlin was sidelined during the 2005 season and played well. Manuel is solid in run support and his pass coverage responsibilities did not overwhelm him. Not the swiftest of foot, but is learning to play angles well Will step in and provide the Packers an upgrade in the defensive backfield.

 

Corey Chavous (St. Louis) – Chavous remained a quality defensive back in the 2005 season and has shown little slippage. Still displays the ability to cover ground, doesn't make mental mistakes, and supports well against the run. Not overly quick nor fast, depends on his experience to be in position. A true upgrade for a questionable St. Louis defense.

 

Shaunard Harts (Seattle) – Harts is player which should provide depth to the defensive backfield of the Seahawks. Not viewed as a starting candidate, Harts could fill a reserve role in Seattle, and may have the opportunity to compete, especially with Marquand Manuel on the verge of testing free agency and Ken Hamlin recovering from injuries suffered in an off-field incident.

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