The Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp is in full effect, as they gear up for their first preseason game Friday night against the New England Patriots. With the Eagles implementing a new offense, new defense and a completely new style of play, training camp is critical if they are to have any success in Chip Kelly's inaugural season.
The Eagles are installing both a 3-4 defense and an up-tempo offense that is a mixture of the spread and west coast offense. If you don't buy into the idea that the Eagles are going with the 3-4 defense this season, then look no further then their depth chart, which was released on August 5th.
Here is the latest news coming out of the Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp:
According to Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com, Kelly reached out to Tony Dungy for advice on how to handle the Riley Cooper fiasco. He also reached out to him when LeGarrette Blount punched a Boise State player in the face following a tough loss. That was Kelly's first game as a head coach. He suspended him for the season, but gave him a chance to comeback if he followed strict guidelines. He played in the last two games of the season and rushed for over 1,000 yards for Tampa Bay the next year in the NFL.
What Cooper did was worse than any punch to the face. He will have to regain the trust of his teammates and get the proper counseling. If he does that, maybe he too can rejoin the team down the road. It's unlikely that he suits up for the season opener, let alone any preseason game.
Boykin is having himself an incredible training camp so far. He may be just 5'9, but his coverage ability and ball skills may force Kelly to make him a starting outside cornerback this season. They can always give him more help against bigger receivers when needed. It's also important to note that the Eagles players won't necessarily be playing the same exact position every single down. Boykin will cover the slot and on the outside just like tight end Zach Ertz will line up as a wide receiver and tight end. Chip Kelly loves versatility and will not utilize those players in a variety of ways. Don't let the idea of Boykin covering on the outside scare you. He is an elite cover corner in the making and will do just find.
Danny Watkins and the Offensive Line
NThings are starting to look up for the Eagles former 1st round pick. Kelly has stated that if there was an injury to a starting offensive tackle, that Todd Herremans would swing back over to tackle and Danny Watkins would take his place. It's interesting that Watkins, not Dennis Kelly, would be the first lineman off the bench. Watkins has seen his share of struggles since the 2011 NFL Draft, but a more balanced offense might help save his career. He really is a solid run blocker, but is inconsistent in pass protection. In Andy Reid's offense, he rarely got a chance to thrive as a run blocker and was left on an island far too often in pass protection. He won't be a starter this season, at least not right away, but it's good to hear that coaches do have faith in him. Something most fans lost following the 2012 season.
This wouldn't be much of a Eagles Training Camp article without the mention of the quarterback battle. It's a two-man race right now with Michael Vick and Nick Foles, but there is a lot to like about Matt Barkley as well. All three guys have their strengths. Vick has the best deep ball and mobility, Foles has the best pocket presence while Barkley's short accuracy and leadership in the huddle have certainly stood out. There isn't a leader in the clubhouse right now. The depth chart has Foles and Vick listed as co-number ones, while Barkley is the number two quarterback. I wouldn't expect any quarterback to gain any kind of advantage until we get to some preseason action. That is where the quarterback position is going to be won.