JasonPhillipsIR

Scooped by Spadaro on my Eagles IR Comeback Guys story…

I had this story set up for weeks in advance… I knew the Eagles had these guys stockpiled on Injured Reserve, and as of February 5th they would be set free…So slowly I turned, step by step, and gathered notes on which one of them might still be viable candidates to contribute to the 2014 campaign…

We are talking about veteran receiver Arrelious Benn…. Speed rusher Phil Hunt from the Canadian Football League… Jason Phillips, backup linebacker and special teams ace….Joe Krueger, massive defensive end/outside linebacker who is the brother of Paul Krueger, who's making a pretty decent living himself as a massive defensive end/outside linebacker for the Cleveland Browns… and of course, former #1 draft pick Jeremy Maclin at wide receiver.

But I'll be damned if Dave Spadaro didn't beat me to the punch tonight by basically running the entire scenario, just as I had planned it, at Dave's own OTI/PE.com…

This month of February 2014 has not been going well for me at all… My muse  Brizer is apparently dead… my good buddy Brozer broke his leg playing hockey… I personally burned up a bag of microwave popcorn tonight  (the directions said 4 minutes at High, but the flames started shooting at 2:50), and I just got scooped by Spuds…

Anyway, for the sake of debate, I'm gonna go with Jason Phillips as the sole survivor of the IR List in 2014…

Benn is done…the knee is shot.  No shame in that. But while the pain has subsided, inside info reveals that Benn is two steps slower than before his previous knee injury. Game over for Benn…

Phil Hunt is ready to go again— but for what defensive system? How does he possibly qualify as a stand-up DE in a 3-4 scheme? It's impossible… Let Phil go free and find a job with a 4-3 defense that will appreciate his speed-rush capability…

Joe Krueger is a mess.  He rehabbed his shoulder injury but has no idea what weight he should be playing at. He's down to 265, and at 6-6 that is too light to even consider a serious run at DE for the Eagles.  Problem is, he thinks he can compete for outside linebacker… just like his big brother… but the sad fact is, Joe doesn't have the same instinctive football talent as his brother Paul.  Joe is one-dimensional… he gets the "attack" part, but he is awful in the "pursuit" part… and as for "coverage", forget about it. Joe Krueger is a pipe dream. The Eagles should release him so that he might catch on in a one-dimensional role with another team.

Jeremy Maclin is a mystery. Even if his ACL is entirely restored to 99.9% efficiency, how long will it be before he gets his bell rung or his ribs injured again? The guy has been a walking commercial for Blue Cross/Blue Shield ever since he came into the league. And I'm not suggesting that is Maclin's fault… the fact is, Jeremy is slight of stature… he's vulnerable… and he gets beat up a lot. The good news is he knows how to get open and he has great hands and wonderful vision… but in the end, he is a tiny dancer. The Eagles need a big and durable speed-merchant wide receiver at this time…they have enough tiny dancers already on the roster.

That leads me to Jason Phillips— the only IR graduate I see as having a real chance to contribute to the 2014 Eagles.

This guy is driven.  He's a baller.  But most of all, he fits the plan. He challenges at the outside linebacker position but he pays huge dividends on special teams. And trust me, the Eagles will ultimately break through the glass ceiling with superior play-making on special teams…

Knee is reconstructed… conditioning is solid… guy wants to chew glass and compose poetry about it afterward…

Phillips is the kind of eccentric personality the Eagles have needed on their side for a long time…

6-1, 240… drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2009 Draft…

Played for Carolina in 2011 and 2012…

But the main thing about Phillips is his overall aptitude for the game…

Phillips played quarterback and linebacker at Waller High School in Waller, Texas, where he was coached by his father, Jim Phillips. He also served as the Bulldogs' long snapper. As a senior in 2003, he threw for 1,070 yards and rushed for 1,291 yards to earn District 18-4A MVP honors. He also ran track at Waller, and was a regional qualifier in the 110 meter hurdles.

See, that's what I mean— you need a guy like this on your team. He's done it all, man, and he gets it!… It's about winning…duh…

Once at TCU, Phillips redshirted in 2004 as a fullback. In 2005, he was moved to linebacker and immediately earned a starting job. His first collegiate game was a 17-10 win against Oklahoma in Norman. That year, Phillips led the Horned Frogs in tackles and helped them win their first-ever Mountain West Conference Championship. He became the first freshman in conference history to be named All-MWC, as a Second Team selection. He was also named MWC Freshman of the Year by College Football News and Second Team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News. As a sophomore in 2006, Phillips was named First Team All-MWC and was second on the team in tackles.

It's in his blood. The Eagles need character guys like Phillips. They've seen the sport from both sides of the ball. They don't care who gets the glory. They just play hard for the love of the sport—and the desire to win.

 

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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