Eagles Release Unofficial Depth Chart – WHO’S THE STARTING QB?!?!

Eagles Release Unofficial Depth Chart – WHO’S THE STARTING QB?!?!

Whoever is responsible for this version of the Eagles’ depth chart, which is posted on the team’s web site but honestly means next to nothing, totally copped out when they got down to quarterback. And the first-team signal caller is…?

7 Michael Vick/9 Nick Foles. Still no hint on who will start the first preseason game, either, which is already this Friday.

To be fair, the slash aligns with what we’ve seen at practice so far. Vick and Foles continue to split the work on the first-team offense, so it’s only natural they would split that tiny line on the depth chart as well. There is a growing belief among some of the reporters at training camp that Vick may have pulled away from the competition slightly in recent days, but the chart is only meant to reflect reps. Also, it's still so close as to border on irrelevant.

Sorry, we’re still going to have to wait a few weeks before that all sorts itself out. As for the rest of the depth chart, again, it’s very early in the process, and if you ask head coach Chip Kelly, fluid. The only reason there is a depth chart at all is because it’s mandated by the NFL in advance of any games. That said, we can have some fun with this, so let’s analyze the rest of it, shall we?

Running Back

Chris Polk is ahead of Felix Jones, which bodes well for the second-year back’s chances of making the squad. Polk has looked sharp and explosive carrying the football. He told reporters on Monday that he dropped weight during the offseason, between 15-20 lbs., and it really shows in his initial burst. He’s underrated as a receiving threat as well.

Jones is having a quiet camp, and was no lock to make the roster coming in. There’s still time, but Polk owns a distinct advantage right now.

Wide Receiver

Riley Cooper is listed as one of the two starters, but that could change as his absence from camp becomes extended. Cooper was first up after the injury to Jeremy Maclin, but since he left Damaris Johnson and Russell Shepard have seen time with the ones. Arrelious Benn has finally returned from injury, and he’ll have a chance to climb back into the picture as well. Nothing settled there.

Tight End

No real surprises here, although it is worth noting that two tight ends – Brent Celek and James Casey – are listed as starters. Most teams traditionally list one, but that’s a perfect example of how prevalent the position will be in Chip’s offense.

Offensive Line

Interesting thought courtesy of Philly.com’s Jimmy Kempski from inside the press box today: the depth at tackle is not what it appears. If anything were to happen where Jason Peters or Lane Johnson couldn’t go, the likely backup is actually Todd Herremans, who of course is the starter at right guard. Herremans would line up at right tackle (Danny Watkins would enter at guard), while Johnson would either be replaced or move over to left tackle. That in effect makes Denis Kelly the fourth-string tackle, which means the rest of them better be versatile if they hope to make the team.

Defensive Line

Cedric Thornton is holding off Clifton Geathers at one of the two end positions for now I guess, although Geathers has seen some time with the first stringers as well. It’s difficult to gauge because the Eagles have been trying a lot of different combinations, and while there have been some live periods, guys aren’t really hitting/tackling much yet.

Bennie Logan is listed as the top backup at nose tackle behind Isaac Sopoaga, as Antonio Dixon missed a few practices due to injury. Dixon may have to make up for lost time once the exhibition games get underway.

Linebacker

No surprises here. Connor Barwin and Trent Cole on the outside, DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks inside. Incumbents are all listed ahead of the less-known fringe players. Need to see them in games.

Cornerback

Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are both ahead of Brandon Boykin, who is having one of the best camps of anybody on the team. Boykin saw some extended time with the ones while Williams was nursing his hamstring injury, but this list is still going with the offseason acquisitions. If the second-year corner keeps it up, he’s going to force the coaching staff’s hand sooner rather than later.

Eddie Whitley, a bubble player signed off of the Cowboys’ practice squad during the offseason, is having a strong camp as well. It’s a little surprising to see him listed below the Trevard Lindleys and Brandon Hughes of the world.

Safety

Starters: Nate Allen and Patrick Chung. It seems like on defense in particular many of the spots are penciled in the way they were projected heading into camp. The truth is lots of different players have had chances to roll with the first-team at safety, including Colt Anderson and David Sims, even rookie Earl Wolff at the bottom.

Specialists

For those concerned with the big punter battle, Donnie Jones is holding off rookie Brad Wing. Oh, and DeSean Jackson is your punter returner, Damaris Johnson kicks.

>> 2013 Unofficial Depth Chart [PE.com]

Phillies conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

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Phillies conclude miserable homestand with new low as Zach Eflin demoted to Triple A

For a moment on Sunday afternoon, Citizens Bank Park sprung to life as the Phillies strung together five hits in a four-run second inning.

But four home runs off starter Zach Eflin sent the Phillies to another defeat and Eflin to Lehigh Valley.

Eflin was optioned to Triple A following the Phillies' 8-4 loss to the Reds, in which he allowed seven runs on nine hits in just five innings of work (see Instant Replay)

"His first 2-3 outings were really good," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He was keeping the ball down, but his last three, including today, he's elevating his sinker and once you elevate that sinker, it doesn't have the effect that you'd like to have."

The Phillies have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games and handed the Reds their first series win at CBP since Aug. 2006.  

Eflin got off to a rocky start on Sunday with three first-inning singles, allowing one run. He escaped further damage but then proceeded to give up a home run in each of his final four innings. The final home run — Adam Duvall's second on the day — came on an 0-2 pitch and extended Cincinnati's lead to 7-4. All of the Reds' hits off Eflin came on fastballs as their potent lineup feasted on his pitches high in the zone.

Two weeks ago, Eflin's ERA stood at 2.87 as he kept opponents in the ballpark with his hard sinker. However, starting with a May 17 outing in Texas, Eflin has allowed 22 runs in his last 15 innings. He's given up seven homers in his last two starts and at least nine hits in five consecutive outings as his ERA ballooned to 6.13. With Sunday's results, the Phillies were left little choice but to option the 23-year-old righty while he deals with a rough patch.

"There are some things I need to work on," Eflin said. "I need to do a better job of pitching backward, especially in fastball counts. There's a lot of things I need to work on, but at the end of the day, I'm not worried about it. I'm going to go down there, work on everything I need to work on and get back as soon as possible."

The Phillies will likely reinstate Howie Kendrick (oblique) off the 10-day disabled list Monday in a corresponding move after the veteran IF/OF completed a four-game rehab stint (see story)

Kendrick could help boost an offense that is scuffling. After a four-run second inning highlighted by Andrew Knapp's 434-foot three-run home run, the Phillies' bats fell silent. They strung together five more hits. However, three double plays and a few untimely strikeouts killed any further rallies.

The Phillies left a potential run stranded on third base in the fifth inning as Odubel Herrera and Aaron Altherr struck out against starter Scott Feldman, who waded into and out of trouble in five innings of work. Herrera went 0 for 4 with that strikeout, continuing to slump. His average has fallen to .217.

With Kendrick returning, Mackanin indicated he would give Herrera some days off soon to help him relax amid mounting pressure to hit.

"He's scuffling. A couple guys scuffling," Mackanin said. "I'll probably move him down in the lineup. I can't keep him in the two-hole. But he has to fight his way out. 

"We'll see when Kendrick gets here. We're going to have another outfielder. I'm going to mix and match and try to get everybody in there. Kendrick, I'm going to bring along slowly because I want to make sure he's healthy.

"In other words, I don't have a set outfield. I'm going to mix those guys up."

On the infield, Maikel Franco continued his slide on Sunday, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout and a double play. The slugger is hitting .213 this month, just as he did in April, but his power is down with just two home runs. Kendrick, who only played left field in April, played third base while at Triple A, so he could potentially spell Franco as well.

"He hit a ball hard today but he's not giving us consistent at-bats," Mackanin said. "He's searching both physically and mentally. It's not easy for him. I can tell he's down on himself. He's not happy about what's going on."

The Phillies came into this week struggling and were unable to rebound against the Rockies and Reds, losing five of seven. They averaged just 2.42 runs during the homestand.

However, the bigger problem comes in the rotation. The team gave up 5.71 runs per game in their last seven despite a 23 2/3 inning scoreless streak from the bullpen. The rotation's struggles continue to plague the team as they carry the worst record in baseball into Miami for a three-game set starting Monday.

"I certainly expected more out of our starters," Mackanin said. "We've had some issues with Nola's arm and Clay Buchholz going down. Although [Jerad] Eickhoff is going to end up having a good year in my opinion. He's been a little bit hot and cold.

"And Eflin, I counted on him to have a big year this year. I think if he gets himself straightened out down in Triple A, I think he's going to come back strong. But certainly, I can't sit here and say I'm happy with [his performance]."

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Reds 8, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

Zach Eflin allowed a career-high four home runs and the Phillies were outslugged by the Cincinnati Reds in an 8-4 defeat Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phils have now lost nine consecutive series for the first time since 1997. The loss was their 22nd in 28 games. The Reds, who took two of three, picked up their first series win at CBP since August 2006.

Eflin was roughed up for the third consecutive start. The Reds tagged him for seven runs in just five innings. After three hits led to a run in the first inning, he gave up home runs in each of his last four frames. Following the game, Eflin was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Jeanmar Gomez allowed a solo home run in relief. 

Andrew Knapp gave the Phillies an early lead with a three-run homer during a four-run second inning. However, three double plays stifled the Phillies' offense, which was held scoreless after the second inning. 

Scott Feldman improved to 4-4 with the win for the Reds. The Phils dropped to 17-31 while the Reds improved to 24-25. 

Starting pitching report
Eflin stumbled through five innings, allowing nine hits. He had held opponents to just four homers in first six starts but has now has let up seven in his last two appearances. Over his past three starts, Eflin's been tagged for 22 runs in 15 innings. He's given up at least nine hits in all five May starts. 

A poor sign for Eflin: Only two of his outs came on the ground. The Reds were all over his fastball and scored in each of his five innings. His ERA has gone from 2.81 to 6.13 since May 17.

Feldman labored through a 32-pitch second inning in which he gave up four runs. He settled down afterward with a pair of double plays to get through five innings. The veteran righty struck out the last two batters he faced with a man on third and one out.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia threw two shutout innings, striking out one. Jeanmar Gomez gave up rookie Patrick Kivlehan's second home run of the day in the ninth inning, snapping the Phillies' bullpen's scoreless streak at 23 2/3 innings. Gomez allowed three hits and the one run in two innings.

Blake Wood, Wandy Peralta, Drew Storen and Raisel Iglesias each threw shutout innings in relief of Feldman.

At the plate
Manager Pete Mackanin wanted the Phillies to string together 4-5 hits and they did so in the second inning. Tommy Joseph and Michael Saunders led off with back-to-back singles before Knapp drove them in with his 434-foot blast. Knapp laid off two high fastballs after falling behind 0-2 and drilled a curveball into the Phillies' bullpen.

Freddy Galvis followed with a double. Even Eflin aided the cause with his first career RBI on a run-scoring single. 

The top two in the order — Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera — went 0 for 8. Everyone else in the lineup had at least one hit. Saunders and Aaron Altherr each had two hits while Ty Kelly had a pinch-hit double.

Adam Duvall, Scott Schebler and Kivlehan combined for five home runs with Duvall and Kivlehan notching multi-hit games. Jose Peraza and Zack Cozart extended their hitting streaks to 13 and 11 games, respectively, in the first inning.

Up next
The Phillies head on the road and begin a three-game set with the Miami Marlins, whom they beat twice in April at Citizens Bank Park.

Monday, 7:10 p.m. — Jeremy Hellickson (5-2, 4.28) vs. Edinson Volquez (0-7, 4.82)

Tuesday, 7:10 p.m.— Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.55) vs. Justin Nicolino (0-1, 5.40)

Wednesday, 1:10 p.m. — Aaron Nola (2-2, 4.34) vs. Dan Straily (3.83)