Bubble Watch for Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp
Just 53 of the 90 current players on the Philadelphia Eagles’ active roster will end up making the 2013 club. Some of the ones who will miss are expected, as it can be assumed almost every undrafted free agent will be on the outside looking in when Chip Kelly announces his official rosters.
There are some veteran players, though, who could be in jeopardy. Four preseason contests and a month of training camp practices will make or break the odds of these players joining the roster.
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The Philadelphia Eagles added Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung in the offseason, and these two free-agent acquisitions are the favorites to start in 2013. Phillips has seen troubles with his knee already this summer, but either way, Kurt Coleman may be looking at an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster.
Coleman is slated to earn just $640,850 in ’13, and cutting him has almost no negative effect on the cap.
He’s a former seventh-round pick who struggled mightily when asked to start a year ago. Just five safeties missed more tackles (17) than Coleman in ’12 (per Pro Football Focus, subscription required), and he wasn’t overly effective in pass coverage either.
If Coleman can really impress in training camp and the preseason contests, he may save his roster spot. Otherwise, his days as an Eagle are likely over.
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At the absolute best, Riley Cooper can expect to be the Philadelphia Eagles’ fifth receiver. He’s buried behind DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Avan and likely Arrelious Benn. Cooper has impressive size (6’4”) and used that to his advantage in 2012, totaling three touchdown catches in limited action.
But the Eagles really like Damaris Johnson given his all-around skills, and Benn is the big receiver the Eagles need. That might spell the end of the Cooper era in Philly.
To make the roster, Cooper will need to use his size to his advantage in training camp and preseason games. Even that might not be enough if Ifeanyi Momah or Russell Shepard comes out of nowhere in camp.
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Dennis Dixon hasn’t thrown a pass in an official NFL game since 2010, and he’s thrown just 59 in his five-year career. Dixon was signed to the Philadelphia Eagles largely because he ran Chip Kelly’s offense at the University of Oregon. He’s a talented runner but an extremely marginal passer who is overmatched at this level.
Dixon was on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad in ’12, earning a Super Bowl ring (his second after spending 2008 with the Pittsburgh Steelers). Dixon is currently fourth on the depth chart behind Michael Vick, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley, and he will need an injury to make the 53-man roster.
Even if Dixon is moved up to third on the depth chart (based on Vick being released or injured), Kelly might choose to go with just two quarterbacks on his roster.
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The Philadelphia Eagles have a logjam of cornerbacks fighting for the final spots on the 53-man roster.
Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher were signed via free agency, and they’re expected to be the starters barring surprise performances from Brandon Boykin or Jordan Poyer in training camp.
With Boykin and Poyer expected to hold down the nickel and dime corner roles, Brandon Hughes is competing with Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh for the final cornerback spots.
It will depend how many corners Chip Kelly wants to put on his official roster.
Hughes is a four-year NFL veteran, having played sparingly with the Eagles over the years. He’s currently signed to just one more season at $630,000, per Spotrac. Should the Eagles part ways with Hughes now, it’s no financial loss at all.
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It could be an interesting punter competition in training camp.
The Philadelphia Eagles ended the Mat McBriar era, signing free agent punter Donnie Jones from the Houston Texans. Jones is a two-time All-Pro, having averaged as many as 50 yards per punt in a single season.
Jones will compete with Brad Wing, an undrafted free agent out of LSU. Jones also went to LSU, which means this will be a competition of former LSU punters. Wing averaged 44.4 yards per punt as a freshman in ’11, then 44.8 as a sophomore in ’12. He had his fair share of problems, though, dealing with multiple drug issues that basically led to his being kicked off the team.
Wing has one of the strongest legs to come out of the NCAA in years, but he is competing against a player who has already proved himself in the NFL.
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The Philadelphia Eagles took quite a gamble when they drafted Curtis Marsh in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft. Marsh is a former collegiate running back who converted to cornerback midway through his career at the University of Utah State.
Thus far in two seasons with the Eagles, Marsh has seen action in just 75 defensive snaps, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). That’s not too promising considering where the Eagles drafted him.
Marsh will need an extremely impressive training camp and strong showings in the preseason games to warrant his draft selection, or even a spot on the 53-man roster.
There aren’t too many guards fighting for spots on the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles’ roster. Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans are guaranteed starting roles, and Danny Watkins should at least be able to make the roster as the lead backup.
After that, though, Chip Kelly could conceivably pick anyone for his fourth guard. Julian Vandervelde doesn’t have the versatility to play tackle also, like some of the other players. But he is a former fifth-round draft pick of the Eagles, and he’s been reunited with the team that selected him after a brief stay in Tampa Bay.
Vandervelde will likely be fighting with Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin for one of the last spots on the roster. That is, if Kelly even goes with four guards at all.