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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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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What do Philly Fans Want for Christmas?

Philadelphia fans have a lot to wish for this holiday season.

Tis the season to be jolly…

It’s the time of year when we all grab a pen and paper (or maybe an iPad) and make out our list to Santa Claus as we all hope for that special gift to be under the tree come Christmas morning. I came home this afternoon and noticed my parents making their annual inconspicuous trek out the door, failing to mention to anyone exactly where they were headed. They’ve dropped their share of hints to the point where my brother ended up making up a list for “Santa” and needless to say, that list is gone. I’m not trying to let the cat out of the bag for any of my readers who haven’t heard the news so lets move on.

The list itself made me wonder something. What are Philadelphia sports fans hoping that Santa brings them on Christmas morning?

There have been a few early gifts for Philly sports enthusiasts. The Sixers are back in action and thumped the Washington Wizards in their first preseason game last Friday. The Eagles defeated the New York Jets Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Flyers will be the hosts of this year’s Winter Classic at Citizen’s Bank Park and their star Claude Giroux has returned to practice following a concussion (Story via CSNPhilly). And of course, the Phillies re-signed Jimmy Rollins to a deal that will keep him in red pinstripes for three to four more seasons. But let’s be realistic. Philadelphia fans are hard to please so there’s a good chance there’s more on the list.

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Alive N’ Kickin’: Eagles defeat Jets to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

Michael Vick recorded his first rushing touchdown of the season in the Eagles win over the Jets.

When the word came across that the Washington Redskins had upset the New York Giants on the road, the Eagles season suddenly took on meaning. It became a slight bit more realistic to hope for the team to make the playoffs. It’s still far from likely, but possible. The first step in keeping those hopes possible was to defeat the New York Jets at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles have never lost to the New York Jets and they thoroughly kept that trend going by defeating New York 45-19 (highlights). The Eagles ability to withstand turnovers and to capitalize on the Jets’ mistakes allowed the team to flourish in their rout of New York. With the win, The Eagles have kept fans believing for at least one more week.

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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?

Philadelphia Eagles Trade QB Kevin Kolb and sign QB Vince Young

Kevin Kolb will be heading to Arizona to take control of the Cardinals. He signed a 5 year $63 million extension.

Within the last two days, the Eagles have finally jumped into this hectic but interesting off-season that has resulted from the lockout. Teams have been quick to make acquisitions in hopes of putting their teams in position to win despite having a shortened off-season and thus less reps with one another in practice situations. The elephant in the room for the Philadelphia Eagles has been when and where, not if, they were going to deal Kevin Kolb.

As the lockout was in its final days, Kolb was rumored to have several teams such as the 49ers, Seahawks, and the Cardinals all interested in his services. Those possible teams quickly shrunk down to one as the Cardinals appeared to be the most likely destination for Kolb. They were a team in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. Someone that they could sell to the fan base and more importantly to the team’s franchise player, WR Larry Fitzgerald, who can leave the team after this season. Kolb will arrive in Arizona with a new 5 year, $63 million dollar deal with $22 million guaranteed. There will be no QB battle in Arizona. That kind of deal is a steadfast commitment to a franchise QB. The question is, is Kolb a franchise QB.

Kevin Kolb has played in a total of 19 games in his 4 year career and has started 7 of them. That is hardly a hearty sample. He has also only thrown for 11 touchdowns and has 14 interceptions. There are certainly mixed feelings when it comes to Kolb. Some say he has the intangibles to be great despite a very small sample size while others say that he has not proven anything and that the Cardinals are banking too much on a QB with little to no track record.

Regardless, this is what Kolb has been waiting for. He wanted the chance to fully be given the reigns of a NFL franchise without having to look over his shoulder. He’s the guy in the desert now and the Cardinals are his team to lead. Andy Reid may have given him that chance here but one has to admit that having the opportunity taken from you after a bad start and injury on opening day must indicate that you never really had that firm of a grasp on the job in the first place. No more multiple starting caliber QB’s in Philly in light of this deal. Kolb is in Arizona, McNabb is in Minnesota, and Michael Vick is entering training camp as the Eagles’ undisputed number one QB. But every QB needs a backup.

Vince Young will be leaving Tennessee for the first time in his career to become Michael Vick's backup in Philadelphia.

Enter Vince Young. Because Young is technically on waivers, he cannot sign a deal until tomorrow but reports are that this is all but over with and agreed to. Young will reportedly take a one year deal to come to Philly and backup Vick. Young has had a myriad of ups and downs in his time in the NFL. He appeared to be the young QB that would lead the Titans back to relevance only to lose his job to Kerry Collins. In 5 NFL seasons Young has thrown as many touchdowns as picks and it has been the understanding of many experts that he does not have a very good work ethic. Perhaps the Eagles feel like the atmosphere in Philly will change that. They can look to how Donovan McNabb’s preparation rubbed off on Michael Vick and turned him into a hard-working student of the game. However, Vick had other life changing motivating factors to make him change his act. Will Young feel any more pressure to perform here in Philly as a clear-cut backup? That remains to be seen.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie will fill the number 2 Cornerback spot alongside Asante Samuel in the Eagles' secondary.

With one QB out and another in, let us not forget about the additions made to the defense. The Eagles defense had more holes in it than a GOP explanation of the economy last season. However let’s not get into political talks right now. This is about football. Things had to chance and yesterday they did. The Eagles received good value in the Kolb deal gaining a 2nd round pick and acquiring CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Cromartie will come in to play opposite Asante Samuel and could provide the boost the Eagles need in the secondary. Cromartie was a Pro Bowler in 2009 and admitted that he feels like his game could be elevated by playing with a corner like Samuel. The Eagles also returned a former bird to the nest by signing DE Jason Babin to 5 year deal. Babin had a pro bowl season last year for the Tennessee Titans under the tutelage of D-Line Coach Jim Washburn who now has the same role with the Eagles. Babin is expected to get the majority of the snaps opposite Trent Cole.

Jason Babin will return to the Eagles for another run with the team and his D-Line coach in Tennessee, Jim Washburn.

The Eagles obviously have more to do this offseason but the moves they’ve made thus far all make sense.

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.

Eagles to Franchise Michael Vick

According to numerous reports which surfaced prior to yesterday’s Pro Bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles will reportedly use their franchise tag on Quarterback Michael Vick. The Eagles’ decision to bring Vick back seemed to be a formality coming into the offseason. The only question was whether or not the Eagles would use the franchise tag. Some speculated that perhaps Vick would be awarded with a deal somewhere around 5-6 years.

Although, some players feel disrespected when slapped with the franchise tag, Vick made it clear coming into the off-season that he would be fine with being franchised which seemed to be a result of his value of his second chance. This reported franchise tag will have huge implications for Vick’s wallet. Michael Vick made $1 million in his first season in midnight green as a wildcat quarterback. Last year he entered the season as an overpaid backup quarterback and quickly became the best bargain in the league at quarterback. This franchise tag would result in Vick making $22-24 million next season.

Michael Vick spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer on Sunday after the Pro Bowl to speak about how he felt about being the Eagles franchise player. “It’s great to know that they did want me around for another year.”

Obviously this deal has sparked speculation about Kevin Kolb. It has been reported that the Eagles are going to consider listening to offers for Kevin Kolb, who made it clear after the playoff lost to Green Bay that he wanted to start next season. The only issue there is that until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached, players can not be traded. Teams are permitted to deal draft picks, but not players. The length of the labor negotiations between the league and the player’s union could have huge implications on whether or not Kolb is dealt.

Vick, along with Eagles teammate David Akers, were successful in helping the NFC defeat the AFC in the 2011 Pro Bowl so the offseason has officially begun for every member of the Eagles, and one Eagle in particular looks to be in line for a huge raise.

Eagles Offseason Checklist

The Philadelphia Eagles have several players participating in this weekends upcoming pro bowl in Hawaii which means only one thing…They once again, are not playing in the Super Bowl. However, although still tough, it must be a little easier pill to swallow for Philadelphia fans simply because they did not have set expectations going into the season anyway. Experts had predictions that ranged from 6-10 to 8-8. Surely the ones who predicted 10-6, were not in the majority.
Be that as it may, they still did not play in the big game and change is going to come. Head Coach Andy Reid has already begun his quest to purge the defense which was historically bad in the red zone. Reid fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott who has quickly landed on his feet in Carolina. Reid has also dismissed Defensive line coach Rory Segrest and Linebacker coach Bill Shuey in addition to losing Secondary coach Dick Jauron. The Eagles defense needs to look drastically different next year and with all the coaching changes, it certainly will.
The first step on the Eagles checklist is quite simple… Pick a quarterback. We might as well title this part sign Michael Vick because it is only a formality and his play warranted the opportunity, but out of respect for Kevin Kolb who has been very professional, we call this step “Pick a quarterback”.
Expect Vick to get a long-term deal this offseason. He clearly deserves it and the Eagles feel like he is the quarterback for the job. He gives the Eagles the best chance to win and that fact is not lost on the Eagles leadership. They took a huge chance signing Vick and it is finally paying off. The Birds would be foolish to let another team benefit from Vick’s second chance.
The second step immediately has to do with the offensive line. This is perhaps the most logical step to go after signing Vick simply because if you are going to give Vick a raise you got to protect him. The left side of the line is great with Herremans and Peters but with a lefty quarterback it’s the right side that needs to be the strongest. Honestly, the line played much better last year than they get credit for but they still must improve. Jamaal Jackson will once again look to make a return to his center spot and will have to supplant Mike McGlynn who played fairly well in his first season starting. The Eagles biggest task will be to address RG. Since Shawn Andrews began having his, “issues” we’ll call them, the RG spot has been a revolving door. First it was his brother Stacy Andrews and now this back and forth between both Nick Cole and Max Jean-Gilles. Expect the Birds to address this spot in the draft. It is time to find a long-term solution at that spot.
Now we flip it over to the other side of the ball. There are a few key spots that need addressing. First is the Defensive line. The Eagles need much stronger play from every spot on the line, including from Trent Cole. He looked incredibly winded coming down the stretch and was manhandled late in the season. There has been talk of the Eagles re-acquiring pro bowl DE Jason Babin and DT Albert Haynesworth, both of which are acquisitions that would not be a problem. I am all for Babin coming back, but I have reservations about Haynesworth. He is talented of course but high character guys are important and his attitude could come back to bite the Birds down the line, a la Terrell Owens.
Next would be linebacker. They just are not talented enough. None of them are. Stewart Bradley is good, not great. He has to improve immensely still. The Eagles have to strive to acquire a top flight linebacker at any spot because the play has to improve at that position. Bradley and Sims both underperformed this past season and they have to improve or be prepared to be backups.
The last step is pretty simple. It can be summed up in two words. Nnamdi Asomugha. Not the easiest words, but Eagles fans are going to get to know them very soon. Asomugha is a free agent and he has to sign with the Eagles. He and Asante Samuel would form the best 1-2 corner punch in the NFL hands down. Dmitri Patterson did a stellar job replacing Ellis Hobbs but he should not be starting on a typical top flight defense.
All of these steps in the process are merely possibilities. Do not expect them all to happen, but do not be surprised if they all do. Remember, when the Eagles brass feels like it has a chance to win, they go all in on free agents. They did it in 2004 and if they feel like they are close, they will do it again.