5 Storylines to Follow During Philadelphia Eagles’ Training Camp
Five Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Storylines
With training camp now upon us, it’s time to finally talk some football again. The Philadelphia Eagles report to training camp this year with a lot more questions than answers.
Last year was certainly a disaster for Philadelphia. They went 4-12, Andy Reid was fired, Michael Vick digressed, the defense was a joke and the injury bug bit Lesean McCoy and DeSean Jackson. But with failure comes change and the changes that have taken place in Philadelphia have fans fairly excited.
Gone is the West Coast offense that has been implemented in Philly since the beginning of the Reid era and in comes the high-octane offense from former Oregon Ducks coach Chip Kelly. Kelly has flirted with the jump to the NFL on numerous occasions, but the Eagles job is what finally landed him here.
Gone is nearly the entire disaster known as the 2011 free agent class. The Eagles went big by signing Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin, Ronnie Brown, Cullen Jenkins and Vince Young. All are gone as the team has completely been revamped in an effort to rebuild. Two years with this group led to a 12-20 record and pushed Andy Reid out of town. With Chip Kelly now at the helm, the roster has changed and players are excited for a fresh start.
But many questions still remain coming off of that 4-12 season. The NFC East isn’t particularly strong and if the Eagles can pull themselves together during training camp, this could be a dangerous team. Here are five storylines to keep an eye on during camp.
5. Will Chip Kelly's Offense Work?
Kelly orchestrated one of the most exciting offenses in college football history while at Oregon, scoring 49.6 points per game last season. Many question if the quick-hitting offense and short passes style will be successful at the pro level. With referees already vowing to dictate the pace of the game, Kelly might have to make some tweaks. Regardless, getting McCoy more touches will automatically lead to a more thrilling offense than the Eagles put on the field last year.
4. Who Will be the Starting Quarterback?
It’s clear that there is an open competition at the quarterback position, and rightfully so after Vick’s performance last year. Vick is the veteran but a 12 touchdown, 21 turnover season is not going to cut it. Nick Foles showed flashes last season, but does he have the athleticism to run this offense? And then there’s Matt Barkley; the rookie has potential but it would probably be wise to have him sit a year before throwing him into the fire. It comes down to who gives the team the best chance to put points on the board, and Kelly will likely take most, if not all, of camp to make the call.
3. Who will fill in for Jeremy Maclin?
A crushing blow developed when the Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin for the 2013 season after he tore his ACL. The question now remains, who will step up as the number two receiver? Riley Cooper is lucky he is still on the team after his antics; Jason Avant is serviceable but better suited as a slot receiver. The replacement might have to come from outside the organization if someone doesn’t step up during camp.
2. Will the Offensive Line Improve
With all the known struggles that Vick had, blame can also be laid on the abysmal offensive line. This year’s line will look very different, but questions still remain. Can Jason Peters return to Pro Bowl form after recovering from a torn Achilles? Can rookie Lane Johnson live up to the hype of a fourth overall pick? Will the interior lineman play well enough to run the ball between the tackles? Kelly doesn’t have a ton of depth up front, so this group needs to mesh well during camp to make an impact.
1. How will the Defense Adjust to the 3-4?
The defense probably can’t be any worse than it was last year when they were 29th in the league in scoring defense. Their projected depth chart lists potentially seven new starters on defense and the switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 could prove tricky. Will Trent Cole be able to adjust from defensive end to outside linebacker? Can Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung stay healthy to anchor the secondary? Are Fletcher Cox and Mychal Kendricks ready to take the next step in year two?
Camp is very big for the Eagles this year as they are basically a brand new team on both sides of the ball. We’ll have to wait and see if they can put it together in 2013.