Which players are poised to become starters during the 2011-2012 season (if there is a season)? After a closer look at the team, there will be some interesting competitions to watch.
Most of the competition will be among the Eagles atrocious defense, which allowed the highest touchdown percentage inside the red-zone in over 25 years.
Here is a list of the five backups of the Philadelphia Eagles that are ready to become starters.
Jamar Chaney will start the upcoming season where he finished last season, as the starting middle linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles. Chaney burst onto the scene in 2010 after a mirage of injuries to the Eagles line-backing corps.
The injuries may have been a blessing in disguise, because Jamar Chaney is a flat-out playmaker. Chaney came out of nowhere as a seventh round pick from Mississippi State to make 23 total tackles in the final two regular season games last yea, including a whopping 16 tackles against the Giants.
The same Giants game where Michael Vick and Desean Jackson created the Miracle at the Meadowlands Part II. Just thought I'd remind New York about that one.
Chaney has the kind of ball-hawking instincts and tenacity that is necessary to be an impact player in the middle. It doesn't hurt Chaney that Stewart Bradley is coming off another serious injury.
Bold prediction- Chaney will have over 120 total tackles this season.
Yes, Casey Matthews will start over Moises Fokou. Maybe this isn't a shocker to a lot of Eagles fans, as Fokou has failed to make an impact in his two years in the league.
Fokou appeared in all 16 games last season and had only seven more tackles than Jamar Chaney did. Matthews obviously has tremendous bloodlines, but he will win the starting nod by default.
If Casey can become half the player that his brother Clay Matthews Jr. is already, the Eagles will have a star holding down the fort at the weak-side for the next decade.
Bold prediction- Casey Matthews hair will be loved more by Eagles fans than Riley Cooper's.
Jaiquawn Jarrett was taken in the second round by the Eagles in this year's draft. It's looking more likely by the day that the Eagles will not re-sign veteran Quintin Mikell, and that leaves Jarrett and last years seventh-round pick Kurt Coleman on the depth chart.
Coleman is just a solid player that will not make many mistakes. He will not make many explosive plays either, which is something the Eagles have been known for the past ten plus years.
Jarrett is a bigger, stronger, faster version of Coleman. He has great instincts and loves to play in the box. His backpedaling and hips need some fine-tuning, but Jarrett's hard-hitting style of play will make it very difficult to keep him off the field.
Bold prediction- Jarrett will have more tackles and interceptions in his rookie campaign than Nate Allen did in 2010.
There's an old saying that players make their biggest strides from year one to year two in the NFL. Let's hope that expression reigns true from Brandon Graham.
The Eagles thought enough of Graham to trade up and grab him out of the University of Michigan. He impressed so much at Lehigh University (training camp) that the Eagles made him the starter for the season opener.
With this announcement, they proclaimed that they had finally found the pass-rushing threat they needed to compliment Trent Cole. No longer would Cole be double and triple-teamed.
Things didn't exactly work out that way did they?
Graham played okay for 13 games before tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of the season. He had 13 tackles and three sacks, not too shabby for a rookie but the Eagles expected more.
They will get more from a stronger Brandon Graham this season.
Bold prediction- Brandon Graham will win the NFL's Most Improved Player.
I was pretty clever for mentioning Juan Castillo wasn't I? Don't answer that.
Juan Castillo is ready for a starring role as the new Defensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.
That's right, the same Juan Castillo who has coached the OFFENSIVE line for 13 years. The same Juan Castillo who has never even been affiliated with the defensive side of the ball in the NFL.
The Eagles defense will be much improved this season as a unit. A certain cornerback from the Oakland Raiders may help that, but that is for another article.
After all, how can Castillo do worse than Sean McDermott who pioneered the worst red-zone defense of all 32 NFL teams in 25 years? Castillo was widely considered one of the best O-line coaches in the NFL, and he will use that same knowledge to attack the opposition in a variety of ways.
Bold prediction- Castillo will have the Eagles back in the top ten in red-zone defense in 2011.