The Eagles completed the task Friday of getting their roster to the 53-man limit. Let's take a position-by-position look at who will comprise the Eagles offense ...
Michael Vick returns as the Eagles’ starter and is looking to have his best year as a pro. Despite playing sparingly in the preseason, Vick has said throughout the offseason that he is more comfortable in the offense than he has ever been. With an increased commitment to playing smart and staying healthy, the Eagles are looking for Vick to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl.
Rookie Nick Foles showed that the moment wasn’t too big for him, and turned heads with his stellar play in the preseason. As a result, he was awarded the Eagles’ primary backup job. A third-round pick in April, Foles came on strong once the games started and finished the preseason with an NFL-leading six passing touchdowns.
Trent Edwards came to Philadelphia guaranteed nothing. After being out of the league in 2011, Edwards was looking to regain a foothold in the league by working with head coach Andy Reid and his team of quarterback gurus. To his credit, Edwards battled hard for his spot on the roster, and ended any debate about his ability Thursday night with a two-touchdown performance.
In what may be the surprise of the roster cutdown day, the Eagles decided to keep all four of their running backs. All-Pro LeSean McCoy headlines a running back corps that is as versatile as it is deep. Dion Lewis solidified his position as the team’s second back with an impressive Training Camp. Rookies Bryce Brown and Chris Polk shined in the preseason finale, and their physical power running style is a potent complement to the speed and elusiveness of McCoy and Lewis.
Fullback - (1)
Second-year pro Stanley Havili is the winner of the Eagles’ fullback battle. A seventh-round pick in 2010, Havili spent last year on the practice squad and had an impressive Training Camp. In addition to his lead blocking abilities, Havili is a threat out to catch the ball out of the backfield and contribute on special teams.
DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are your starters, and what a duo they are. Fresh off a new contract, Jackson is happy, energized and as electrifying as ever. His deep speed remains an X-factor for the offense and the respect opposing defenses give him creates opportunities for his teammates. But Maclin is no slouch himself. After battling a mysterious illness last summer, Maclin is back and appears poised for a breakout season. While his speed may not be on the level of Jackson, Maclin still possesses deep speed and physicality.
The group is rounded out by the always reliable Jason Avant, big-bodied Riley Cooper and rookie Damaris Johnson. An undrafted free agent out of Tulsa, Johnson finished his college career holding the all-time NCAA record for most all-purpose yards. Johnson will also be the team’s punt returner.
The Eagles believe they have two versatile and productive tight ends in Brent Celek and Clay Harbor. Celek has been a true blue-collar player for the Eagles, stepping out of the limelight to help with blocking duties. But he’s no slouch with the ball in his hands – since 2009, Celek is second in the league among tight ends in yards after the catch with 1,191. When he’s involved in the passing game, Celek is as dangerous as they come and adds another weapon to an already potent Eagles offense.
Clay Harbor put in substantial work throughout the offseason, staying after each practice to catch extra passes. The hard work paid off and Harbor is back for another season as the team’s number two tight end. A physical receiving tight end, Harbor has worked to improve his blocking abilities and figures to help create a 1-2 punch at tight end this season.
The starters on the outside of the offensive line were determined about a week ago when Andy Reid declared King Dunlap the Week 1 starter at left tackle. It’s been quite the offseason rise for Dunlap, who came to camp as the swing tackle, only to overtake Demetress Bell, who was signed to be the presumptive started in the offseason following
Bell, meanwhile, makes the team despite yielding the starting job to Dunlap. He is clearly still adjusting to Howard Mudd’s offensive line techniques, and he’ll now have time to continue learning the finer points without being thrown onto the field. The fourth tackle is fifth-round pick Dennis Kelly, who has been impressive in his rookie season under Mudd. A left tackle in college, Kelly has spent the majority of his time with the Eagles at right tackle, though he’s spent some time at left tackle and inside at guard. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Kelly emerges as the swing tackle.
The starters you know, as they all return from last season - left guard Evan Mathis, center Jason Kelce and right guard Danny Watkins. All three should be primed to take a step forward in their second season under Mudd. The identity of the backups was always going to be in question throughout the preseason.
Dallas Reynolds are your backup interior lineman. The 28-year-old Reynolds has spent the last three seasons on the Eagles practice squad. He was called up to the active roster in 2009, but never made it into a game. He knows the offense inside and out and has proven capable of playing all three interior offensive line positions.
Menkin was claimed off waivers from the Houston Texans on Saturday. A rookie out of Mary Hardin- Baylor in Texas, Menkin has the the athleticism that Mudd craves. Plus, he has the versatility to play both guard and tackle.
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