Monday, February 8, 2016

Updating the Eagles' training camp battles: Are there even any left?

There weren't many noteworthy camp battles to begin with when training camp begin almost three weeks ago, and there doesn't seem to be much in the way of mystery about where those battles stand heading into the second preseason game. Skipping battles for things like the 6th wide receiver spot, here's an update on the most significant training camp battles:

Updating the Eagles' training camp battles: Are there even any left?

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Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

There weren't many noteworthy camp battles to begin with when training camp begin almost three weeks ago, and there doesn't seem to be much in the way of mystery about where those battles stand heading into the second preseason game. Skipping battles for things like the 6th wide receiver spot, here's an update on the most significant training camp battles:

Backup QB job: Mark Sanchez vs. Matt Barkley

This one is over. Sanchez outplayed Barkley throughout training camp and looked good in the first preseason game against the Bears. In joint practices against the Patriots, Nick Foles and Sanchez received the majority of the reps, with Barkley and GJ Kinne splitting the very few leftovers.

Starting safety: Nate Allen vs. Earl Wolff

Allen has been solid but unspectacular in camp, much like he was for the better part of 2013. For Wolff to overtake Allen, he was likely going to have to stand out, and that has not occurred. Wolff has also kept himself out of practices with nagging injuries. Expect Nate Allen to start Week 1.

Kicker: Alex Henery vs. Murderleg

As noted in my Eagles-Patriots practice notes, the "kicking competition" can be summed up like this:

Henery's job was never at risk.

Starting CB: Nolan Carroll vs. Cary Williams and/or Bradley Fletcher

After playing very well in OTAs and minicamp, Carroll started training camp strong, and looked like he had a chance to unseat one of the Eagles' incumbents for a starting job. That will not happen with Williams, who will pretty clearly be starting Week 1. The player to watch here is Fletcher, who has struggled lately in camp, often drawing flags for grabbing receivers down the field. He may be the Eagles CB most negatively affected by the NFL's emphasis on illegal contact and pass interference this season. However, over the last week and a half, Carroll has not practiced due to an injured groin/hamstring/"muscle deal," as Chip Kelly called it, and has not been able continue his positive momentum. Carroll could still potentially unseat Fletcher, but the longer he remains out of practice, the more unlikely that seems.

Starting NT: Bennie Logan vs. Beau Allen

This is a battle that has emerged since camp began. Allen has been one of the pleasant surprises of camp, as coaches and media have praised his play. While it's unlikely that Allen would start Week 1 over Logan, Allen's progress through the next three preseason games will be something to keep an eye on.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

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