Hey, the freaking training camp is right around the corner, wake up !
That's right folks, you know what time it is, time to start caring about life. The colors are about to become more vibrant, the flowers are about to become more fragrant and all that good stuff. Why ? It's simple, it's time for some football. As the now dumbass Hank used to ask when he was respected more, Are you ready for some football ?
Hell yeah is the answer he'd get if he was still relevant. Enough about Hank, we have more important work to do, like figure out some of these roster spots.
So here we go..............
There are going to be some fun battles for the limited spots on the roster that are still open for competition. Let's take it one position at a time, shall we ?
QB (3) - There's nothing to look at here, it's pretty much set unless something crazy happens: Vick - Kafka - Foles.
Special Teams (3) - We have the law offices of Henery, Henry and Dorenbos, maybe they'll have some competition for the punter, but that's about it, nothing to see here either.
Safety (4) - Nate Dogg Allen and Caprtain Kurt will start, backed up by 2 out of 3 from OJ, Colt and JaiJar. I don't know if they have room to keep 5 safeties, it would suck if they have to let Jarrett go after just one season, but who knows, crazier things have happened before. I'm looking for a strong pre-season from Jarrett to justify the high pick and I'd be fine to see Colt and OJ fight it out for the final spot. Honorable Mention: Rookie Philip Thomas is also on the roster, but that would be a real wild card.
Tight End (2) - Doing the easy ones first, Celek and Harbor should continue to build on their play from last year. Brackett will be in there challenging Harbor or maybe be the 3rd TE if the Birds decide to go without a FB for some odd reason. Can't really say much about Brackett until we see him in action.
FB (1) - Havili or whoever else that steps up in the pre-season. Really hoping to see what Havili adds to the position.
RB (3) - Well, after McCoy, Lewis seems to be set for the backup position barring any further problems with the law. This position provides one of the more interesting Roster Battles for the 3rd spot between Bryce Brown and Chris Polk. Would love to see both at the top of their game pushing each other for the spot. Too soon to tell and I'm sure we'll all be keeping a close eye on this throughout the pre-season. I don't have a preference either way, may the best man win.
DT (4) - So we got Mr Jenkins returning along with Patterson who's coming back from a surgery and Dixon who's also said to be in really good shape and Landri who's coming back for one more year. And you add Fletcher Cox, your top pick, to the mix and you have really good competition. I have a hard time seeing 5 DT's with all the D-ends they have but I guess anything is possible. Patterson, Dixon and Landri will be competing to earn / keep their spot on the team as Jenkins and Cox are the only locks.
OL (10) - After the top 5, it gets a little murky. So we have Bell, Mathis, Kelce, Watkins and Herremans as our starters, but who stands out once we get past them? Here are the names, make what you want of them: The King Dunlap Tires (T), Brandon Washington (G), Julian Vandervelde (G), Mike Gibson (C/G), Steve Vallos (C/G), Dallas Reynolds (C/G), Dennis Kelly (T), DJ Jones (T) etc etc.
You would think the rookies Washington at Guard and Kelly at Tackle will be given a fair chance to make the team, and remember they've been selected because they fit what Mudd looks for in his linemen, now they've got to go out and show that they can do it, if so, I would give them both a good chance to make the roster. Dunlap is pretty much a certainty at backup Tackle. So that's 3 spots if both rookies somehow make it. Gibson, Vallos and Reynolds will be competing for the backup Center job and they're all Guards as well, so you would think at least one of those 3. And the final spot is up for grabs. The upcoming training camp and the pre-season will probably help clarify some of these backup spots on the O-line. I would think they would keep 10 O-linemen though. We'll let Mudd figure it out, I'm sure he'll keep the best 10. I am a little concerned about the depth though if any more of our starters goes down, but we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
Okay, so we've filled 30 spots on the 53 man roster and now come the more interesting choices. So we have 23 spots open for 4 positions: WR, Corner, LB and D-end. 5 Wr's, 6 Corners, 6 LB's, and 6 D-ends will get us to 23. So let's see what we have first.
WR (5) - I'm really not sure if they're gonna go 5 deep or 6. After DeSean, Maclin and Avant, you have a whole bunch of players competing for 2 or maybe 3 spots.
Riley Cooper is the logical choice after the top 3 because his familiarity of the offense and a possibility that he'll put everything together this year, but he's not a lock. He has rookies Marvin McNutt and Damaris Johnson pushing him for a spot. Then you also have your vets in Mardy Gilyard and Chad Hall (if he makes the team and we only keep 5 wr's, we're in trouble). Gilyard and Damaris will also be returning kicks, so they can help their cause if they're solid returners. It should be a fun competition. I hope Cooper steps it up and makes the team and same for McNutt. The great unknowns are how McNutt and Damaris will do, I wish them both well but I have a hard time envisioning them keeping 6 wr's, so somebody is going to be out of luck. Maybe they can keep 9 O-linemen and 6 wr's, that's the only way. Knowing how much we pass the ball, it would make sense to keep 6, but you never know with this team.
We have 2 spots remaining and the candidates are: Curtis Marsh, Brandon Hughes, Cliff Harris and Trevard Lindley. I'm hoping that Cliff Harris somehow makes it on the team but he's gonna have some competition from Marsh and Hughes. This one might go all the way to the last pre-season game to determine. I'd hate to cut a good corner. With a decent coach in Todd Bowles, everyone should benefit and we'll see who deserves to make it.
D-End (6) - Let's see who we have here, shall we. Jason Babin (he's good), Trent Cole (a monster), Brandon Graham (in the best shape), Vinny Curry (2nd round pick), Darryl Tapp and Philip Hunt. Hmmm, maybe they can actually get away with keeping just 5 and use the extra spot to keep all 5 D-tackles. I like the first 5 on this list, Hunt has to show that he's something special to stay and take up a roster spot. Honorable Mention: Cedric Thornton.
LB (6) - So we'll have yet another rookie starting at LB in Mychal Kendricks alongside the new captain of our defense DeMeco Ryans. Things get a little muddled after those two. Here's who we have: Jamar Chaney, Brian Rolle, Casey Matthews, Akeem Jordan, Keenan Clayton, Moises Fokou and Greg Lloyd. I would guess that Chaney, Rolle and Matthews are pretty safe. That leaves one spot between Jordan, Clayton, Fokou and Lloyd and I would bet special teams will have something to do with who gets the spot, which would be good news for Akeem. Clayton and Fokou might be out of luck.
So there you have it. There are some backup spots open so let the coming weeks decide who capitalizes on their opportunity and who fails. Training camp, here we come !!!