The Eagles' Biggest Question Marks In Training Camp
By Scott Daniels
As we inch closer to training camp, the Eagles are attempting to straighten out an otherwise turbulent offseason. Since the city of Philadelphia is not familiar with the term “rebuilding,” Chip Kelly has been given the responsibility of making the Eagles a serious threat for a title once again. But heading into camp, there are some major areas of concern.
The Quarterback Competition
Everyone knows this is a battle between Michael Vick and Nick Foles. Fans and the media have already chosen their allegiance. Frankly, I think Kelly is just enjoying a good ole fashioned fight between quarterbacks. But let’s not forget about Matt Barkley, who just last week said he has a shot to start. I don’t blame the kid for being audacious, and since Kelly hasn’t favored anyone thus far, who’s to say he’s not going to shock the world and start Barkley?
Unlikely, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
The real problem here is if Kelly keeps this competition going deep into camp, it will have a detrimental effect on the Eagles receiving core. Foles and Vick have specific skills that the wide receivers should know like the back of their hand when the season starts: when the ball will be released, where to go in a broken play and what to expect off the snap. All of these things can be honed in training camp, but if there’s a quarterback competition taking place, the receivers will have to adjust to a merry-go-round of quarterbacks. This will not bode well for them. Once camp begins, Kelly needs to be clear who will be starting at quarterback.
The Offensive Line
Injuries plagued the line last season, and the offense sputtered as a result. This season, health and redemption are the hallmarks of this unit. But will this line be able to adjust to Kelly’s new mysterious offense? There are a lot of big boys on this line, and they may be asked to get down field in a hurry. You can’t predict injuries, but it’s possible that a different kind of lineman, maybe a tad smaller but a hell-of-a-lot quicker, is the prototype for Kelly’s offense. Lane Johnson was a smart pick, but he’s never played a down in the NFL. Him and his colleagues up front have an enormous task this season.
The Eagles Secondary In The NFC East
When you look around the NFC East, there are some serious wide receivers out there: Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Miles Austin and Pierre Garcon. Playing corner in this division is no easy job (just ask Nnamdi Asomugha), and the Eagles boast an entire new secondary by poaching from various teams throughout the league.
At first glance, these guys look like nice additions, but a closer look suggests uncertainty. Kenny Phillips has more knee problems than Greg Oden (OK, maybe not that bad), and he’s already missed some voluntary workouts due to his lingering left knee injury.
Patrick Chung appears to be nice signing: young, former Patriot and an Oregon Duck under Kelly. But I don’t recall the Patriots defense being a force last season. I actually recall the opposite. How much of an impact will Chung really have? Boy, do I miss the days of B-Dawk on patrol.
The Beautiful Mind of Chip Kelly
We know he’s creative, and we’ve seen what he did at Oregon. The world anticipates a turbo-charged offense where huddles don’t exist and touchdowns are scored at will. The reality is no one has a clue what Kelly is going to unleash when he debuts in the NFL. The man is more buttoned up than the White House press secretary. He acknowledges facts, smiles at the media and provides so few details on his schematics that the anticipation for training camp is rivaling the final season of Breaking Bad.
What will transpire, no one knows, and it’s a beautiful thing thus far.