Eagles Training Camp Set to Begin

Chip Kelly will begin his first training camp with the Eagles today.

Chip Kelly will begin his first training camp with the Eagles today.

Today marks the official start of the first Eagles training camp under new head coach Chip Kelly. The first year NFL coach has decided to move the camp from Lehigh University to the Novacare Complex here in Philadelphia.

Select practices will be open to the public and held at Lincoln Financial Field.

That will not be the only change from the Andy Reid era. There will be a lot of new sights and sounds to look out for this year. There will be new drills, tempo, players, schemes, strategies and positional battles that will make this training camp quite unique.

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The Zimmerman Verdict: What Philly Sports Figures Had to Say

George Zimmerman was found not guilty on charges of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin.

George Zimmerman was found not guilty on charges of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Trayvon Martin.

If you were on Twitter or Facebook last night, you were most likely reading tweets and statuses dealing with the second extra inning game that the Phillies were playing that day.

The subject matter quickly changed as it was announced that a verdict had been reached in the controversial George Zimmerman trial.

After 17 months of scrutiny and speculation, George Zimmerman was acquitted on all charges stemming from the admitted slaying of 17 year old Florida native, Trayvon Martin.

Like many of us, Philadelphia Sports athletes and media members made their opinions of the verdict known on their social media accounts throughout the night. Some issued numerous and very deliberate tweets while others were much more discrete.

Here is a look at what several people had to say:

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Weekend Wrap-Up: 6/14-6/16

Justin Rose won his first US Open at +1 at Merion Golf Club.

Justin Rose won his first US Open at +1 at Merion Golf Club.

The US Open at Merion proved to be quite the test for a number of the world’s premier golfers but one player certainly ‘Rose’ to the occasion. The Phillies squandered an opportunity to pick up some ground against a weak opponent but once again came up short. DeSean Jackson spent Father’s Day unveiling a documentary that highlights his rise to the NFL and his relationship with his father. Several reports are speculating that the Flyers may be close to buying out goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. The Sixers worked out a crop of prospects on Saturday that included local Big Five star, Khalif Wyatt.

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Weekend Wrap-Up: 5/31-6/2

Domonic Brown recorded three homeruns and six hits over the weekend against the Brewers.

Domonic Brown recorded three homeruns and six hits over the weekend against the Brewers.

The Phillies went 1-2 over the weekend as they took on the Brewers. Domonic Brown continued his stellar play and his hot month landed him some more hardware. The Eagles wrapped up OTA’s on Friday and there is still no leader in the quarterback competition. However, the Eagles may have given a bit of a clue on Friday. The Sixers are still without a head coach but a former 76er may be available to speak with. The Flyers added two new prospects to the fold, including a coveted winger.

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Eagles Offense Still Full of Questions

Will Kelly keep Vick on as his starting quarterback?

Will Kelly keep Vick on as his starting quarterback?

Today is May 28, 2013.

Is it too early to speculate what we will see from the Eagles and new head coach Chip Kelly on September 9 when they take on the Redskins in the season opener? The answer seems to depend on who you ask. There has been some grilling done regarding the defense and the apparent switch that is taking place from the 4-3 to the 3-4, but the overwhelming amount of the speculation is targeted at the offense.

The reason for that is all the uncertainty on that side of the ball. There are not many aspects of the offense that are clear at this point.

There is a classic quarterback battle being waged between second-year player Nick Foles and Michael Vick. There is also the intriguing presence of fourth-rounder Matt Barkley and also former Oregon signal caller Dennis Dixon. While Dixon is a long shot, Barkley was considered a top-10 pick a season ago and his position as the starter for the Birds could come sooner rather than later because he is 100% Kelly’s guy.

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Do Additions to Eagles Really Make Them The Dream Team?

Vince Young dubbed the Eagles the Dream Team and the media has run with the idea.

In this frenzy that has been free agency for the NFL this offseason, the Philadelphia Eagles have undoubtedly been the most active team in the league and their acquisitions have some picking them as the favorites in the NFC. The Birds have made additions to both the offense and defense. Some were expected and talked about for months while others caught the world quite off guard.

The Eagles free agent frenzy got underway on July 29th when the team agreed to terms with four of the players that they’ve acquired this offseason. They team reached agreements with WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, TE Donald Lee, DE Jason Babin, and CB Nnamdi Asomugha. The big name on that list is obvious but each name could potentially play a key role for the Eagles this season. The team also agreed to a deal with Vince Young on this day although it did not become official. Young will be a solid backup and started the hype talk by referring to the team as the “Dream Team”.

Out of the four the obvious impact looked to be on the defensive side of the ball but the two offensive players acquired will play roles. Higgins is a speedy receiver who could certainly play his way into a role in the Birds high-speed offense. He will also get a chance to serve as the teams primary return man as it seems that the Birds are looking to completely phase Desean Jackson out of that role, especially if they are going to consider paying him a more adequate salary. Higgins has played 4 years with the Raiders and has season highs of 366 yards and 22 receptions. Those are not staggering numbers to say the least but he has a year of kick returning experience and 4 years of punt returning experiencing. TE Donald Lee will serve as the primary backup to Brent Celek. Lee is 30 years old and has played for the Dolphins and the Packers championship team last season. Lee will provide a solid experienced TE backup which the Eagles have not had. He will give the team the capability to run some interesting two TE sets.

The most coveted free agent, Nnamdi Asomugha will look to help an ailing Birds defense.

The upside of the other two additions, Jason Babin and Nnamdi Asomugha is obvious. The former Eagle Jason Babin will be reuniting with his line coach from Tennessee, Jim Washburn. Washburn, in one season, turned Babin into a career rotation guy into a Pro Bowler. Babin will be given the opportunity to start opposite Trent Cole to provide the consistent pressure from the other side of the line that the Eagles desire. Asomugha is Asomugha. He was the most coveted free agent on the market and perhaps the most shocking acquisition by any team this offseason. Asomugha is arguably the leagues best corner back. His aggressive press style is something that the Eagles have not had for some time and he may get the chance to form the best corner trio in the league with Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who was acquired the day before in the Kevin Kolb trade.

The Eagles have brought back DE Jason Babin after his pro bowl season in Tennessee.

The Eagles were the buzz of TV football coverage for the night and they kept that buzz going by making another splash the next day by signing DL Cullen Jenkins. Jenkins was a key cog to the Packers high quality championship defense last season. Jenkins only played in 11 games last season but recorded 7 sacks, one of which was against Eagles QB Michael Vick. Jenkins excelled in a 3-4 defense last season and the Eagles are hopeful that he can continue that success playing DT in a 4-3 scheme.

The next day the team signed guard Evan Mathis. Mathis has been a backup for the most part in his career with three NFL franchises but he will provide depth given the fact that the penciled in starter at RG is rookie Danny Watkins who was late to camp due to contract issues. On August 2nd, the team brought in OT Ryan Harris who some are dubbing a serious candidate to protect Vick’s blind side. The team also made an interesting move signing former Pro Bowler and Miami Dolphin RB Ronnie Brown. Brown reportedly had more lucrative offers and chances to start elsewhere but he claimed that at the age of 29, all he wants to do is win and he envisions a tandem of himself and Lesean McCoy being one of the most dangerous in the league. A backfield of Vick, McCoy and Brown would provide fits for coordinators everywhere. The team wrapped up the day by signing former Patriot safety Jarrad Page to add depth to a position that boasted 2nd year players, Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman, as the starters. Page spent three full seasons as a starter in Kansas City before going to New England last year.

Eagles WR Desean Jackson has not yet reported to camp in search of a new contract.

So do these additions make the Eagles the Miami Heat of the NFL? That remains to be seen but it is apparent that players want to bring their talents to South Philly. Each addition makes the Eagles better and that is why many are picking them as the NFC’s best team but it still has to be proven on the field and that fact is not lost on the team. They must get Desean Jackson in camp and on track for he is a huge piece to any Super Bowl chance the team has. There are also players such as Braylon Edwards who could maybe make an impact on a team like the Eagles. Likely? Probably not, but every passing day drives Edwards and other free agents price tags down which gives the Eagles a chance. If the Eagles are the NFL’s Heat, hopefully the outcome will be different. Speaking of the Heat, anybody know if Lebron James is looking for something to do during the NBA Lockout? He could be the big WR the Eagles need to pair with Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

Are these two franchises anything alike?

New Deal for DJACK: Could a Holdout be Looming for the Eagles Top Receiver?

Desean Jackson has been clear that he wants a new deal and with the lockout over the issue is becoming apparent.

With the NFL Lockout done and over with, it is finally time to get down to the business of football which is not necessarily just the playing of the game itself, but also of course the monetary side of the game. Typically this period of the offseason is spread out over months but due to the rapid nature of this shortened off-season, everything is being consolidated into a much smaller time frame. Trades, signings, and cuts are being made rapidly as teams try to load up on players and while others look to scale back to create cap space. This frenzied time period could become a little more tricky for the Philadelphia Eagles who could possibly have a holdout on their hands. Desean Jackson, the Eagles best receiver and perhaps the most valuable piece to their offense, has been clamoring for a new deal for quite some time and there is now speculation that he could holdout from Training Camp until a new deal is agreed upon.

Today is the first day that Eagles players are scheduled to report to Lehigh. Based on some comments made by Eagles QB Michael Vick, some feel like it is very likely that Jackson will not report although Vick did not outright say that he will not.

Terrell Owens and Drew Rosenhaus orchestrated the last high profile receiver holdout dealt with by the Eagles.

Jackson’s desire for a new contract is certainly warranted. It is nothing like the last disgruntled wideout that Eagles fans remember oh so well, Terrell Owens. Owens signed a 7 year, $49 million deal with the Eagles and wanted it restructured after one season with the team. Although both receivers share a common denominator in agent Drew Rosenhaus, Jackson is in a much different boat. This season, Desean Jackson is only scheduled to make $565,000 and very few are arguing against him getting a new contract. It is very clear that he has outperformed that type of salary. The question is, what will Jackson want.

Will Desean Jackson seek to be compensated like a top-tier NFL receiver such as Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson? To put it into perspective, Andre Johnson signed a 7 year, $62.7 million deal in 2010 and is slated to make $6 million this season and $11 million in the final year of the deal. Larry Fitzgerald signed a 4 year, $40 million deal in 2008 with a no trade clause and is slated to make $7 million in this the final year of the deal. He also has a clause that guarantees him a salary of $23 million if he gets franchised for 2012. Is Desean Jackson worth those kind of dollars? It’s hard to say simply because you are comparing apples to oranges.

Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson are arguably the two best receivers in the NFL Today.

Desean Jackson will never play like those receivers. He is not a big receiver who makes an impact by catching 10 passes in a game. In fact, the yards those receivers rack up in 10 catches, Jackson is capable of compiling in one or two catches due to his ability to catch passes well above 50 yards. Jackson has also proven his worth on special teams, just ask the New York Giants. It is pretty clear that a two-time pro bowler should have a salary greater than $565,000. Will the Eagles appease Jackson? You have to imagine they will. The team clearly has cap space and if they harbor any ideas of possibly winning a Superbowl, they need their greatest stretch the field threat in tow.

Jackson was painted as a player with a big ego and some attitude problems coming out of Cal but those traits have not necessarily defined him in Philadelphia. Sure, there have been some on the field antics that have had some question his maturity, but Jackson has actually proved to be a hard worker who does not shy away in crunch time. What he lacks in size he makes up for in production and that fact should lead to Jackson receiving some fairer compensation. We will have to wait and see if he and his agent Drew Rosenhaus, think a holdout is in order.

Jackson's "Dangerous" game has been a huge part of the Eagles' success.