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Eagles training camp dark horses, offensive line and fights: Kaye & Klausner

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Much like the Eagles roster, Kaye & Klausner are ready to rumble on five new questions.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles training camp is in full swing and the Eagles are on the cusp of figuring out their roster for this season. The evaluation process has had its bumps (or fists) in the road (or the helmet) with three practices in the books, but there have also been several positives as well. With what went down in the first three sessions, Mike Kaye and Dan Klausner take a look at five questions brought up from the first few days of training camp.

1) With Lane Johnson's suspension becoming official and Allen Barbre set to start in his place, who is the depth offensive lineman that you are most intrigued with if there is an injury in the first four weeks?

Kaye: For me, it's got to be Dennis Kelly. He is a guy with experience at both guard and tackle and at one time seemed like the long-term book end with Lane Johnson. A back injury likely made last season null and void, but it really is important that he bounces back. It seems that Evan Mathis would move to center if Kelce went down, so the team needs to have guys that are versed at both tackle and guard. Kelly could be a really asset in that scenario. We don't know much about any of the other backup linemen, so Kelly is kind of the guy that needs to be on-call if Barbre falters or someone gets injured.

Is he really healed from his surgery? I mean that is the biggest deal for him in this camp. He has the talent and showed it in 2012, but he needs to show he hasn't lost a step and is comfortable on the field.

Klausner: Heeeeeeyyyyyoooooo, sup fellas (and ladies)? Like Mike, I really want to see if Dennis Kelly can bounce back. As I said in the last iteration of this glorious BGN series, his performance is one to watch in training camp. In terms of guys who I think are locks for the roster, my answer to the question is Matt Tobin, and I'm actually a little surprised my partner in crime here didn't mention him. The Eagles liked Tobin the moment they signed him as a UDFA out of Iowa, and it was something of a poorly kept secret early on in training camp that he was making the 53-man roster. Tobin played guard in college but has the size, length and athleticism to fill in at tackle. In fact, he was the same height and weight as Lane Johnson was upon being drafted -- 6-6, 303 pounds -- but is now listed at a svelte 290 (while Johnson's at 317). Tobin is also less than a month younger than Johnson. I guess what I'm trying to say is that Matt Tobin is pretty much Lane Johnson and we'll be fine if Barbre stinks and/or gets injured. #TeamTobin (this is not a real thing)

[Ed. note: But it should be, soon, maybe.]

2) There has been two fights in training camp thus far, which pair of Eagles do you think would make for the most fun scrum to watch?

Kaye: I'd like to see Ifeanyi Momah get into it with someone. Obviously, I am not a huge fan of teammate-on-teammate violence, but he is a guy that I want to see toughness from during camp. I think his size should be intimidating, but he is slender. It'd be nice to see him go at it against a guy like Travis Long or Joe Kruger or Brandon Graham. Momah and Alejandro Villaneuva would be a battle of big dudes, but I don't think it would be a fair fight with the latter's military training. Darren Sproles vs. Brandon Boykin would also be interesting. They are two of the smaller guys on the field.

Klausner: Good question, makes you (me) think. I'm going with Darren Sproles against Frank Mays here, for obvious reasons. Sproles against Damaris Johnson, too.

3) Speaking of fights, what is your opinion of teammates fighting during practice?

Kaye: As I stated before, it's not really my thing but I think it has practical purposes for some players. The Eagles were soft for years and I like seeing some fire, grit and anger in camp. Seeing Maclin go at it with Bradley Fletcher was something I never expected, but showed Maclin won't back down. I think you need to see some toughness from players that haven't shown the ability to play aggressive and tough. It's not ideal in my mind but it is probably a necessary evil.

Klausner: I think we should all make way too big a deal out of it and start to speculate if Chip Kelly is starting to lose the team. THIS TEAM HATES EACH OTHER SOUND THE ALARM BELLS!!!!

4) Who are the tenured Eagles players most at risk of being cut this offseason?

Kaye: I think Casey Matthews, Damaris Johnson, Curtis Marsh and Julian Vandervelde would make the most sense. Marsh and Vandervelde have been cut at least once by the organization and seem to have their toughest camp battles of their tenure with the team. David Molk is more of a center than Vandervelde and it seems that is where the team wants both players. Marsh is trying to make a spot that may not exist. There is a possibility that the Eagles only keep five cornerbacks and Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Brandon Boykin, Nolan Carroll and Jaylen Watkins should have those wrapped up if they aren't injured. Marsh and Roc Carmichael are competing for the pending sixth spot.

Matthews and Johnson seemed to barely make the roster last year and offered little value. Matthews is competing against several players for the fourth inside linebacker position, while Johnson is doing the same for the sixth wide receiver spot. Johnson has made at least one blunder in every training camp practice so far (small sample size though) and Matthews has failed to stick out in practice (as always). Both players would probably be best served in a new town with a fresh start.

Klausner: Casey Matthews. Scholarship's over, buddy. Now watch him stick again as one of the last two or three guys to make the roster. Unfortunately I also agree on former personal romantic interest Damaris Johnson, who I hope catches on somewhere else and comes back to haunt the Eagles! Curtis Marsh, sure, whatever. If the Eagles keep six cornerbacks, Roc will be the sixth, and I hope he's able to stick. I just think it's more likely they keep five corners and five safeties (Jenkins, Allen, Wolff, Maragos, Reynolds). Vandervelde against Molk is another position battle for the hipster nerd fans to track but is actually crazy important when you ask yourself, what will happen if Kelce gets hurt?

5) Who are your dark horses on each side of the ball to make the team this offseason?

Kaye: On offense, I think it's Karim Barton. The rookie guard has been mentioned in passing by quite a few writers and is a small school kid that may pull a Matt Tobin this year and be the last lineman that is nurtured by the staff. The team has Tobin, Dennis Kelly and Allen Barbre that can play guard, but Barton may be a guy to develop with Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans getting up in age.

On defense it is definitely Travis Long. He has a lot to overcome to create a fifth outside linebacker spot, as he is competing against the entire roster to force the team's hand. That said, he was a talented college player that needed a year to recover from an injury on the practice squad. The team likes Long and he likely won't be able to be stashed on the practice squad this season if he shows he's recovered. If he is healthy, he'll be on someone's active roster this season.

Klausner: Long is going to be the pick by a lot of observers as, just like with Tobin last year, he's become a valued pet project for the Eagles. They love his size, length, ability and versatility as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He might look a little goofy and atypical of a football player with his pale, whitebread skin and tight, auburn curls, but he proved in college that he can play. Speaking of Long's college career, he has also shown he can get after the passer.

I see Barton as more of a practice squad candidate, but if that's the sentiment among writers, hey, I love it. He was a very pleasant, interesting and inspiring interview, a real genuinely nice guy too.

I still think Arrelious Benn can beat out Jeff Maehl for the last WR spot, so I'll tab him as my dark horse on offense. Keeping my fingers crossed for Trey Burton to sneak on as an extra TE or get his own special H-Back position designation. A dark horse on defense is Roc Carmichael, if the team chooses to keep six corners. Chip mentioned him by name during minicamps, and since being acquired has endeared himself to the coaching staff with a tireless work ethic and scrappiness.