We're three weeks away from the high drama and full intensity of training camp at Lehigh University. Everyone I've learned to this point about the 2012 Eagles will be re-defined on a practice fields.
There, to remind you, the Eagles will have their walk-through practice in the morning, and then put on the pads and get physical in the afternoon, the roster comes into focus.
How many roster spots are open? Well, you look at the starting jobs on the line and figure that the Eagles are going to look as they did in the spring, with only a few starting spots open for debate. Does Joselio Hanson beat out Brandon Boykin for the starting nickel cornerback job? Who returns kickoffs? Is Brian Rolle entrenched at the weak-side linebacker spot? Has Stanley Havili nailed down the job at fullback?
Beyond that, the Eagles have put themselves in position to have some great competition for roster spots across the board. I'm not sure there is a position on the depth chart that doesn't hold some intrigue, which is why training camp is going to be as fascinating as ever. The Eagles have a very fine mix of veteran experience and youthful talent here, so brace yourselves for a fun summer.
On this lazy day, though, I've got some various Eagles-related thoughts bouncing off of my brain. I share them with you now ...
- Isn't it nice to have no contract issues to think about? The Eagles did a nice job making sure to sign all of their draft picks long before training camp started. No drama, just football.
- How much catching up does O.J. Atogwe have before we can seriously think about him earning a substantial spot in this defense? A veteran in the league, Atogwe has a strong foundation in the defense. He will benefit from the walk throughs in the morning both mentally and physically. In fact, that there is such a limited number of full practices, relative to the way it was in the good, old days, is going to help Atogwe a lot. I still say Kurt Coleman starts with Nate Allen at safety this season, with Atogwe in the rotation. And, yes, Jaiquawn Jarrett has a fight on his hands to make the roster and contribute.
- There have been a number of reports that the Eagles are looking at veteran punters to challenge Chas Henry, but it appears Henry will go into training camp having rookie free agent Ryan Tydlacka as his competition. Henry is firmly in charge of the position. He needs to step up and get his game to the next level in Year No. 2.
- I'm thinking that the Eagles really liked what they saw from rookie Nick Foles in the spring, so how are they going to get him a lot of reps in training camp and in the preseason? Will the coaching staff order some periods where Foles plays with first- or second-string players so he gets time in with players who know where they are in this offense? Or will they give more of those reps to Mike Kafka, to make sure he is ready for the season? Make no mistake, the coaches want to advance Foles as much as possible. He showed a lot in the spring.
- Where is Trent Edwards in the quarterback derby? It's a worthwhile question. With only one full practice each day, it's tough to get four quarterbacks a lot of reps.
- How many defensive ends can the Eagles keep on their 53-man roster? As many as it takes, is my answer. I'm not locked in to five ends, or four, or even six. Just keep good football players, no matter the position.
- Hasn't it been a nice, quiet spring and summer? Let's keep it that way. The Eagles have rookies and selected veterans report to camp on July 22. And then, it's all Eagles, all the time for the glorious football season ahead.
- I wonder how physical Andy Reid will make this camp. He wants to get back to where camp practices were, when the Eagles were one of the more physical, and successful, teams in the league. To me, everything done in training camp aims toward September 9 and Cleveland. The Eagles have to get off to a good start in the regular season. Playing from behind in November and December has to stop ...