I know I'm jumping into training camp early. Rookies and selected veterans report to Lehigh University on Sunday, July 22. Practice starts on July 23. So why the rush?
Why not? Who isn't excited that training camp is right around the corner? Who doesn't wonder what this season holds for an Eagles team that appears primed to make a real run deep into the playoffs?
As with every team, the Eagles have questions. In no particular order, here are ones from this perspective ...
How Does The QB Picture Look?
What about the backup situation?
Then there's rookie
Are the Eagles OK here? They have no other choice. Kafka has to prove he is ready in case Vick is sidelined. Foles must accelerate quickly in the preseason. Vick would make it all so clean by staying healthy, keeping his mistakes few and playing great football.
Does The Offensive Line Skip A Beat Minus Peters?
You don't lose a Pro Bowl left tackle and proceed as if there is no hole to fill offensively. As good as
What adjustments does coach Howard Mudd need to make with Bell in the lineup? Bell is an athletic young tackle with plenty of experience who seems to fit the description of what Mudd looks for up front. Still, he isn't Peters. And you wonder if there are times when Mudd will need to help Bell on the edge, or alter his approach in some way.
The Eagles are striving for great continuity and performance from the very start with the offensive line. Vick's health depends upon it, really. Last year he ran away from a lot of trouble early until the line stabilized. With four starters back and with some young players expected to take big steps forward, how that left tackle position is handled by Bell will go a long way toward Vick's productivity.
Are The Linebackers That Much Better Now?
The short answer is that the Eagles have upgraded more at linebacker than at any group since 2011 by acquiring
Ryans looked great running, moving, cutting and learning the defense in the spring. Kendricks fit right in as an immediate starter during the non-contact practices. All eyes are on the linebackers in training camp.
Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman return as the starting safeties, with newly signed
Maybe the most important question to answer is this: Is Allen going to be an elite safety? He showed flashes of that kind of ability as a rookie before suffering a knee injury. He had too many ups and downs last season. He is all the way back physically and he seems primed to become an impact player.
How Much Does The Rookie Class Help?
From the looks of it, the 2012 Rookie Class could make an early impact. Kendricks is already starting. First-round pick
Which Players Are In Make-Or-Break Mode?
Leading the list here is defensive end
You could probably go up and down the roster and say, "This player needs to step up or else ..." and hit five or six other men. The truth is, the Eagles have some competition for the 53-man roster. There aren't a lot of positions that already have been set in semi-stone as far as roster spots. This should be a spirited, aggressive, physical training camp.
And it starts soon. Very, very soon. I'm jumping in early now. I'm in full training-camp mode. Let the practices begin!