NFL 

Training Camp Battles, Eagles Edition

Training Camp for all NFL teams is right around the corner. Which means the start of some pretty interesting positional battles. There’s not a more true statement than in the City of Brotherly Love, where head coach Chip Kelly has crucial decisions to make for his second season at the helm. The Eagles are always talented, and this season is no different. That’s why making the right decision at key positions could easily mean the difference between finishing at the bottom of the crazy NFC East, or winning it. Let’s take a look at four of the more heated battles.

Quarterback

There’s been a huge shakeup at QB. Nick Foles, is gone and he’s basically traded places with former Rams QB, Sam Bradford. As Foles looks to be the man in St. Louis, the picture isn’t as clear in Philly. First of all, we don’t know exactly how well Bradford’s rehab is going following his season-ending ACL tear from a year ago. Then, there’s Mark Sanchez, who showed some signs he could be adept at running Kelly’s fast-paced offense. Sanchez, clearly has intentions on being the starter also, despite the Eagles trading away their starter from the last couple of seasons to get Bradford. There’s also a Wildcard. A very popular one at that. Tim Tebow. It’s very unlikely that he’ll put up enough of a fight to actually contend for the starting job. However, his presence alone makes this battle all the more intriguing. If Bradford or Sanchez fall on their face. Which, is possible. Could Kelly call on Tebow, who’s athletic ability fits his offense? Who knows? You also have to wonder if Tebow will be used in short-yardage situations, regardless of who the starter is. The Eagles struggled mightily in short-yardage situations last season. Tebow, could help with that. Nonetheless, Bradford looks like the guy. If he’s healthy. What a big IF that is. Will either of these guys satisfy Chip Kelly enough to make him forget about Marcus Mariota? Only time will tell.

Inside Linebacker

Despite a season ending achilles injury midway through last season, the Eagles decided to re-sign veteran 30-year-old Demeco Ryans. The re-signing made a lot of sense. Ryans, has been the heart and soul of the Eagles D, and their emotional leader over the last several seasons. The former All-SEC star out of Alabama is also very popular with Eagles fans. In the off-season the Eagles also added Kiko Alonso in the trade that sent LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy to the Buffalo Bills. Alonso, is a solid pickup and will almost certainly start considering the Eagles traded away one of the NFL’s better running backs to get him. That’s where the dilemma begins. Mychal Kendricks, who had a great 2014, leading the Eagles with 83 tackles, could find himself on the bench when the season opens at Atlanta on the first Monday night of the season. All three of these guys could find starting spots on many other teams. But, not in Philly. That’s a good problem to have for Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator, Bill Davis and his 3-4 scheme. Can’t ever have enough linebackers.

Right Guard

Alan Barbre, at one time, looked to be the starter at right guard. That was until the Eagles decided to release Evan Mathis. Now, Barbre looks to be the guy to replace Mathis at left guard. That leaves right guard open for a guy like Matt Tobin, or John Moffitt. Tobin, saw some time at left guard last season, when Mathis went down to injury. Moffitt, is the newcomer who was signed just this offseason. The 2011 Seahawks third round pick out of Notre Dame, who hasn’t played since 2013, is a coming out of retirement. He’s bounced around (Seahawks, Broncos, Browns) the league and has had off-the-field issues. As a rookie, he was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy. He’s also had two prior arrests. While Tobin is probably the starter at the end of the day, Moffitt does have what it takes to make it a race deep into training camp. The question is, can he shake off the rust?

Cornerback

Byron Maxwell, is obviously the guy at one corner position. But, who will lineup opposite of him is a mystery. Five-year veteran, Nolan Carroll could have the inside track. Kelly, is high on Carroll, who spent much of OTA’s and mini-camp taking first team reps. Then, there’s rookie Eric Rowe. The second round pick out of Utah doesn’t have the experience. However, he was looked upon as one of the best corners to come out of college this past season. Regardless, of who the starter is the Eagles should have a major upgrade over Bradley Fletcher, who had a shaky at best 2014.

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