NFL Philadelphia Eagles

5 Philadelphia Eagles Players Winning Their Roster Battles

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5 Philadelphia Eagles Players Winning Their Roster Battles

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

We learned a lot from Friday night's preseason game against the New England Patriots. The Philadelphia Eagles looked slightly improved.

The offense clicked until Matt Barkley took the field with some rookie jitters. The special teams were improved with better coverage and tackling. Donnie Jones landed a punt on the one-yard line and landed the starting spot over Brad Wing. The defense looked like the same unit as 2012. We saw poor tackling from players who should be starting in September. They were getting blown out by rookie receivers, and the lack of gap control was disheartening. Yes, Billy Davis is installing a new system and it does need time, but Chip Kelly cannot be satisfied by the poor showing. Davis must have his squad ready to face Cam Newton on Thursday. They have a short week to prepare and it will be a challenge to step up and make a better performance on the field.

We did get a chance to see some players separate themselves in terms of their roster battles, however. There are still three preseason games to play, but if these players keep their performance level high, they can be assured a roster spot. Kelly needs all the help he can get, and this time of the season is where he can start to separate the players from the pretenders. In September, some surprising names will go home and some will stay on the team. Here are five players winning their battles.

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Bryce Brown

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Bryce Brown came out Friday night to make a statement. Chris Polk started with the first-team offense and did not live up to expectations after a quality camp. Brown made the most of his chances, running with power and even catching passes out of the backfield. He showed flashes of last season with his dangerous mix of power and speed. He did not fumble and if this issue is fixed, he will be a lethal backup to LeSean McCoy.

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Vinny Curry

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In a game short on defensive positives, Vinny Curry stood out. He was all over the field, flying to the ball and making plays. He looks like he is ready to make an impact in his second season on the team. Curry is one of the players making the transition between lineman and linebacker and he quieted any hesitations over the issue. He was a disruptive force and this team needs as many players like him as possible. If Curry keeps this level of performance, don’t be surprised to see him starting in September.

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Greg Salas

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Greg Salas made the catch of the night at the end of the game by hauling in a G. J. Kinne pass at the two-yard line. This was after scoring a touchdown from Barkley earlier in the game. He is a player with league experience and makes a positive impact every time he touches the ball. With the injuries to Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn, Salas has insured himself a spot with his level of play. He will be a valuable addition to the offense.

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Michael Vick

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Michael Vick came out and showed his command of this offense. His touchdown to DeSean Jackson was a welcome sight of things to come in the regular season. He looked comfortable, had plenty of time to throw by an improved offensive line and made plays. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over, something we cannot say about Nick Foles. Chip Kelly will need Vick’s level of leadership and experience this season, even if he is not the long-term solution at quarterback.

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Lane Johnson

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We did not hear Lane Johnson’s name on Friday night. For an offensive lineman, this is a good thing. He was solid in his protection and showed the raw ability that drew his name far up the draft board. He is still a rookie and will need to keep perfecting his skills, but overall, it was a quality debut. Johnson has a high ceiling, and as the season goes on, he will keep improving. If he can anchor the right side of the line, Michael Vick can be assured of more time and comfort in the pocket. Johnson can be a cornerstone player for many years in this system.