The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the most up-and-down teams in the NFL the past several seasons. Andy Reid was the man at the helm for more than a decade, and though he got close to a Super Bowl trophy, he never could deliver one.
Now, with a new coaching staff and a few new players, the Eagles will open their 2013 training camp with more questions than answers. The fans are excited because there's finally been some real change in Philadelphia, but there are some key positions up for grabs through training camp and the preseason, and if those positions don't get settled, the Eagles will be in trouble.
Reid was at the helm of the Eagles since 1999, but was replaced this offseason by Chip Kelly. That's a huge change given that Kelly is going to try and run his college offense, and we've seen multiple coaches fail at doing that at the NFL level. But Kelly will try regardless, and if it works, the Eagles could be right there competing with the Washington Redskins and New York Giants for the NFC East.
If it doesn't, there will be trouble. The quarterback situation is a mess right now, but one key offseason addition was Matt Barkley, selected in the fourth round. Barkley hopes to be part of the quarterback battle during training camp, but he has to beat out veteran Michael Vick and second-year signal caller Nick Foles.
The team also landed Isaac Sopoaga in free agency. They're switching from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense, and Sopoaga earned high marks as the nose tackle for the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers used their base defense less and less last season, so Sopoaga came at a good price for the Eagles.
Another big change is the departure of cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They both struggled in Philadelphia and will be replaced by free agent acquisitions Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. The last big change was the signing of Connor Barwin, who will be one of the primary pass rushers this season.
Training camp location and schedule
The Philadelphia Eagles' practices get underway at the NovaCare complex on July 26. Many of the practices at NovaCare are open to select season ticket holders, but if you were hoping to get into a practice for sure, the team is holding five practices at Lincoln Financial Field that are free and open to the public. Their practice schedule also includes joint practices with the New England Patriots.
Below, we've got their full schedule through training camp and the preseason, via the official website.
Monday, July 22 - Rookies report to NovaCare
Tuesday, July 23 - 12:30 pm rookie practice - NovaCare
Wednesday, July 24 - 12:30 pm rookie practice - NovaCare
Thursday, July 25 - Full team reports to NovaCare
Friday, July 26 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Saturday, July 27 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Sunday, July 28 - 12:30 pm practice - Lincoln Financial Field
Monday, July 29 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Tuesday, July 30 - Day Off
Wednesday, July 31 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Thursday, August 1 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Friday, August 2 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Saturday, August 3 - Day Off
Sunday, August 4 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Monday, August 5 - 12:30 pm practice - Lincoln Financial Field
Tuesday, August 6 - 12:30 pm practice with New England Patriots - NovaCare
Wednesday, August 7 - 12:30 pm practice with New England Patriots - NovaCare
Thursday, August 8 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Friday, August 9 - 7:30 pm - Eagles vs. New England Patriots
Saturday, August 10 - Day Off
Sunday, August 11 - 12:30 pm practice - Lincoln Financial Field
Monday, August 12 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Tuesday, August 13 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Wednesday, August 14 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Thursday, August 15 - 7:30 pm - Eagles vs. Carolina Panthers
Friday, August 16 - Day Off
Saturday, August 17 - 12:30 pm practice - Lincoln Financial Field *
Sunday, August 18 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Monday, August 19 - Day Off
Tuesday, August 20 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Wednesday, August 21 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Thursday, August 22 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Friday, August 23 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Saturday, August 24 - 7:30 pm - Eagles at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sunday, August 25 - Day Off
Monday, August 26 - 12:30 pm practice - Lincoln Financial Field
Tuesday, August 27 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Wednesday, August 28 - 12:30 pm practice - NovaCare
Thursday, August 29 - 7:00 pm - Eagles at New York Jets
Quarterback: This is the big one. Nick Foles is in on the action, but Michael Vick is favored to win the starting job. Vick seems best-equipped to handle Kelly's fast-paced offense, but Foles will reportedly get a real shot at turning heads in training camp and during the preseason. Then there's rookie Matt Barkley, a player many within the organization are rooting for. He's raw and a long-shot, but he's part of the battle regardless.
Tight end: Brent Celek has been great for the Eagles in the past, but there are two younger tight ends vying for the starting job in James Casey and Zach Ertz. Of those, Ertz seems likely to be the "franchise tight end" in Philadelphia's future, but given how solid Casey has been and Celek's veteran presence, it could be another season before a full transition is made.
Linebacker: The Eagles are running a hybrid 3-4 scheme this year, which means open linebacker spots. Barwin will obviously earn one of the outside linebacker roles, and DeMeco Ryans is expected to seal a job inside, but the other inside and outside spots are up for grabs. Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will both try to make the transition from DE to OLB, and Emmanuel Acho and Mychal Kendricks will be looking to impress early and often.