How do the Eagles plan to add LB depth?

<b>Now that Randall Godfrey has signed a one-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks, the Eagles still have a hole behind middle linebacker Mark Simoneau, and there are not many adequate players left to replace him. What direction the Eagles will take in adding depth to a position that has been uncertain since the defection of Jeremiah Trotter is still to be seen. There are still some options available, but none are as high profile as Godfrey.</b>

After spending just one-day visiting Seattle, Randall Godfrey inked a one-year deal to take him off the free-agent market. The Eagles supposedly were interested in the Former Titan, but in the end Seattle was just a better fit for him. So now, in the aftermath of Godfrey's signing the Eagles must address the middle linebacker position. It is no secret that this will be Mark Simoneau's first opportunity to start at this level, and combine that with the fact that he is highly injury prone, this makes for one giant question mark at middle linebacker.

Last season's starter Levon Kirkland is still on the free-agent market, and if the Eagles find it fit for him to return, Philadelphia is on the top of his short list of teams he wishes to play for. A list that may be even shorter then Kirkland's is that of free agent linebackers still on the market. Once again it looks like the Eagles may have missed the boat on a big name free agent who would have filled a void on the team. But with that said, there are still some free agents who slipped through the June first cracks, and are still on the market. Throughout the course of 2002, opponents exposed the Eagles weakness at middle linebacker. When Kirkland was on the field teams attacked the position with short passes to halfbacks who could easily race past Kirkland. The Eagles plan on utilizing speed at the position and thus Simoneau was signed. But a backup and possible replacement for the former Falcon must be signed, or a young player must step up by the time September rolls around.

During this period leading up to training camp, free agents are hard to come by, but that should all change in the coming weeks. There are not too many linebackers left, and the pickings are slim for the Eagles. Should they choose this route towards finding depth, they may only find familiar faces on the way.

Former Eagle Mike Caldwell who spent last season with the Chicago Bears is once again available. Caldwell only tallied 46 tackles last season with three sacks. One must remember, that Caldwell only started three games. If he is brought back to Philadelphia, he would not be starting, and with those numbers he would become a fairly serviceable backup. Beyond Caldwell there are not many linebackers still available that would be capable of adding depth at the position on this team

If the Eagles choose not to pursue a free agent to fill this void, they have several young but unproven players waiting to take their shots. Ike Reese is currently slated as the number two linebacker on this team, behind starters Carlos Emmons, Mark Simoneau and Nate Wayne. Reese has been a solid special teams player since joining the team, and would be a decent linebacker when given a shot to play. But beyond him it gets even shakier. Tyreo Harrison, Justin Ena and Keith Adam all lack starting experience in this league. Justin Ena has the talent to fill in at the three spot of the depth chart, but he is not a starter. Harrison has the size and awareness, but he just may not be fast enough to hold a starting role just yet. If the Eagles intend on making a mach to the Super Bowl, they will need to have the depth at every position in case the injury bug bites the team in 2003.


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