Monday, December 22, 2014

Eagles practice observations: No tackling again; Barkley improves; an early depth chart

The first of 16 training camp practices open to the media is in the books. There wasn't much difference in how the team looked depth chart-wise.

Eagles practice observations: No tackling again; Barkley improves; an early depth chart

The first of 16 Eagles training camp practices open to the media is in the books and there wasn’t much difference in how the team looked depth chart-wise today than it did at the end of the minicamp in June. But let’s get to some observations off what was essentially an uneventful first day:

-- The players weren’t in pads, but there was a little more contact than there had been during offseason workouts. Chip Kelly was asked if he planned to not tackle to the ground during camp like last year. “We’ll have a similar format,” Kelly said. “We had live tackling drills where the offensive backs went against linebackers, wide receivers went against DBs, so we’re going to stick with that. We have four preseason games where we’re allowed to tackle to the ground that I checked on.”

-- Kelly confirmed that Allen Barbre would begin camp as the starting right tackle with Lane Johnson slated to miss the first four games of the season due to a suspension. Barbre took every first team repetition during team drills while Johnson ran with the second team. Zach will have more on the decision to go with Barbre and Kelly’s comments on Johnson’s suspension.

-- Nick Foles appeared to pick up from where he left off in June. He connected on most of his passes and wasn’t intercepted. Foles’ father, Larry, was in attendance. After practice and signing a bunch of autographs for fans, Foles walked over to his father and gave him a hug. Larry Foles is a successful restaurateur.  He wasn’t walking around in gold-plated boots, probably much to Buzz Bissinger’s dismay.

More coverage
 
POLL: Biggest factor in the Birds’ missing the playoffs?
 
VOTE: Who's to blame for the Eagles' defensive collapse?
 
Eagles report card: Submit your grades
 
VOTE: Who is most to blame for three-game skid?
 
WIN: Make picks in our weekly pro football contest
 
DOWNLOAD: Philly Pro Football app
 
FORUMS: Where do the Eagles need to improve the most?
 
Latest NFL odds
 
Buy Eagles jerseys and other gear
Will Lane Johnson’s suspension mean big trouble for the Eagles?
Yes. The O-line was a big part of last year’s success.
No. Allen Barbre will be a capable replacement.

-- As for Foles’ primary backups, Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley looked sharper than they had for the most part in the spring. It was only one practice and maybe the drills were designed to favor the quarterbacks, but it was a positive sign for the quarterbacks. Sanchez was especially accurate, shooting BBs into tight windows and hitting a few receivers downfield. He floated a strike down the seam to Ifeanyi Momah, but the 6-foot-7 receiver couldn’t hang on.

-- I’ll have more on the safety competition in my column for the newspaper (which will, of course, also be printed online at philly.com), but there was no surprise in terms of lineups. Malcolm Jenkins and Nate Allen were the starters and Earl Wolff and Chris Maragos were the second teamers. Allen and Wolff are the main combatants for that safety spot opposite Jenkins. Wolff came across the field at one point and took out receiver Jeff Maehl.

-- The kicker competition continued to slog on. There still isn’t much proof that Carey Spear will push or even beat out Alex Henery. Both kickers were 4 of 5 on field goal attempts during one session. Henery clanked his first kick (about a 40 yarder) off the right upright. (The uprights are much longer this year after a change implemented by the league and every NFL stadium will have them.) Spear missed a 40-something-yard try wide right. His kickoffs were consistently shorter than Henery’s. I’m not sure why the Eagles are wasting a roster spot and taking away from Henery reps at this point, but the team is obviously staying patient with a rookie.

-- A few quickies … Receiver Damaris Johnson didn’t do himself any favors on the first day. He dropped a pass during one drill and fumbled a kickoff return. His odds of making the team remain long. … Receiver Riley Cooper got banged up on a few early plays. He walked back slowly each time, the last Kelly ambled over asked him, “You alright?” and he was back in there a few plays later and finished the day. … Tight end James Casey had the catch of the day, reeling in a one hander. … The practice ended after rookies Josh Huff and Ed Reynolds collided on a team play over the middle. Both players didn’t get up immediately, but eventually did rise and spoke with reporters afterward. Huff said Reynolds kneed him in the ribs and Reynolds said Huff got him on the leg. There were no other injuries to report.

-- I scribbled down the personnel during team drills and while this is by no means the Eagles’ official depth chart (not that they have one at this point), I pass along how the units looked on Day 1. Kelly sometimes will throw in a wild card at certain positions. For instance, Damion Square was starting at nose tackle today and not Bennie Logan. I didn’t include that change in the depth chart below, which is for the Eagles’ base offense and defense. Some of the reserves I may have missed playing a snap or two with the third team, but the first and second teams were pretty much consistent throughout:

OFFENSE

Position: First – Second – Third

WR: Riley Cooper – B.J. Cunningham – Ifeanyi Momah/Jeff Maehl
LT: Jason Peters – Andrew Gardner – Kevin Graf
LG: Evan Mathis – Matt Tobin – Josh Andrews
C: Jason Kelce -- Julian Vandervelde – David Molk
RG: Todd Herremans – Dennis Kelly – Michael Bamiro/Karim Barton
RT: Allen Barbre -- Lane Johnson – Donald Hawkins
TE: Brent Celek – Zach Ertz – James Casey/Emil Igwenagu/Blake Annen/Trey Burton
WR: Brad Smith – Jordan Matthews – Josh Huff/Damaris Johnson
WR: Jeremy Maclin – Arrelious Benn – Will Murphy/Quron Pratt
RB: LeSean McCoy – Darren Sproles -- Chris Polk/Matthew Tucker/Henry Josey/David Fluellen
QB: Nick Foles – Mark Sanchez -- Matt Barkley/G.J. Kinne

DEFENSE

LDE: Cedric Thornton/Vinny Curry – Brandon Bair – Frances Mays
NT: Bennie Logan – Beau Allen – Damion Square/Wade Keliikipi
RDE: Fletcher Cox – Taylor Hart – Alejandro Villanueva/Joe Kruger
LOLB: Connor Barwin -- Brandon Graham – Marcus Smith
ILB: DeMeco Ryans -- Najee Goode – Casey Matthews/Emmanuel Acho
ILB: Mychal Kendricks – Jason Phillips -- Jake Knott
ROLB: Trent Cole – Bryan Braman – Travis Long/Josh Kaddu
LCB: Bradley Fletcher – Nolan Carroll -- Curtis Marsh/Roc Carmichael
RCB: Cary Williams -- Brandon Boykin – Jaylen Watkins
SS -- Nate Allen -- Earl Wolff – Daytawoin Lowe/Keelan Johnson
FS – Malcolm Jenkins – Chris Maragos – Ed Reynolds/Davon Morgan

 

About this blog
Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

Jeff McLane Inquirer Staff Writer
Zach Berman Inquirer Staff Writer
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected