Eagles Droppings 9/20: Eagles Pick Up Back, Reid Talks QBs and Bradley Praising Medical Staff
By Lance Epstein
Eagles Pick Up Bills RB:
According to various reports, the Philadelphia Eagles have signed Buffalo Bills practice squad running back Joique Bell.
Last year, Bell was the recipient of the Harlon Hill Award as Division II's player of the year for Wayne State. During his player of the year campaign, he rushed for 2,084 yards and an astonishing 29 touchdowns.
While his 2009 season was impressive, he compiled 2,065 yards during his redshirt freshman year. Over his entire career, Bell amassed 6,728 rushing yards and 89 rushing touchdowns. Moreover, he caught 79 balls for 918 yards and eight more scores. Ultimately, he finished ninth in NCAA history in total all-purpose yards with 8,055 yards (409 return yards).
Unfortunately, his impressive numbers did not guarantee him being selected in the first seven rounds of the 2010 NFL Draft. His “slow” 4.7 40-yard dash time had teams overlooking him. Eventually he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Bills, but did not make their 53-man roster. Once he cleared waivers, he was signed onto the Bills practice squad.
It has not been reported about whom the Eagles are release to make room on the 53-man roster, but all signs are pointing to running backs Eldra Buckley or Mike Bell. Bell struggled on Sunday against the Lions. He dropped some easy passes and was ineffective when running the football. More importantly, he cannot be counted on since he has been injured for much of OTAs, training camp and now the regular season.
Of course it could also be Buckley, who had minimal impact on Sunday. He did not run the ball once or go out on the field for an offensive series. That might be due to his costly fumble against the Green Bay Packers the week before.
Either way, it is likely that either Bell or Buckley will be the odd man out.
Reid Sticks By Kolb... Even If It Means Losing Now:
Head coach Andy Reid has been hearing all the reports by ESPN and the fans chirping about backup Michael Vick giving the Eagles the best opportunity to win right now. He also has his own stances on announcing Kevin Kolb as the starter from here on out.
“I can’t please everybody,” Reid said. “I know that. I’m here to make the decision that is right for the team. I think it’s a beautiful situation. I’ve got two quarterbacks that can play and a third young one that I think down the road here will be a good one at a very important position I’m a happy guy. There are a lot of teams that don’t have good quarterbacks. I think we can win with both guys.”
Reid believes he can win with Kolb as the starting quarterback since Kolb and the team has a ton of confidence in his abilities. In addition, his quarterback does not and should not feel any added pressure with Vick playing well over the last 1.5 games.
"I think Kevin have a lot of confidence in himself, I think the players have a lot of confidence in him," said Reid about Kolb overcoming a bad performance. "At that position, sometimes things aren’t going to go the way you want them all the time. Kevin’s a tough kid and that’s what you have to bank on. He’ll be fine. He’s an upbeat guy that knows he can play the game.
“You play quarterback in the National Football League. There’s pressure on you. You control what you can control and you go play. That’s how this things works. I’m not big on all that other stuff. Go play the game.”
Still, it did not stop the media from persistently asking him whether he would ever make the transition back to Vick if Kolb struggles.
“We’ll see how it all works out. I’m not here to justify one over the other. I’m not doing that. I’m very proud of Michael," Reid said. "Michael is a heck of a player. He was one of the all time greats in this league at one time. He’s on his way back. Kevin’s future, he doesn’t have the same experience, but it’s a bright one.”
However an area of concern for Reid has to be the offensive line. Over the first two games, the Eagles have allowed 12 sacks. Moreover, Vick was sacked six times on Sunday, but avoided an additional two or three with his legs.
Reid claims that the Lions brought too many guys for the offensive line to handled, but it is a position that the Eagles must improve upon.
“They (the Lions) were bringing more than you could block. We normally don’t see that quite as much as they were doing it. With that, I’ve got to give the quarterback the opportunity to get the football out of his hands," he said. "I can help him with playcalls in that type of situation. There were times when we didn’t handle the blitz the right way. Maybe we weren’t pushing the line the right way and communicating all the way across. It’s not one person, it’s not one position. It’s all of us on that thing, doing a little bit better. That should never be able to happen to us.”
Nevertheless, it seems like the Kolb Era is back on track and ready to go in Jacksonville this upcoming Sunday. However, if the Eagles are going to win and keep Kolb from turning into David Carr then they must protect him.
This is a critical juncture in Kolb's development and transition from backup to starting quarterback. If he is constantly pummeled into the ground then he will start making mechanical errors and even more poor decisions. For Kolb, another beating and possible injury could affect his long-term psyche.
Bradley Appreciates Doctors:
A week ago every media outlet and newspaper ripped the Eagles medical staff for the handling of Stewart Bradley and Kevin Kolb's concussions. Today, Bradley defended the medical staff.
"I never really felt that bad, really," Bradley said. "I always felt lucid and always felt like, other than that initial stumble, that my balance was good and I was mentally with it.
"It was just them taking precautions just for my safety, which you appreciate."
Bradley also stated that the training staff put him through seven or eight concussion test before sending him back into the game. Nonetheless, Bradley did admit that the medical staff and head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder asked him to remember some of the words as he was sent on the field. Unfortunately, Bradley could not remember them as he came off and was eventually pulled from the game.
Still, Bradley has a lot of confidence in the Eagles training staff. Also his mom (a nurse) couldn’t be happier by the Eagles forcing him pass rigorous concussion tests before getting back onto the field.
"They've done a great job. My mom's happy about it," he said.
Lastly, Bradley said he has been running and lifting with the team. He also anticipates and fully expects to play against the Jaguars on Sunday.
This is great news for defensive coordinator Sean McDermott because it makes his job that much easier. In McDermott's 19-game tenure as defensive coordinator, he has had Bradley for just a half a game. It was noticeable that his presence on the field makes the Eagles defense an upper echelon unit. Hopefully his return can be a long one, because (LB) Omar Gaither is not the answer at middle linebacker.