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5 Things To Know Today: August 27

Posted Aug 27, 2014

On the eve of the final preseason game, there are a plethora of position battles that still have to be determined. In this edition of 5 Things To Know Today, we meet some players who have already emerged victorious this preseason as well as the harsh reality that some players must brace for and how the Eagles try to make that process as respectful as possible ...

1. How Chip Kelly Humanizes The Cut Process

Head coach Chip Kelly's distinct approach to culture building extends to the event that is inevitable for almost every football player - being released from the team. Very few players are fortunate like Eagles Hall of Fame wide receiver Mike Quick, who spent his entire his entire career with one team and then retired. Kelly explained on Tuesday that when players are being released they get to meet personally with him, general manager Howie Roseman, the coordinator and the player's position coach. It's a process that started over the weekend and will continue this week as the team must get from 75 to the 53-man roster limit by Saturday at 4 PM. Not every team handles the process like the Eagles do.

"I never really got a chance to talk to my linebacker coach. I never really got a chance to talk to my GM," said linebacker Najee Goode, who was released by Tampa Bay last year before being claimed by the Eagles. "(Coach Kelly) wants us to get a better understanding of who we are as a person and he always preaches that even if you're leaving this team as a player he wants you to leave as a better man, as a better person, as a better player."

2. Who Is David Molk?

The Eagles got to the 75-man roster limit on Tuesday by waiving center Julian Vandervelde with an injury settlement. Vandervelde is recovering from a back injury that required surgery. Vandervelde entered Training Camp as the backup center to Jason Kelce. With Vandervelde injured, David Molk has stepped up and solidified the depth at the position.

"David Molk has really played well for us at center," said Kelly. "Really wasn't sure what we had at center when Julian went down."

Molk was out of football in 2013 after playing 12 games in his rookie season for the Chargers.

"It's worked out well for me. This is a system that I'm made for. It's something that I can thrive in," said Molk. "If I didn't play well here, in this system, I would get the feeling that I should just hang 'em up. This is the kind of place where I can be successful. I enjoy it. I enjoy every day and every play we run and it's fun for me."

3. A Different Kelly Thriving In Camp

Guard Dennis Kelly spent the entire 2013 on the Eagles' active roster, but didn't play after undergoing back surgery last summer. Kelly missed the start of Organized Team Activities this spring with a hamstring injury. Kelly admits that his return has taken "a little bit longer than what we were expecting," but the third-year lineman has performed well with the second-team offensive line at right guard this preseason.

"It was definitely a confidence boost going into camp knowing that I was healthy and that I could play to the level of my expectations," said Kelly.

Kelly played in 13 games and started 10 as a rookie fifth-round pick out of Purdue. It remained to be seen how Kelly would fit in the Eagles' zone-blocking scheme up front.

Chip Kelly said that the 6-foot-8, 321-pound guard has "played well." Thursday provides a chance for this second-team offensive line to showcase itself for most of the game against the Jets after scoring two touchdowns against the Steelers' top defense last week.

"It's a big opportunity. We'll probably play the whole game," Kelly said. "We'll get the rhythm of a whole game, not just little short spurts. Hopefully, we can build some momentum for everyone to play a good game heading into the season."

4. How Will The Running Back Position Sort Itself Out?

Running back Chris Polk has been a full participant in training since Sunday, but is still not certain whether he will be able to suit up Thursday due to the hamstring injury that has sidelined him for the entire preseason.

The third-year running back was poised to be the team's third running back behind LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles entering Training Camp. However, head coach Chip Kelly said following last Thursday's win over the Steelers that the team needs to decide who the third running back is going to be. The Eagles have a logjam at running back with the three aforementioned players along with Kenjon Barner, Henry Joseyand Matthew Tucker.

"It's tough especially when things start to work in your favor," Polk said. "You're sitting out and it's hard just sitting there and watching other people play and play well because you want to go out there and show what you can do. It's a process. Everything happens for a reason."

5. Even Donnie Jones Gets Nervous

He's a two-time All-Pro selection and is entering his 11th NFL season, but even punter Donnie Jones still battles nerves. In fact, Jones told Dave Spadaro on Tuesday's Inside Training Camp presented by Xfinity that the most nervous he ever was before a punt was the final one he boomed in the Week 17 NFC East title showdown with the Dallas Cowboys. With 1:59 remaining, Jones nailed a 56-yard punt that put the Cowboys at their own 32-yard line. On the next play, cornerback Brandon Boykin intercepted Kyle Orton to seal the win.

"It's only natural to be nervous with the job that we have. Being in those experiences and being successful really helps you mentally, but some games I'm fine and some games I get really nervous. I don't know why. I guess it's just a part of being human," Jones said.

Whatever Jones did last season worked. Jones set franchise records in net punting average (40.4) while downing a career-high 33 kicks inside the 20-yard line in his first year with the team, and became just the fourth punter in league history to garner NFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors in consecutive games in the same season. Jones earned a new three-year deal with the team this offseason.

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