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...
@RipWorms asks: How's the depth look along the OL? Who are the likely backups at each position? Who dresses on game day?
Offensive line depth is a big question mark for the Eagles. It's concerning because the Eagles own the second oldest offensive line in the NFL. Last year the Eagles made it through the entire season with their line relatively unscathed: the group of Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, and Lane Johnson started every game.
The team is not oblivious to this weakness. Eagles general manager Howie Roseman even admitted he was disappointed when the Eagles didn't end up having the right opportunity to draft offensive lineman during the 2014 NFL Draft. With that said, the team recently extended veteran tackle/guard Allen Barbre. Barbre looked capable in limited playing time last year when he was forced to step up in the place of Peters during the Eagles-Packers game. Barbre will be the backup at all four positions except center. The backup center job will be won by either the returning Julian Vandevelde or David Molk.
Last year, Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly were often the two inactive lineman. The Eagles dressed the obvious five starters along with Barbre and Vandervelde for a total of 7. That should be the same case for 2014.
You know, I was thinking back on the Eagles 2013 season and the other day and I convinced myself that the team wasn't all that far away from being 11-5 or 12-4 last year. That two game stretch against the Cowboys (first team) and Giants (second time) seemed like a false representation of this team's ability. There aren't any "almost wins" in the NFL and you could also argue the Eagles were lucky in some spots just to get to 10-6 (see: every team's best player being injured.)
The bottom line was that the Eagles were a playoff team and if you can make the playoffs you have just as good a shot as anyone because it's all a crap shoot - especially given the NFL's level of parity. Are the Eagles on the same tier as the Seahawks and Broncos? No, probably not. But this offense still can be really good and I think the defense can be "good enough" to get them by. If Philly is good enough to make the playoffs, I don't see why they wouldn't be able to hang with one of those teams at the top.
@smhill15 asks: What are the odds Brandon Graham doesn't make this roster?
I'd say there's a fairly good chance Graham does make the roster. If they didn't want him here he'd be traded by now. Despite the perceived lack of scheme fit I'd say Graham was a capable backup last year. Then again, there's kind of a logjam at OLB. Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, and Marcus Smith are the only locks. Bryan Braman is a near-lock given he was a priority for the Eagles in free agency. Under the radar linebacker Travis Long is also fighting for a spot. So it'll be interesting.
Alejandro Villanueva - Practice squad.
Ifeanyi Momah - Practice squad. Another team could claim him if he impresses enough during the summer though.
Curtis Marsh - Marsh isn't PS eligible so he'll need to find a way to make the 53 man roster. He's battling Roc Carmichael for a depth CB job.
So I'd say Villanueva has the best chance to stick around Philly as a PS guy. I doubt other teams will poach him. Meanwhile the Eagles will have time to develop him. Kelly talks very highly of him.
@PhillyFanHND asks: Who would be your surprise addition to the 53 man roster and the surprise drop from last year's 53?
Surprise addition: G.J. Kinne
Surprise drop: Matt Barkley
This is the most realistic yet "surprising" situation I could see. I still think Barkley makes the team and Kinne ends up on the practice squad like he did last year. I just wouldn't rule out Kinne playing himself into a roster spot as the third QB.
@OhWowHmm asks: What are you already tired of talking about?
Regression. It's inevitable that the Eagles will regress in some areas. Injury luck, Foles' stats, turnovers, DeSean Jackson leaving (which is also a tiring subject), etc. It's very possible the Eagles might step back. It's nice to be aware of that possibility, but I don't see the fun in approaching the season with that attitude. The Eagles could very well make the playoffs again (especially in a weak NFC East) and go on a playoff run. Here's to optimism.