Philadelphia Eagles: Analyzing Latest Buzz on Training Camp Battles

Joseph Bisaccia@@JosephBisacciaCorrespondent IJuly 23, 2012

Philadelphia Eagles: Analyzing Latest Buzz on Training Camp Battles

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    Rookies report to Lehigh Valley today for training camp. This marks the official start of football season for Philadelphia Eagles Fans. There are several intriguing position battles that will be taking place over the next few weeks, here's an early look at a few.

    Head Coach Andy Reid is notorious for holding one the leagues most difficult camps--this year should be no different considering the normality of this offseason.

    Some of these battles will continue all the way through the preseason. The Eagles eventually need to trim the roster down to 53 men.

    Here's a look at the most intriguing battles heading into Lehigh Valley, PA. and the preseason.

Backup Quarterback

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    Backup quarterback is going to be an open competition for the Eagles. It's also an extremely important position due to Vick's inability to stay healthy.

    The only locks to make the roster are third-rounder Nick Foles and Vick. The Eagles invested an early-round pick in Foles—there's no chance he will be a training camp casualty.

    That leaves the battle down to Mike Kafka and Trent Edwards. Kafka has little experience and questionable arm strength at best. Meanwhile, Edwards was out of the NFL last season.

    It will be an interesting battle to keep an eye on, but it appears as though Kafka and Foles will make the roster. 

Starting Left Tackle

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    The Eagles lost their best player this offseason, All-Pro Jason Peters. He tore his Achilles during his offseason training program and will miss the entire season.

    The Eagles decided to retain the services of King Dunlap and sign the best available tackle left of the market, Demetress Bell.

    Both players are locks to make the roster, with Bell having the inside track to the starting left tackle job. It should be noted that Dunlap has no intentions of going down without a fight.

    In a recent interview with CSNPhilly columnist Reuben Frank, Dunlap said:

    But I’m going to come in and try to be a starter. Since I’ve been here, my role’s been a backup and I’ve gotten a few chances to start, but I know I’m a starter. I can start in this league and play for anybody. I’m here right now, I’m a backup, but if I get the opportunity, I’m going to be ready. I know I can play this game.

    Starting left tackle will be one of the more intriguing battles throughout the majority of training camp.

Fourth and Fifth Wide Receiver

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    The Eagles have a lot of talent at wide receiver. DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant are all locks to make the team.

    Riley Cooper and Chad Hall have both been with the team for the past two years, but have yet to make any impact.

    It's unlikely that that Birds will keep more than five receivers on the roster. My thought is that Cooper will likely make the team along with one younger guy.

    The Eagles really like rookie Marvin McNutt, but he will have to learn the offense quickly and adjust to the speed of the NFL.

    The Eagles currently have 12 receivers on the roster—they will have to get down to five relatively quickly. Many of these players will be fighting for their lives.

Backup Running Back

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    LeSean McCoy is a superstar, but the Eagles have little behind him. Last season, Dion Lewis was the primary backup and saw limited action. He was relatively ineffective and dealt with an offseason arrest, as well. 

    The Eagles signed undrafted rookie Chris Polk to the training camp roster. He was projected by many to be an early-round selection, but injury concerns led to him going undrafted.

    It seems that Lewis is a lock to make the roster—seeing as though he's the only other running back besides McCoy that has played in an NFL game.

    Polk is an interesting player, though. He had a great career at Washington and could make the roster. He needs to play well and prove he's healthy.  

Nickel Cornerback

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    Joselio Hanson has been with the Eagles since 2006. He is one of the longest tenured players left on the roster.

    It seems as though his time may be running out. The Eagles drafted Brandon Boykin in the fourth round, and they really like him.

    Boykin is extremely versatile and gives the Eagles another talented return man. He is primarily a nickel corner, too. This is the same position as Hanson, as well. Considering the investment the Eagles made in him, Boykin is certainly a lock to make the roster.

    This doesn't necessarily mean that Hanson will get cut, but if he shows any sign of declining play, it will be the end of the line for him.

    Dave Zangaro of recently interviewed Hanson. He had some interesting words about the possibility of mentoring Boykin.

    I was told I was competing [for the job], he said. If they said we weren’t competing, then maybe I would mentor [him]. But when it’s competition, hey, it’s every man for himself.

    That's the right attitude to have from a veteran fighting for a roster spot. It will be interesting to see how Hanson performs the rest of the summer.