If I had to list a few of my favorite Eagles, I’d mention guys like DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek, Stewart Bradley and Leonard Weaver. But to round out my top 5, I’d put a guy that isn’t really a commonly mentioned name as far as favorites go. That man would be linebacker Omar Gaither.
I know I’ve mentioned a few times but I played some ball back in my day. And players that I played with and against that I really respected were guys that you could put in multiple positions, and they would play it to the best of their ability, no questions asked. Guys like Omar Gaither. This man has learned the ins and outs of the Eagles defense and can fill in admirably at WILL, SAM or middle. He’s been doing this for going on 5 seasons now, where he has stepped up when big names like Matt McCoy, Jeremiah Trotter, and Bradley fell.
But this off-season Andy Reid and company did a lot of work to the linebacker corps. There’s 8-10 guys competing for linebacker spots, and chances are they will only bring 6-7 on the final roster. With youth being the “trending topic” in the Eagles universe, does this mean that there isn’t going to be room for guys like Gaither on this years roster?
As far as starting jobs go, it’s pretty safe to say that weak-side and middle are spoken for. Stew will get his spot back in the middle after returning from injury, and new acquisition and former 9th overall draft pick Ernie Sims was likely brought in to fill the weak side spot. Gaither could compete with Moise Fokou, who won the starting spot at SAM in the last 4 games of 2009. But Gaither has very limited experience at this side.
If youth is truly the way the Eagles are going it’ll be guys like Ricky Sapp, Jamar Chaney, Akeem Jordan and Keenan Clayton backing up Bradley, Sims and Fokou. But some might question whether or not its wise to let go of a guy with the experience and knowledge like Gaither has. He could be a great mentor and provide a veteran presence to such a young linebacking corps. Sure, Sims has been in the league for a few seasons, but Gaither has been part of the organization for 5 years now.
It’s guys like Omar that hold teams together. Sure a linebacker like Elvis Dumervil in Denver may be a great pick for fantasy football team. But on a real football team the value of a man who can play multiple positions and who understands your defense is very high. And on most (if not all) NFL teams today, if you’re a backup and you can’t play at more than one position, your stock drops dramatically and you become very expendable.
I’d really like to see Andy keep Gaither around and provide a veteran presence on the defense. Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott and Reid speak highly of him, but it’s a business and you can’t take everyone. And unfortunetly the Eagles seem to be moving in a direction that might not include him. Only time will tell what the future has in store for Mr. Gaither but I wish him the best of luck no matter what management decides.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this topic. Leave a comment in the post or tweet me @InsidetheIggles .