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What To Watch In Final Minicamp

A lot of the attention will be directed toward the depth chart and the number of reps each player takes, but those aren't the important points to consider. What matters is that the players show that they are on point in their assignments and have a clear understanding of what is to come when training camp begins in late July (dates not yet announced).

And while the coaches may think differently, there are a bunch of questions we have that may or may not be answered between now and the end of the camp on Thursday. Here are a few from this perspective ...

Will The Leading QB Candidate Be Identified?

All we know now is that the reps are coming at a high rate for all of the quarterbacks, particularly Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley and Dennis Dixon. Head coach Chip Kelly has been asked many times about a depth chart or a "leader" for the starting job, and he has not budged from his perspective. Kelly is evaluating everything.

But will he name a No. 1 quarterback heading into training camp once this minicamp is complete? We'll have to see about that. The common thinking among most who are on the outside -- the media, the fans -- is that this is a battle that could extend deep into the preseason schedule.

In any event, it's going to be an important week for the quarterbacks. The coaching staff wants precision and leadership and good decisions. Kelly and offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur have had nothing but good things to say about all of the quarterbacks to this point and the practices that have been open to the media have been crisp with very few errant passes or blown communication between the receivers and the quarterbacks. That's unusual for a new offense.

Are The Draft Picks In Position To Contribute?

It's ridiculously early to project how much playing time the rookies will earn this season, but most of them have had a taste of life as an Eagle and they understand the expectations. Is, for example, Lane Johnson going to push to be a starter at right tackle? Dennis Kelly is a second-year player who has size and excellent feet and he is an improving player who has the goal of starting. Johnson is a great prospect and the Eagles are thrilled to have him, but he's a rookie who still has a lot to learn.


Second-round pick Zach Ertz and seventh-rounder Jordan Poyer are still two weeks away from returning to the NovaCare Complex due to NCAA graduation rules. How much have those two retained from the rookie camp held a couple of weeks after the draft? They will have missed all of the Organized Team Activities plus this camp and will have a very brief week here with the rookie class before everything goes quiet and the team breaks before training camp.

To evaluate defensive linemen Bennie Logan, Joe Krueger and David King is very difficult to do as there is no live contact, but the coaches want to know that those players understand the concepts of the defensive scheme and have learned the nuances of what line coach Jerry Azzinaro is teaching.

Is The Defense On Track For A Big Improvement?

Bill Davis is an easy coach to root for. He's a great communicator, he's extremely motivating and his enthusiasm is contagious. His defensive scheme is billed in this space as a "hybrid" that will show some 3-4 front principles and some 4-3 front seven alignments. He wants his players to be fast and physical.

So far, the coaches seem pleased with what the players have shown and the players are upbeat about the possibilities within the scheme. All signs are very positive right now. Of course, there is also the understanding that the truth will unfold once the regular season begins and adjustments must be made and the games are live.

Is it a 3-4 or a 4-3 or a little bit of both? How much will the Eagles blitz? How is Davis going to turn around a secondary that struggled so much last season?

These questions are to be answered later, of course. We're early in the process, but this week is important as the last taste of Eagles football prior to training camp.

Which Players Have Opened The Coaches' Eyes?

This is a difficult question to answer because the OTA practices have been largely closed to the media, and the coaching staff has said very little about specific players. We're likely to find out when training camp opens and the number of practice reps become clearer and a depth chart is established.

The purpose of the spring practices has been to introduce the schemes and to get the players as many reps as possible to allow them a level of comfort in the systems. Also, the more reps a player has on film, the more the coaches can evaluate his every movement.

So, not to be evasive, but only the coaches and personnel people know who has stepped forward, even if a little bit, but this spring period.

When the pads go on the preseason games begin, we will all have a better understanding. This final week at the NovaCare Complex is the last push before training camp, and it's important that the entire team steps forward together.

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