He was quite possibly the biggest question mark remaining in a back seven that has undergone much refinement over the last eight months. With the regular season fast approaching, now he's on the bench -- at least for time being.
After a disappointing preseason, Brian Rolle has been replaced at weakside linebacker in the starting lineup by six-year veteran Akeem Jordan. While Rolle clearly does not agree with the assessment that he's been disappointing, the job wound up falling to Jordan instead of Jamar Chaney in part because Chaney has been dealing with hamstring issues.
Ironically, Jordan has replaced many a linebacker for the Eagles over his career, and been replaced himself a few times for that matter. Should he start on September 9, it will be the 28th of his career. We only say "should he start" because Rolle seems to believe he could reclaim his job between now and then.
While it's admittedly a small sample size, Rolle's play this preseason hasn't left evaluators with a whole lot of positive things to say. He's been caught out of position a few times, and not surprisingly due to his size (5-10), he's been pushed around quite a bit -- not to mention drawn a few yellow flags. Rolle showed some potential as a rookie last season, but giving somebody else a shot right now seems warranted.
While the choice of Jordan came out of nowhere, I like what he brings to the table. He's bigger at 6-1, 230, a veteran who knows the system, and a much surer tackler than Rolle. Jordan stepped into the lineup at strongside around the midway point last season, and played about as well as any of their linebackers at the time, whatever that tells ya.
And granted this is not entirely a football-related point, but how can you not root for the guy? An undrafted free agent from James Madison, Jordan has paid his dues and done whatever the coaches have asked, along the way developing into a superb special teams player for the Birds. Now can he become a reliable weakside linebacker?
That of course remains to be seen, but clearly it was time to see what somebody else can do. We'll find out if Rolle has any real chance to get his job back soon or if that was just a player having confidence in himself. Jordan is a solid vet though, and he won't simply hand it over.
>> Jordan replaces Rolle as starting WLB [CSN]