5 Players Turning Heads at Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp
The Philadelphia Eagles are three days into their quest to defend their NFC East title. The main goal in training camp is simple.
Don't suffer any serious injuries.
In 2012, the Eagles lost All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters before the start of the season, an injury that played the biggest role in the team winning just four games. In 2013, the Eagles lost wide receiver Jeremy Maclin early in training camp, an injury that actually led to the breakout season by Riley Cooper.
Let's hope major injuries to key players doesn't happen in 2014. The Eagles really improved their depth over the offseason, but no team wants to head into the season without a starter or two.
Although training camp has just started, the following players have been impressing over the past three days. They are in no particular order.
Mark Sanchez, Quarterback
Drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, Mark Sanchez's career in New York was a major disappointment. Although he set an NFL record by winning four road playoff games during his first two seasons, he threw just 68 touchdowns against 69 interceptions.
He was released following the 2013 season and looks to revive his career with Chip Kelly in Philadelphia. So far, Sanchez has been an absolute stud during training camp.
In fact, Eagles offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur says Sanchez has looked great and is picking up the offense.
5) You may be surprised to hear it, but one player who has impressed coaches is Mark Sanchez. Will be interesting to see him in preseason.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) July 29, 2014
The big competition is whether Sanchez can beat our last year's rookie Matt Barkley for the top backup spot. As of right now, he appears to have the early lead.
Matt Barkley, Quarterback
Matt Barkley might have been the most disappointing player on the 2013 Eagles. Predicted by me to win the starting job during training camp last season, Barkley instead entered the year as the third quarterback and failed to impress one bit when he stepped onto the football field.
But year one is in the books for Barkley, and although it was a massive disappointment, there's still plenty of room for improvement.
CSNPhilly's Geoff Mosher said that Barkley had his best practice of the year on Monday and speculates that Chip Kelly lit a fire under the second-year quarterback when he gave fourth quarterback G.J. Kinne some of Barkley's practice reps on Sunday.
Ifeanyi Momah, Wide Receiver
Last year, wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah was the talk of Eagles training camp. A 6'7'' receiving threat with 4.4 speed? Must be a gift from heaven. Or maybe there was a catch, and in Momah's case, there definitely was.
Momah lacked the ideal talent needed for a receiver to succeed in the National Football League. He was an extremely raw talent, a prospect who ideally needed a year or two to develop. Momah was released last summer but re-signed with the Eagles after the end of the season.
He's back in camp for his second and likely final chance to make the roster. He's been very impressive so far. CSNPhilly's Geoff Mosher called Momah his biggest riser after the second day of camp, noting Momah's two impressive catches in tight coverage.
Nolan Carroll, Cornerback
Perhaps the most underrated signing of the offseason was cornerback Nolan Carroll, a player who allowed just a 47.8 completion percentage and a 65.2 passer rating during the 2013 season, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required)
Carroll is expected to contend for a starting job with Bradley Fletcher. The loser of the camp battle will likely be the team's fourth corner, as Brandon Boykin will man the nickel job for the second straight season.
Carroll has impressed early in camp and defensive coordinator Billy Davis has said that every player has a chance to earn a starting job, per ESPN's Phil Sheridan. That's great news for Carroll, who needs to produce for a few more weeks and four preseason games to show that he deserves the starting job over Fletcher.
Alex Henery, Kicker
Remember the great kicking battle between Alex Henery and Carey Spear? Yeah, that was over basically before it started.
It's been a combination of two things. One, Spear has looked bad. That shouldn't really be too surprising, especially for an undrafted free agent attempting to make an NFL roster as a rookie.
But the surprising part is that Henery has actually performed well at camp, especially on kickoffs, which was a major weakness of his in 2013.
Alex Henery consistently driving kickoffs deep into the end zone or out of it. #EaglesCamp— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) July 28, 2014
Spear, on the other hand, has been inconsistent on field goals and weak on kickoff distance. This competition will be over by the second preseason game.
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