Welcome to the BGN Mailbag, where I do my best to answer your Eagles questions. Thanks again to everyone on Twitter who sent in a question.
To the Q&A...
@TheGalviz_05 asks: Could Barwin (instead of Smith) be Cole's eventual replacement? Considering smith is learning Jack.
This question was asked before Mark Saltveit published a post that addresses this question. The truth is I'm not exactly sure how the outside linebacker situation is going to play out. For now, I still see Trent Cole and Connor Barwin as the starters. Marcus Smith will probably rotate in. But so will Brandon Graham, I think. Beyond this year, Graham is a free agent, Cole could be a cap casualty, and Barwin and Smith figure to be back. I still think Smith will learn PREDATOR eventually and take over in that role while Barwin continues to be the JACK.
@TomWelke asks: What kind of impact do you expect from Vinny Curry? Will they finally unleash him and show his potential?
The Vinny Curry dilemma is that he excels as a pass rusher but isn't quite the schematic fit to earn major playing time over current starters Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton. Curry likely won't be unleashed. He'll probably play in a rotational year like he did last year. I highly doubt he'll end up being inactive (barring injury) for the first two games last season, however. It's clear he has a valuable role as a situational pass rusher off the bench.
@ianisstalling asks: Murderleg looked good in OTAs from what I heard. Do you think he can win the job now?
I tried to keep an eye on Carey Spear (Murderleg) during OTAs but I can't tell you that I came away with a strong impression. Besides, it's only been one day where the media has had the chance to watch OTAs. Spear will have more of a chance to win the job in training camp and preseason. The problem for Spear is that he's fighting an up-hill battle. Alex Henery is the incumbent and won't lose the kicker competition unless Spear clearly outperforms him. And that's something I won't believe until I see it.
@AndrewPRafferty asks: Should we be pleased or worried with the way Mychal Kendricks has played?
Mychal Kendricks is an erratic player to this point in his career. While he's made a number of big plays, he's also guilty for giving up some as well. The good news is that Kendricks seemed to play some of his best football down the stretch in 2013. He became just the third player in Eagles franchise history to have at least four sacks and three interceptions in a season. Considering he's entering his third season, and his second season as in inside linebacker, I think fans should be pleased but looking for more consistency. Kendricks looks like he belongs as a starter. It's time to start worrying if/when the big plays stop and the mistakes are still being made.
@Damon089 asks: Along with being used in the passing game, could Darren Sproles also get carries on inside and outside zone runs?
Absolutely. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly essentially confirmed this during a press conference last Thursday. "Sproles is not a receiver. [...] All of our running backs are all receiving options. I just clarified that. Everyone thinks Darren Sproles is a receiver. He's a running back and a really, really talented running back." I'm sure Sproles will still catch a number of passes in this offense. That doesn't also rule him out from handling 3 to 5 carries or so a game.
@EaglesTroll asks: Being as our Eagles exceeded expectations last season, what's a reasonable bar to set for this one?
A reasonable bar to set shouldn't involve a specific record threshold as much as it should focus on accomplishments. Considering the weak state of the NFC East, it's certainly reasonable to expect the Eagles to repeat as NFC East champions. And if Philadelphia can win the division, that means they're going to be playing a home playoff game. So with that line of thinking, I'd say it's also fair to expect them having a good shot to win a playoff game.