The Philadelphia Eagles released their initial depth chart Monday much to the chagrin of Head Coach Chip Kelly. While much has been made about the depth chart, it serves no purpose this early in the preseason other than to get the ball rolling for each team. Players are still competing for roles, positional battles are far from being solidified, and unexpected roster shake-ups are on the horizon. For tomorrow’s clash against the Chicago Bears however, this is our first opportunity to set a baseline for how the starting unit should perform when the calender turns to September.
“No, I think you want to see everybody. You want to be able to evaluate them,” Chip Kelly said. “So get out there against a different color jersey and find out what we’ve got.”
Does Depth Chart Matter This Early?
Gambling and fantasy football (legally not the same thing) are primary factors for a constant media supply of everything and anything football.Unfortunately, aside from the offensive line and quarterback, every other position on the offensive side of the football can fluctuate multiple times in a game. As fans we understand certain camp battles are far from their conclusion.Those listed at the top of the depth chart get valuable reps against an opposing starting defense however. “Practice makes perfect” is a cliched expression that holds tremendous weight in the NFL. A direct result would be Allen Barbre was listed as the starting right tackle ahead of incumbent starter Lane Johnson on Monday’s initial depth chart. Because Johnson will be absent for the first four games of the regular season it’s vital to get Barbre used to the starting role.
“If you have a couple three-and-outs, you got to go back out there. If you have two decent drives, we feel like that’s what we’re aiming for right now. It’s a fluid situation.” – Chip Kelly discussing Friday’s rotation of players
1st String On Depth Chart: Minimal Snaps
Suffice to say that many of the Philadelphia Eagles starters are going to make a cameo at best tomorrow against Chicago. And throughout the preseason, you will find fans that pay little to no attention to any of the games. So while watching a Super Bowl rematch tonight between the 49ers and Ravens might have the same teams involved, starters in the first week of preseason rarely play more than two series. Regardless, highly invested second stringers are fighting for a chance to contribute on Sundays. The third and fourth stringers are where preseason matters most. For many these will be the most minutes logged in their playing career. For others it’s the kick-start needed in order to elongate a career. Safety Nate Allen was listed on the first team defense which likely means safety Earl Wolff will have to wait until Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Jay Cutler are off the field . The match-up against the Bears provides a litmus test for Nate Allen and I hope that he can flourish in Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis’ system…but I have my reserves.
“But it’s very rare that a guy is doing awful on the practice field and then all of a sudden in the game goes out and goes 6-for-6 and he makes every check and hits everything the right way and all of a sudden the light just goes on.” – Chip Kelly discussing quarterback depth chart
First Impression for Depth Chart Fodder
Perhaps the most intriguing name on the Eagles roster is that of running back Matthew Tucker. Currently “entrenched” as the 4th running back on the depth chart, Tucker is allegedly ahead of Henry Josey and David Fluellen. Chip Kelly and his disdain for the depth chart aside, it’s often difficult for roster bubble players to have a chance to prove themselves when there are four tiers of players already. For this reason, along with the risk of injury, it’s imperative for the Tucker, Josey, or Fluellen to make a strong bid for a roster spot tomorrow night. After tomorrow’s scrimmage with the Bears the most likely scenario for all three to get touches in a game would come in the 4th and final preseason game.
The other name to pay close attention to is Curtis Marsh. Yes, that same corner that was a “step from starting” according to Philadelphia Inquirer Jeff McLane back in the summer of 2012. Marsh has yet to achieve his 3rd round pedigree, and is now buried deep on the depth chart behind even Jaylen Watkins. Curtis Marsh has been by all accounts exceptional thus far in training camp. It’s often difficult to repeatedly go back to the well with certain players, but Marsh has to be considered a strong bet to make the 53 man roster to bolster the secondary depth that was lacking against New Orleans.