It was a wise man who once said "Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane." If that isn't the defining quote for Eagles fans, then I don't know anything in this world. What I do know, regardless, is that our never-ending hope has now been placed in the hands of one Charles Kelly. No, not this guy. This guy is now responsible for making sure our latest hopes doesn't make insane like the last coach did pretty regularly the last few years.
So far, Mr. Kelly has definitely been responsible for one thing: the most eagerly anticipated training camp in 9 years. Not since this guy first came into our lives has there been so much discussion and speculation heading into the team's annual foray into
Lehigh South Philly. To mark the eve of this, I will break down each position to figure out who I believe will make up the final depth chart before the season opener against Washington. (Only 51 more days! You can't tell, but I'm writing this while crip walking and river-dancing at the same time.)
I'll break down the offense today and the defense tomorrow. Obviously, I have to begin with the biggest storyline of all with my breakdown at....
One last thing before I continue: along with discussion of each position, I will include what I believe will be the depth chart at each position. Knowing this now, I'm sure most, if not all of you, just glance up at the one for QB and did like 10 double takes. Also, you probably don't know what's more distracting: that Barkley is my starter or that Vick is now where to be seen. Before you stop reading and call a big dummy, though, please allow me to explain.
Admittedly, I'm taking a huge leap of faith with Barkley. However, I can't get over how many things I believe he has in his favor. He is very confident and poised. He has experience being in a pro-style offense thanks to his days at USC. He is definitely use to intense pressure thanks again to being at USC. Him and Chip are already familar with each other thanks to their time in the PAC-12. Not to mention, the Eagles made a point to trade up for him in the draft. He was gonna be a 1st round pick just a year ago had he come out, so he comes with a pedigree. He's been praised numerous times about his accuracy and decison-making (only the two traits Chip has repeatedly said are important to be his QB). Obviously, you can take with a grain of salt, but he reportedly looked good in this year's mini-camps. All indications are that the Eagles will run the ball a lot (doesn't that seem like the oddest thing after 14 years of 60% passing?) and that can only help a young, inexperienced QB. Certainly, he's no Vick in terms of fleet feet, but he doesn't seem like a complete statue, either (put him in the Alex Smith category). Finally, there just seem like there's something about him. This is particularly gives me flashbacks to Russell Wilson last year, where people just seemed to be in awe of him, even though NOBODY ever imagined him starting his rookie year and certainly not over the two QBs with NFL experience (sounds familar, anyone?)
So, yeah, long story short, I got Matt Barkley to start on September 9 (make me look smart, Matty!) As a result, I don't see Vick staying here, assuming they wouldn't then trade Foles. So, I have him leaving (wouldn't the Jets make a lot of sense for him, anyway?) with Foles as the backup and Dixon staying on as the 3rd-string.
Ok, now that that's out of the way, this will be easier to get through, hopefully.
See, so far, so good. This, I believe, is pretty self-explanatory. Shady is Shady. Although there seems to be some rumblings lately about Jones possibly being the backup, I think it would be really surprising if Brown wasn't it and even more surprising if either was off the roster on Opening Night. Sorry, Chris Polk, think you have some potential, but I don't see any room at the inn for you.
Wide Receiver 1
Ok, this one was way tougher than running back. Obviously, anyone that raps with Snoop Lion and causes this to happen is a lock. In kinda of a surprise to even me, I like Avant staying on. Two reasons: he is probably has the surest hands on the roster and he is definitely some with high character and a vet that will help ease the process for Chip to get the younglings to buy in. Not to mention, if I'm right about Barkley, then Avant staying can only help him. As for Johnson, I love his speed, his potential, and his versatility. All indications are that Chip will, too. And, Avant staying on would only help him to become better before he inevitably replaces Avant as the slot WR.
Wide Receiver 2
Maclin looks like another lock, although, isn't a candidate for someone who gets traded out of nowhere? Knowing how much Chip wants his receivers to block, Maclin's tendency to not, and it's still not definite he will be resigned next year, I will say that while not very likely, I could see a scenario where he could be. Alright, the obvious question here: Doesn't that apply to DeSean, too? Kinda, but not really, True, DeSean could be let go next year without any real financial repercussions to the Birds, but I feel he will be a better fit, because of his speed, his versatility, and frankly, he's just more talented than Maclin. Again, big surprise if either are gone, but something to keep our eyes on. Benn is a semi-lock to me. He represents everything I think Chip wants ideally from his players: big, fast and versatile. You know what, I'll make this a straight up lock. Momah could be this, too. He has work to do, skill-wise, but the potential, and yes, the size, will be enough to make him stay on. As for the other WRs in play, Rusell Shepard certainly has potential, too, and wouldn't be surprised if he made it, but with this being a tough call, I think he just misses. Greg Salas has some talent, but i think he's just a camp body. The same goes B.J. Cunningham. Finally, the toughest call of all: Riley Cooper. It really come down to him or Avant, I believe. However, as much as I like him (he seem to start hitting his stride toward the end of last season), I don't see what will put him over the top over the guys I have listed. As with so many things, though, I could be wrong.
Tight End 1
- Brent Celek
- Zack Ertz
Thank the Lord, an extremely easy one! It wouldn't surprised me what so ever if Ertz at some point during the season passes Celek, but that's only semantics. Both will and should be on the roster.
Tight End 2
The same goes for here. Wouldn't be stunned, though, if Harbor got left off, because Chip really likes 7 receivers or 4 backs. However, I don't see that being the case. As with so many things...
We're really rolling now. Imagine if quarterback was this easy. Hopefully, 2(!) torn ACL injuries hasn't prevented Peters from looking like this. If not, just give him the All-Pro selection. Kelly will basically be the backup tackle at both tackle spots. This isn't a bad thing. I think though.
Another self-explanatory one, I think. The Bearded One is no-brainer. Matt Tennant could be the backup over Reynolds, but I see Reynolds, who is the favorite to win out, to be it.
Herremans, who oozes with versatility (he has played every O-line position except center), is the guy here. Watkins, who sadly is still more accomplished as a fireman than a NFL pro, gets one last chance as his backup.
- Lane Johnson
- Dennis Kelly
Big Boy Johnson (who's finally signed!) will really have to underperformed not to start from Day 1 of his career. As with Benn, he's a personification of a ideal Chip Kelly player, only even more so. Kelly, as mentioned earlier, will be backing up both tackle positions. One last note: while Michael Bamiro is getting a lot of attention (mainly 'cause there's a lot of him) I see him as a camp body,
So, that's it for offense. Tomorrow, the defense gets its turn in another sure-to-be too long post. Til then, please feel free to give me any comments (hopefully, positive) you have below. Thanks as always.