The prospect of actual football news is creeping closer, with the first practice of training camp set for July 27.
To get ready, we're taking a brief look this week at the storylines at each offensive and defensive position. We’ll do one position on each side of the ball per day.
Today it’s running back and linebacker, where the two biggest stories aren’t necessarily who is fighting for a position, but how much some familiar faces will contribute this year.
Running backs: It’s obvious LeSean McCoy is the Eagles' top runner. What we don’t know yet is how the second year man handles the role as the unquestioned starter, with expectations raised from a strong rookie season. While most of the attention on change has revolved around the team’s new quarterback, the Eagles also parted ways with another long-time offensive pillar when they released Brian Westbrook. McCoy is the heir at the position and will have more responsibility on his shoulders from the opening kick-off.
He led the Eagles in rushing last year with 637 yards and four touchdowns on 155 carries, so the team knows he can contribute. Training camp will be our first chance to see if he can be even more in year two.
Linebacker: New names are filling many slots on the linebacking depth chart, but probably the most important addition is from within, with the return of Stewart Bradley, who missed all of last season after tearing his right ACL in August.
Roughly nine months later, the six-foot-four 255 pound Bradley was back on the practice field and running stride for stride with tight end Brent Celek on some plays, showing the size and speed combination that could make him fearsome. Later, though, Bradley “tweaked” his calf, and while it seemed minor – and wasn’t even on the same leg as last year’s ACL tear – it was a reminder that the Eagles’ top middle linebacker is still less than a year removed from a significant knee injury. How well Bradley has recovered and how healthy he stays will be an important factor for the team’s defense.