At the moment, the sports world is at a lull. The hype of the World Cup and Germany’s victory is beginning to pass, unless you are from Germany. Free agency in the NBA has calmed down after “The King’s” departure from Miami and Carmelo’s anti-climatic resigning with the Knicks.
But have no fear, football training camp is here. The 2014-2015 NFL season is sure to be an exciting one. Coming off of a very lopsided Super Bowl, numerous teams are trying to make a push for the Lombardi trophy.
The Philadelphia Eagles, however, seem as if they are just jogging in place. On both sides of the ball, the Eagles have a lot of upside, but also, a lot that needs to be improved. With only a week until the official 90-man roster is reported, now is the time when players need to kick it into another gear to guarantee their position.
Most of the starters from the 2013-2014 season have returned besides the moving of QB Michael Vick and superstar wide out Desean Jackson. Nick Foles and LeSean McCoy headline the high-powered Philly offense, with the number one receiver slot going to the injury prone Jeremy Maclin. Riley Cooper returns, who was a bright spot last year in Chip Kelly’s system.
An early surprise in the training camp is Brad Smith, a wildcard wildcat system runner. Smith’s run with the Eagles last season did not produce much, but it was not expected to, being that he was picked up halfway through the season. Smith is a triple threat when on the field; he can catch the ball, take a hand off, and even attempt a pass.
He is not an every down player, but Chip Kelly has shown an interest and a little bit of faith in him by placing him with the first team during scrimmages. This will likely not last as Smith is over 30 years of age and the Eagles just drafted a 2nd round wideout, but it is encouraging and something to look forward to.
Another bright spot in their offense is 2nd string RB Chris Polk. On only 11 touches last season, Polk had three touchdowns. McCoy will get as many touches as possible while healthy, but even superstars need a rest, and Polk will be willing and waiting to capitalize.
Ah the Philly defense. Once a feared group known for big hits and even bigger trash talking, the Philadelphia defense seems to have lost its mojo. The Eagles were ranked 29th last season on opponents yards per game and tied for 2nd in firsts downs allowed per game. While these are not great numbers, they are subject to improvement.
A shaky linebacker corps last year seems to be all “Goode” now. That was not a typo, I meant Goode as in Najee Goode, a middle linebacker who made only one start for Philly last season but in this one start, he made impressions. He recorded five tackles, a sack and a couple deflections against the Redskins.
Being paired with Pro-bowler Demeco Ryans and up and comer Mychal Kendricks should be an intimidating enough group to have opponents second guess running the ball. We can talk all day about Philadelphia’s secondary issues, but we don’t have time.
For now I will leave it with one name: Earl Wolff. Wolff recently told the press his goal for the season is 6+ interceptions. Not too steep a task, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.