Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles Training Camp is One Month Away

Futbol?  Au contraire.  Philadelphia Eagles football.  The taste resonating in Eagles fans everywhere still tastes just as sour as it did in January when the New Orleans Saints defeated the Eagles in the closing seconds of the NFC Wild Card round.  With exactly a month until the official start of Eagles training camp, there are subdued yet high expectations surrounding the Eagles this upcoming 2014 season. Second year head coach Chip Kelly gets a full off-season with players familiar with the system adding an influx of players to challenge depth charts everywhere.

Back-Up Quarterbacks

After a monumentally poor OTA session for both Matt Barkley and Mark Sanchez,

the score is tied heading into training camp with both players being judged on starter’s criteria. Let’s face it Eagles fans, neither player is expected to face starters minutes. Training camp is going to determine which one of the aforementioned quarterbacks is going to get the first opportunity to play. Can Mark Sanchez provide consistency and veteran leadership in the clubhouse with his fellow quarterbacks? Can Matt Barkley show resiliency and overcome his short-comings? Is there any chance whatsoever that G.J. Kinne even breaks the roster? My guess is that the loser of the Barkley/Sanchez battle loses a roster spot in favor of the young Kinne.


2013 Quarterback Statistics
Quarterback Name: Total Touchdowns Interceptions Yards per Completion
Nick Foles 30 TD(3 Rushing) 2 14.2
Matt Barkley: Zero 4 10.0
Mark Sanchez (career): 80 (12 Rushing) 69 11.8

Back End of Secondary

Malcolm Jenkins and his 3 year, $15.5 million contact implies that we as fans can expect to see Jenkins starting week one of the NFL regular season. What we don’t know is whether Nate Allen or Earl Wolff will win the other safety job in training camp. Allen got re-signed to a one year contract this off-season so clearly the Eagles want Allen on the roster, but can he prove to be lesser of a liability in coverage? Can Earl Wolff maintain his health and be a reliable piece on the back end of Billy Davis’ defense? For the concentrated fan…can rookie Ed Reynolds from Stanford turn heads and make the team for high-upside depth? I personally believe that Reynolds has the potential to be a starter from week one over the other two incumbents. What I like most about his upside is that he can lay the wood yet still attack the ball.

 

Does Passing Game Rely on Young Guns?

Jun 17, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Wide receiver Josh Huff (11) walks to the field during mini camp at the Philadelphia Eagles NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Brad Smith is the only wide receiver on the Philadelphia Eagles roster that has more than five seasons of NFL experience in his resume. When training camp concludes, Smith could easily be on the wrong side of the fence.

Rookies Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff both come into training camp with expectations of starting roles. For Matthews, the future is clearly bright and he could easily be the starting slot receiver for Chip Kelly week one against the Jacksonville Jaguars. As for Huff, special teams is going to make his spot on the 53-man roster an easy decision. Whether or not Huff can improve upon his already good run blocking will decide whether he can earn a small fraction of both DeSean Jackson and Damaris Johnson‘s snaps from a year ago.

Head on a Swivel:

Marcus Smith vs. Trent Cole vs. Connor Barwin

If you’re looking for hints dropped regarding the depth chart during any Chip Kelly press conference, good luck. And let me know when you discover Jimmy Hoffa’s body while you’re at it because both have similar odds.

“We had Brandon (Graham) backing up Trent (Cole). So we had no one backing up Connor right now. So let’s get him on the field and see what he can do.”-Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly

Chip Kelly has stated through OTA’s and will continue throughout training camp
that players are put into positions to succeed. For the rookies and incoming veterans, they’re going to be moved around early and often. Marcus Smith’s 4.68 second 40 yard dash is just a shade under Anthony Barr and across the board at the combine, Smith’s measurables were extremely similar to that of Khalil Mack. While I’m not insinuating that Smith has the same potential as Mack, the athleticism possessed by the rookie out of Louisville coupled with his ability to get to the quarterback could threaten the playing time of either Cole or Barwin, neither of whom are locked into a starting role and each has uncertainty in the future with age and contract issues.

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