Eagles Pick Up Schmitt, Promote TE Mills and Resign Topou
By Lance Epstein
On Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles confirmed that All-Pro fullback would miss the rest of the 2010 season with a very severe torn ACL. During head coach Andy Reid's radio show on Monday night, he announced that the Eagles have come to terms with free agent fullback Owen Schmitt.
Schmitt, 25, was considered to be one of the best fullbacks in the 2008 NFL draft. The Seahawks drafted him in the fifth round out of West Virginia after seeing his ability to excel as a blocker, runner and receiver out of the backfield. Ironically, Schmitt is the same player who forced the Seahawks to let Weaver hit the open market and sign with the Eagles.
Over the past two seasons, Schmitt has played 30 career games. In those games, he has 5 carries for 21 yards and 12 receptions for 50 yards and a touchdown. The 6-2, 245-pound back caught the eye of the Eagles coaching staff during his rookie season as he set career highs in catches (3) and receiving yards (10) against the Eagles.
This season, new Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll whose offense does not entail a fullback released Schmitt. Reid compared Schmitt on his radio show to former Eagle Jon Ritchie. Like Ritchie, Schmitt loves mashing people and doesn't mind bleeding on the job. Both he and Ritchie have required stitches for gashes on their forehead in the middle of games. Something the blue-collar city of Philadelphia will love.
Besides the news on Schmitt, Reid said that the Eagles promoted practice squad tight end Garrett Mills to the active 53-man roster. The extra roster spot opened up when starting center Jamaal Jackson was placed on Injured Reserved with a torn triceps muscle.
Just seven days ago, Mills was signed to the Eagles practice squad. Mills is entering his fourth NFL season, but was still eligible to be on the practice squad. In just seven career games (all with Minnesota), Mills has recorded seven receptions for 91 yards.
However, Mills is very versatile player as he can be used at the fullback and tight end position. This was one of the reasons the Eagles were interested in picking up the flexible tight end.
To replace Mills spot on the practice squad, the Eagles signed former draft pick Fenuki Tupou. Topou was released at the roster cutdown deadline. Before being cut, he was lining up at guard.
While Schmitt is a good acquisition, he cannot replace what Weaver does on and off the field. Weaver is a one of the emotional leaders inside the Eagles locker room. He is also one of the few veterans with a ton of experience. A lot of the young players go to him for help or advice.
Obviously, Weaver’s production on the field is going to be difficult to match. Last year, Weaver set career highs in rushing yards and touchdowns with 323 yards and two touchdowns. He also registered 15 receptions for 140 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
Still, Schmitt brings a nasty mean streak and has the ability to be an adequate runner. At Wes Virginia, he compiled 160 carries for 1,003 yards and 13 touchdowns. Additionally, he pulled in 32 receptions for 288 yards and two touchdowns.
Schmitt is not going to be Weaver, but if he can clear a path for RB LeSean McCoy and keep defenders off of QB Kevin Kolb then the Eagles offense should still be very efficient.