Philadelphia Eagles training camp started earlier this week, but practices have been limited with only 38 players on the field. Now that the veterans have reported, it's time for the real practices to start. Philadelphia's first official full team training camp practice is set to begin today at 3:00 PM ET. Here are the top training camp battles to keep an eye on this summer.
Four of the starting five offensive line positions are settled. Jason Peters will start at left tackle, Jason Kelce will start at center, Brandon Brooks will start at right guard, and Lane Johnson will start at right tackle. The left guard spot, meanwhile, could be up for grabs.
The main competition here appears to be the incumbent Allen Barbre versus the rookie Isaac Seumalo. Eagles offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland has claimed Barbre is "underrated" in the past, but Barbre has been nothing special as a starter. Seumalo, who was selected in the third round, has a real chance to unseat him if he can catch up after missing all of spring practices.
Stefen Wisniewski could also be in the mix at this spot. The 27-year-old veteran has started all 77 games he's played in during his NFL career. Wiz spent most of spring practices lining up as the team's second string center. Seumalo has also been taking reps at center during training camp so far.
Leodis McKelvin appears to be a starter at one spot. He excelled under Jim Schwartz in Buffalo. Pederson also praised him earlier this offseason.
The spot across from McKelvin is up for grabs. Nolan Carroll might be the current favorite to take the job. He was having a solid year for the Birds in 2015 before suffering a season-ending injury. Seventh round pick Jalen Mills has been really impressive during practices so far, but he needs to prove he can be just as good when the pads go on. Even if Mills doesn't start, he's certainly making a case for playing time. Ron Brooks is another former Schwartz player from Buffalo. He took first team reps in the slot and the outside during spring drills. He's also earned praise from the coaching staff.
Second year defensive back Eric Rowe has become the forgotten man at the position. Whether intentional or not, Pederson and Schwartz both failed to mention him when assessing the team's cornerback depth. Rowe took a lot of second team reps in the spring. Perhaps the Eagles are trying to light a fire under the 2015 second round pick. Not literally, of course.
Jordan Matthews is bound to be a starter though he might be mostly relegated to the slot. Who else will "start" for the Eagles? It could be Nelson Agholor and Josh Huff. Both players are still young but they've been pretty disappointing in their careers so far. Agholor especially struggled as a rookie last year and he's not really off to a good start this offseason. Huff also struggled in the spring. The likes of Rueben Randle and Chris Givens could push for playing time at receiver.
The most important camp battle, of course: Cody Parkey versus Caleb Sturgis. Parkey showed good potential as a rookie in 2014. His 2015 season was cut short by a nasty groin injury. The Eagles signed Sturgis to replace Parkey. The veteran kicker struggled before settling in towards the end of the year. This battle is simple: whoever kicks the best this summer wins.
Magic man Jon Dorenbos is very talented, but he hasn't been able to make his training camp competition disappear just yet. (Ensue booing for the awful pun.) John DePalma will try to unseat Dorenbos as the 36-year-old competes in America's Got Talent.
It seems like the Eagles want a fullback. Tight end Chris Pantale took a lot of first team reps at the position during spring drills. Pantale might be able to convince the Eagles to keep four tight ends if he can also contribute at full back (and on special teams as well). Or maybe the Eagles could look to sign more of a "true" fullback.
The Eagles have depth issues all over the roster. There are a number of players on the bubble at various positions. Byron Marshall could push for a fourth running back spot. Matt Tobin, Dennis Kelly, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Andrew Gardner, and Malcolm Bunche are competing for backup offensive line roles. JaCorey Shepherd, Denzel Rice, and Aaron Grymes could all be fighting for one spot. The Eagles need more depth at linebacker and defensive tackle. And so on.
The DNC is in town for the first week of training camp, so naturally there's a lot of traffic and road closures. Here's hoping I don't lose my mind sitting in a ton of traffic.
Rita's Water Ice
The Eagles have served Rita's Water Ice at training camp over the past few years. Green apple is clearly the best flavor, but it didn't make an appearance on the menu all of last year. For shame. If it's not back, there's going to be a battle for the next best flavor. Mango is the early favorite. Blueberry, pear, and lemonade have their work cut out for them.