The Philadelphia Eagles training camp and OTAs, believe it or not, are not that far away. In fact, we are less than three months away from preseason and before you know it the regular season will be upon us again.
Chip Kelly will have to decide who will be starting on offense soon. Below I have broke down each position battle on offense in order of my favorite and also attempted to predict what Chip Kelly will do. Last year it seemed like the depth chart was pretty set in stone before the season but this year it’s much harder to predict. There are a number positions that will be decided throughout the offseason and I have discussed them below:
Every single wide receiver position is up for grabs. Last years number 1 receiver, Jeremy Maclin has gone. Riley Cooper was so bad that it’s unlikely he retains his starting position but he will still be competing for a starting job and playing time. I expect Jordan Matthews to stay in the slot but he will also compete to play out wide in two wide receiver sets after a very good rookie season. First round pick Nelson Agholor will compete for the number 1 position and also for playing time in the slot.
Miles Austin has also been brought in to compete for a starting job. Last years third round pick Josh Huff showed potential in limited snaps and if he improves throughout camp he could play significant time next year. Any of the five Eagles mentioned above could be either the number 1 or 2 receiver next year, that’s quite insane to think about.
Prediction: Nelson Agholor dominates training camp and wins the first outside starting job. Jordan Matthews plays in the slot but also plays some outside snaps in 2 wide receiver sets. I think the other three guys, Cooper, Austin and Huff will rotate snaps but Austin plays more snaps than the other two as I don’t think Huff is ready yet and Austin is better than Cooper.
After releasing Todd Herremans, the Eagles need a new starting right guard. I think the favorite for the position is Allen Barbre but he was injured all of last season and he is 30 years old. However, Chip has made it very clear that the team is very high on Barbre. Matt Tobin will compete for the starting role, he played reasonably well last year but was inconsistent. Andrew Gardner is nothing more than a backup at this point, Dennis Kelly will be fighting for a roster spot against some of the undrafted rookies. David Molk will probably back up Jason Kelce at center and won’t compete for the right guard job.
Prediction: Chip Kelly doesn’t always lie despite what the media say, I think the team are very high on Allen Barbre and they showed this by not drafting a single offensive lineman in this years draft. I expect Barbre to start.
I am still angry about Zach Ertz lack of playing time last season, he should have been playing a lot more. The guy is a stud and he should be the Eagles number 1 tight end this season. However, Brent Celek is a fantastic blocker and despite getting older he still looked good last year and I expect the Eagles to run the ball a lot this season which plays to his strengths. Ertz has said he’s working on his blocking which is good news as it held him back last year, he is not a bad blocker though, just not as good as Celek.
Prediction: Celek may be one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, but there’s no way he keeps Ertz out the starting line up next year no matter how much we run the ball. I expect Ertz to play around 70% of the snaps.
Sam Bradford will be the Eagles starter and Mark Sanchez will be the backup, I’m very confident about that and I don’t believe there will be a competition for starter. Matt Barkley and Tim Tebow will compete for the third spot. I’m expecting a pretty terrible battle throughout the offseason, Tebow clearly isn’t very good and Barkley hasn’t really shown anything at all. Barkley has been playing in the same system for two years now however and I think this gives him a real edge over Tebow.
Prediction: With Bradford’s injury history, you need a decent third quarterback and I expect Barkley to win the job, sorry Tebow fans. However, I think Tebow will win a roster spot and perform a variety of roles for the team.
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