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.


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.


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.


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.


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]

Challenges await Darryl Reynolds, Villanova in run to repeat as national champs

Challenges await Darryl Reynolds, Villanova in run to repeat as national champs

VILLANOVA, Pa. — Darryl Reynolds said it hurt. And he wasn’t alone. 

A month ago, Reynolds and the rest of the Villanova Wildcats found out five-star freshman big man Omari Spellman would not be eligible to play in 2016-17.

And despite Spellman — at 6-foot-9 and 260 pounds — being the biggest competition cutting into Reynolds’ playing time for his senior year, Reynolds understood the ramifications from losing what was expected to be a key cog in Villanova’s next run for glory.

“We lost a — no pun intended — big piece to the puzzle,” Reynolds said Tuesday at Villanova’s media day. “He went down, but everybody else has realized that we need that much more from everybody else.

“Me and Omari are close, in more ways than on the court. It would’ve been exciting to play with him. But it also provided that much more motivation.”

Motivation because Reynolds, a Lower Merion grad, also understands what the ramifications mean for him, too. The 6-foot-9, 240-pound senior may arguably be the most important player on the 2016-17 Wildcats. 

For three years, Reynolds has largely taken a backseat, hidden by the shadow of Daniel Ochefu. Now he’s front and center.

“He battled through that,” fellow senior Josh Hart said. “Never complained. Never had any down moments. Brought it every single day. We know he can play at this level.”

Reynolds heads a position in which Villanova was supposed to have depth. Now it has question marks. Reynolds and Spellman were going to be a 1-2 punch inside and a perfect supplement to a bevy of offensive talent around them. The question marks up front include sophomore Tim Delaney and freshman Dylan Painter. How quickly the two of them get going will be big. And so, too, will be figuring out where Fordham transfer forward Eric Paschall fits in the rotation.

Coach Jay Wright, who said Reynolds would be a starter, talked more about the other pieces behind Reynolds when asked what he’d be expecting from the senior big man.

“I think part of our challenge is Tim Delaney and Dylan Painter,” Wright said. “Which one of them, if not both of them, can step up and give us the depth that Darryl gave us last year up front when we needed size? Down the stretch in big games against big-time teams, you need that size. We’ve got to develop Tim and Dylan and see how they do with that, see how Eric Paschall can do. Can he play bigger? We definitely have our challenges.”

Those challenges also include replacing leadership roles vacated by Ryan Arcidiacono, Ochefu and a trio of walk-ons.

Insert Reynolds there, too. The Wildcats will start three seniors this year. Hart and Kris Jenkins may do most of the scoring, but they’re pretty reserved off the court and when talking to the media.

“Obviously Ryan (Arcidiacono) was a great leader for us. He was our rock,” Hart said. “When you look at this team, a lot of times we look at [Reynolds]. He calms everybody down. He vocally tries to make sure everybody’s on one accord. Basketball-wise, he’s always been good. You saw the Providence game last year when we needed him to step up and he had, what, like 19 and 11?”

Hart remembers the numbers well, even if he added an extra rebound to the ledger. Reynolds was 9 for 10 from the floor and had two blocks in 36 minutes of action to help the Wildcats earn revenge with a road win after the Friars beat them in Philadelphia two weeks prior.

That game was the last of a three-game stretch in late January into early February when Ochefu was sidelined with a concussion. Reynolds’ minutes over that stretch: 29, 31 and 36, respectively.

That experience, Reynolds says, coupled with the rest of 2015-16 — when he saw an uptick in minutes from his sophomore season’s 5.4 per game to 17.1 per game — will be easy to draw from in 2016-17.

“There’s nothing like getting out there and actually playing,” Reynolds said. “You see a lot from the sidelines. You learn a lot playing spot minutes. You get different things. But just being out there throughout entire games, playing 20-plus minutes, it teaches you things that you could never have learned from another perspective. I learned a lot from those experiences and I think it made me the player that I am in many ways. It’s the same thing with this year. I’m still going to learn a ton in a sense of being out there that much more and not having Daniel. 

“In many ways he taught me a lot. So not having him, not having that voice in my ear, not having that guy to go against in practice, it will make me grow up. 

“Nothing wrong with that,” he said with a smile.

Doug Pederson not afraid to get aggressive with play-calling

Doug Pederson not afraid to get aggressive with play-calling

Talk to Doug Pederson and he comes across … what’s a nice way to put it … dry?

Very nice guy. Very friendly. Very down to earth. But not the most dynamic personality in public.

Which is why his personality on gameday has been so surprising.

Pederson is a risk taker as a playcaller. Aggressive and fearless.

Whether it’s going for it on fourth down with the lead, going for two after a successful PAT or throwing deep in a situation that doesn’t necessarily call for it, Pederson has proven to be the proverbial riverboat gambler that Chip Kelly was expected to be but never became.

“My personality is probably a little more conservative by nature, I think,” Pederson said Monday. “You'd probably agree with that.”

Pederson got a laugh with that comment because his public persona is exactly the opposite of his gameday demeanor.

It only took one day before we all got a taste of Pederson’s fearlessness.

In the season opener against the Browns, with the Eagles clinging to a 15-10 lead and a rookie quarterback making his first NFL appearance and a 4th-and-4 at the Browns’ 40--yard-line, he kept the offense on the field.

Carson Wentz responded by connecting with Zach Ertz on a five-yard gain to move the chains, and one play later, the Eagles took command on Wentz’s 35-yard TD pass to Nelson Agholor.

Six weeks in, the Eagles are 5 for 5 on fourth down. Only the Falcons have converted more fourth downs in the NFL this year, and they’re 6 for 10.

In the win over the Bears, the Eagles were 3 for 3 on fourth down, their best fourth-down conversion day in nine years.

This is the first time in 14 years the Eagles have converted five or more fourth downs through six games.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Eagles are one of only seven teams in NFL history to attempt five or more fourth down plays through six games and still be at 100 percent. The Lions are also 5 for 5 this year.

Pederson said analytics are a big part of his decision-making process, but he also trusts his instincts.

“I think it's both,” Pederson said. “But I trust our guys and I trust our offensive line and I think it sends a great message to the rest of the team, to the defense and special teams, that, ‘Hey, if we can convert this and stay on the field,’ it sends a good message.

“And on the other side of that, if you do convert, (it’s about) the message you send to the other team and the fact that you're going to stay aggressive.”

The Eagles are 29th-best in the NFL on third down at just 34 percent. But they’re one of only three teams that’s at 100 percent on fourth down.

“It's kind of a crazy deal when you're not great on third down, but you can be 5 for 5 on fourth down and convert them,” Pederson said. “It's a weird deal. But credit to the guys for the execution.

“I'm going to continue to look at it. I don't ever want to be in a position that I'm going to jeopardize the team at the time (by being too aggressive). Looking at the five fourth-down decisions this year, I don’t think they put us in any harm at that time.”

Wentz is 3 for 3 for 21 yards on fourth down, with the four-yard completion to Ertz, a seven-yard first down to Jordan Matthews in the Bears game and a nine-yard to Dorial Green-Beckham, also in the win in Chicago.

He also rushed six yards for a first down on a 4th-and-2 Sunday in the win over the Vikings. The Eagles’ other fourth-down conversion this year was Ryan Mathews’ one-yard TD on a 4th-and-goal against Chicago.

Pederson said as an assistant coach under Andy Reid, he always found himself asking himself whether he would be conservative or aggressive in crucial situations.

We’re all learning the answer now.

“Yeah, you definitely put yourself in those situations, as a coordinator and a position coach,” he said. “Putting yourself in those spots, it's a lot easier when you're not making the decision obviously to go, ‘Oh, yeah, I would have not gone for it there or not gone for it there.’

“Now, being in this position, it's my tail on the line if we don't convert.”