This is the second installment of the Chaches training camp tour. I stopped by the Philadelphia Eagles camp on August 5th, the day that Andy Reid’s son passed away. Andy’s coaching staff kept the team focused at a time when a lack of focus was warranted. The camp was held at the Goodman Campus of Lehigh University. I watched most of the practice until I barfed in a garbage can due to the heat. I then took my daughter to get autographs from the Eagles Offensive Line. This report will cover practice until my reversal of fortune.
The Eagles come into 2012 with Michael Vick firmly entrenched as the starting QB. He has plenty of fantasy potential for the upcoming season as well. He is a mid tier starting QB, but has the potential to -miss a few games along the way. Mike Kafka seemed to have the backup QB position locked up and appeared ahead of Trent Edwards and rookie Nick Foles. Expect Trent Edwards to be the odd man out when cuts are made.
Vick had pretty good chemistry with Jason Avant and Jeremy Macklin during 11 on 11 drills. Both Avant and Macklin should be fairly consistent fantasy contributors, with WR Desean Jackson much more inconsistent due to his penchant for having big games or not showing up at all. All three WRs are mid tier WR2 to top tier WR3 quality (a consistent Jackson is easily a WR1). Eagles fans at the practice are hoping that Mardy Gilyard is able to wrestle away the #4 WR position from Riley Cooper. Cooper should have the inside track as the #4 with his superior run blocking on the perimeter and he is a deep threat, but he has a broken collar bone and Gilyard may be able to jump him on the depth chart. Neither Cooper nor Gilyard should have much fantasy impact, unless there are injuries to Avant, Macklin, or Jackson. Marvin McNutt and Damaris Johnson could also compete for the #4 receiver job.
I wasn’t able to get much on the running back situation from my time at camp. The Eagles seemed to be throwing a lot more in the 11 on 11 drills than running. The drill was also taking place on a field closer to the “VIP” seating area than where the regular smucks like me had to sit, so it was hard to see what was happening on running plays. That being said, there is no doubt that Lesean McCoy is a top 5 running back option this year. He also contributes in the receiving game, so if you are in a point per reception league, this guy is a top 5 draft pick. The backup could be Bryce Brown. He has plenty of talent, having been the top prospect by Rivals.com coming out of high school in 2009. He could be worth a later round pick as a sleeper/handcuff for McCoy. Dion Lewis is probably going to be the third string, but won’t have any fantasy value.
Brent Celek is the starting TE and should be a factor in the passing game. He has decent chemistry with Michael Vick and should be ranked as a mid to low tier TE1 in fantasy. There aren’t any other notable Tight Ends on the roster, so you should look elsewhere for a TE sleeper.
Alex Henery has a decent leg and should win the kicking job. The Eagles offense should score plenty of TDs and should move the ball enough to get Henery field goal opportunities. Look for Henery to be a mid to low tier K1.
The Eagles defense should be a top tier DEF this season. The secondary includes Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. They should create interceptions and that should bolster the defensive scoring. The Eagles led the league in sacks last year and should be in the top 5 in sacks again this year. The Defensive Line is lead by Jason Babin who had 18 sacks last year. DeMeco Ryans was a key pick up in the linebacking corps.