Brian Rolle’d out of Town; Vandervelde Returns
The Eagles have officially announced that they have released linebacker Brian Rolle and promoted linebacker Adrian Moten to fill his spot. The move is most definitely special teams related.
The move is a bit of a surprise given how quickly Rolle fell out of favor with the team. After starting 13 games for the Birds at weak side linebacker last season, Rolle only appeared in two games on defense this year for a total of 18 snaps according to PFF. In part, Rolle was marginalized as the result of a numbers game.
Last season the Eagles needed every linebacker they could get their hands on as offenses punished the defense with the running game. Despite the constant shuffling of every linebacker on the roster, there was no real success. This year, the Eagles added Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans–leaving only the will linebacker position open. Rolle was the favorite to win the job given his status from the previous year. However, he competed with Jamar Chaney and Akeem Jordan for the job throughout camp and was eventually buried on the depth chart.
Also, as mentioned earlier, the motivations for the move involve special teams. Kick coverage has been miserable throughout the year and the coaching staff must have deemed Rolle the weak link. As a result Moten will be called upon to take his place.
An undrafted free agent out of Maryland, Moten played for both the Colts and Seahawks last season. He also spent time time with the Eagles during the pre-season, but was released in the cut down to 53 players.
The other move that the Eagles made today was release tight end and long snapper Kyle Nelson for guard Julian Vandervelde.
This signing, while less shocking, is probably more influential for the team in the long run. Drafted in the 5th round last year, Vandervelde was released in the final roster cuts and signed to Tampa Bay’s practice squad. However, the Birds likely expected the former Hawkeye to clear waivers, rather than lose him entirely.
Vandevelde fits the bill for what Eagles like in their lineman: versatility. He has played at both center and guard for the Birds and could develop into a serviceable starter or spot starter in time. Think of Nick Cole for example. For that same reason, I predict that he will be called up in a few weeks to replace Steve Vallos, who plays a similar role, for the opportunity to claim a prospect of interest to the practice squad.