PHILADELPHIA - MAY 1: Defensive back Macho Harris #35 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks on during minicamp practice at the NovaCare Complex on May 1, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Over the weekend the Eagles cut safety Victor "Macho" Harris, one of the team's fifth round picks from 2009. The release was a bizarre turn of events considering it was only one year ago that the Eagles made Macho the surprise starter at free safety for the start of the season.
Of course, Macho's play wasn't exactly stellar in 2009. He was always a liability and was replaced at various points during the year by veteran Sean Jones. But, thrown into the fire as a rookie playing a different position (since he was a cornerback at Virginia Tech), Macho could hardly have been expected to be perfect. The fact that he got so much playing time seemed to indicate his potential.
Thus, when the Eagles predictably shifted Macho back to corner in the offseason, some speculated that he could compete for the starting job vacated by Sheldon Brown. Injuries and uninspiring play in training camp and the preseason didn't bode well for his future at that position though, especially with five solid corners already in position to make the team.
So when Sean McDermott shifted Macho back once again to safety toward the end of camp, it would have been logical to conclude that Harris would end up as a second string player at that position. Getting cut loose entirely seemed like an unlikely proposition — his extensive playing time last season would certainly make him a positive contributor down the line.
But Macho was not only beat out for a job by rookie 7th round pick Kurt Coleman, but by a player who the Eagles had seen for a paltry three days, cornerback/returner Jorrick Calvin. How could a young player go so fast from starter to the waiver wire? Even Quintin Demps, who never even won the safety job in the first place, was kept on the roster for two full years as the Eagles hoped he would mature into a starter. Macho was a serviceable starter as a rookie. What's the excuse for getting rid of him so early in his career?
There are only two possibilities that I can see here. Macho's play could have declined significantly to the point where the Eagles couldn't ever envision him being worth a roster spot. This seems far fetched. Instead, what if Macho was never really any good to begin with. Maybe the fact that he started so many games last year isn't an indication of his skill, but rather an indictment of the players he beat out.
In other words, perhaps we wouldn't be surprised Macho was cut — if we could accept how bad and desperate last years' defense had become.