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]

Best of MLB: Beltre's 2 home runs lift Rangers over A's

Best of MLB: Beltre's 2 home runs lift Rangers over A's

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre hit his second home run of the game with two outs in the ninth inning, a two-run shot that rallied the Texas Rangers past the Oakland Athletics 7-6 on Monday night for their third straight win.

Beltre, who finished with four hits, had two singles in his first three at-bats before hitting a solo homer in the seventh. His game-winning drive came on the first pitch from Ryan Madson (3-4).

Until then, Texas had trailed since Danny Valencia hit a two-run homer for Oakland with two outs in the first. All 13 runs in the game were scored with two outs.

Texas turned three double plays behind starter Martin Perez, who has induced a major league-best 25 in 21 games.

Valencia also had the first of three run-scoring doubles in a three-run third that gave the A's a 5-1 lead (see full recap).

Blue Jays' Sanchez wins 10th straight decision
TORONTO  -- Aaron Sanchez pitched seven shutout innings to win his 10th consecutive decision, Kevin Pillar had three hits and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Monday night.

Sanchez (11-1) became the first Blue Jays pitcher to win 10 straight since Roy Halladay won 15 decisions in a row in 2003. Halladay and Roger Clemens (1998) hold the club record.

Making their first appearance in Toronto, the Padres were held scoreless until Alex Dickerson hit a two-run homer off Bo Schultz in the ninth.

Dickeerson's drive into the fifth deck extended San Diego's team-record streak of games with at least one home run to 23. The 2006 Atlanta Braves were the last National League team to homer in 23 straight games.

Roberto Osuna replaced Schultz and got two outs for his 21st save (see full recap).

Orioles top Rockies for 5th straight win
BALTIMORE -- Adam Jones scored the winning run in the 10th inning on a low throw to the plate by pitcher Jordan Lyles, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Monday night for their fifth straight victory.

Jones reached on a one-out single off the third-base bag and took third on a single by Jonathan Schoop. Manny Machado followed with a comebacker to Lyles, who fumbled the ball before throwing home. Catcher Nick Hundley caught the ball near the ground and lost the handle while attempting to tag the sliding Jones.

Lyles (2-3) was charged with an error on the play.

Getting two RBIs from Jones, the Orioles climbed a season-high 18 games over .500 (58-40) and improved to 37-14 at home.

Chaz Roe (1-0) worked the 10th for the win (see full recap).

Trade candidates — especially Jeremy Hellickson — lead Phils to shutout of Marlins

Trade candidates — especially Jeremy Hellickson — lead Phils to shutout of Marlins

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — Jeremy Hellickson was standing in front of his locker speaking with reporters after his second strong outing in a week against the Miami Marlins when Cameron Rupp walked by an offered his take on all the trade talk surrounding the veteran pitcher.

“He’s not going anywhere,” Rupp said loud enough for everyone in the room to hear.

Hellickson laughed at his catcher’s commentary.

“I hope not,” he said.

If Hellickson really wants to stay with the Phillies and finish out this rebuilding season instead of moving to a contender for the final two months — and possibly beyond — he did himself a disservice Monday night.

He enhanced his attractiveness to potential buyers by pitching six shutout innings in the Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Miami Marlins (see Instant Replay).

Hellickson, who sports a 3.65 ERA in 21 starts, needed just 70 pitches to get through the six innings. He was lifted for a pinch-hitter with runners on second and third and two outs in a scoreless game in the top of the seventh. Ryan Howard struck out, following Cody Asche and Peter Bourjos, as the Phillies whiffed on a golden scoring chance.

“I hated taking Hellickson out of the game there, but we had an opportunity to score and I had to go for it,” manager Pete Mackanin said.

“After we didn’t score, I didn’t think we had a chance to win this game. I just thought that with their bullpen we were in trouble.”

The Phillies ended up winning with a rally against Miami’s bullpen. Tommy Joseph delivered a clutch, two-out double against Fernando Rodney in the eighth to score Maikel Franco from first. That was the only run the Phillies needed. They tacked on three against the sloppy Marlins in the ninth to finish it off.

Hellickson, David Hernandez, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez then combined to allow just one base runner in three innings to finish off the Phillies’ 11th shutout of the season. That’s the most in the majors.

“Our bullpen did a great job,” Mackanin said.

Three of the four pitchers that the Phillies used in the game — Hellickson, Hernandez and Gomez — are very much available for trades. They all pitched well with a gaggle of scouts sitting behind the backstop. A number of contending clubs — the Cubs, Orioles, Giants, Rangers and Blue Jays — had scouts at the game. Pitching, starting and relief, is high on the needs list for most of those teams.

Of course, the Marlins are looking for pitching, too. They have interest in Hellickson, though it’s not clear whether he is a top target of theirs. Maybe he will become a top target after what he’s done to the Marlins in the last week. Hellickson has pitched 14 innings over two starts against the Marlins. He has given up just six hits and a run.

“Just executing,” said the pitcher, explaining his success. “In my last two games the ball has been down for the most part. I’ve just gotten a lot of easy outs. The ball's down and not missing too many spots right now.”

Hellickson will be a free agent this winter and does not appear to be in the club’s future plan. Nonetheless, he has steadfastly said he would like to remain with the club for the rest of this season. Phillies management is not opposed to keeping Hellickson. He provides veteran stability and innings to a young rotation. But management would move Hellickson for a player that has the potential to help in the future.

Trade rumors can be distracting for a player. But Hellickson, who has been dealt twice in his career, is locked in.

“It doesn't bother me,” he said. “Once I'm in this locker room — obviously you still see it on TV and stuff — my focus is on helping us win today. Now it's on to the next start. It's been like this for a few years now so it's pretty easy to go out there right now.”

Mackanin said he had no idea what will become of Hellickson’s fate. But if the pitcher stays, he won’t complain.

“At this point, I don’t want to lose him,” Mackanin said. “I wish he could stay here. He’s that solid for us. He’s been like that the whole year.”

The Phillies needed a good pitching effort to pull this one out. Their hitters struck out 13 times, left 11 men on base and went just 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

“We don’t show plate discipline,” Mackanin lamented. “We’re taking fastballs early in the count that are hittable pitches. If you’re going to take fastballs early in the count that are hittable pitches, you cannot swing at breaking balls in the dirt. That’s all I can say about that. We have to have more plate discipline.”

On the positive side of that, Franco and Rupp both walked three times, and Franco’s two-out walk in the eighth became the biggest run of the game on a night when Jeremy Hellickson and his status with the Phillies was the biggest storyline.

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Marlins 0

Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Marlins 0

BOX SCORE

MIAMI — Jeremy Hellickson continued to enhance his trade value and Tommy Joseph had the big hit in the Phillies’ 4-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.

Hellickson shut down the Marlins for the second time in a week. The next time he pitches, it could be for them. The Marlins are one of the teams interested in the veteran right-hander. Scouts from several other contending teams were in attendance for Hellickson’s strong outing.

Joseph’s two-out double in the top of the eighth broke a scoreless tie.

Phillies pitching held the Marlins to two hits. The Phils have 11 shutouts this season.

Starting pitching report
Hellickson pitched six scoreless innings and gave up just a hit and a walk while striking out one. He exited for a pinch-hitter after just 70 pitches. The right-hander has pitched 14 innings and allowed just one run in his last two starts, both against the Marlins. He has lowered his season ERA to 3.65.

Miami’s Jarred Cosart came up from Triple A and pitched five scoreless innings. However, he threw 92 pitches. He allowed three hits, a walk and struck out one.

Bullpen report 
Trade candidate David Hernandez pitched a strong seventh inning for the Phils, picking up the win. Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez closed it out.

Miami right-hander Kyle Barraclough came up big in the top of the seventh inning. He struck out Cody Asche, Peter Bourjos and pinch-hitter Ryan Howard with runners on second and third to preserve a 0-0 tie.

Marlins right-hander Fernando Rodney struck out the first two batters in the eighth then gave up a four-pitch walk to Maikel Franco before Joseph’s two-out double delivered the game’s first run.

Rodney took the loss.

A.J. Ramos was charged with three runs in the ninth, two unearned.

At the plate
The Phillies survived 13 strikeouts, a 1-for-9 performance with runners in scoring position and 11 men left on base to score the win.

The Phils had just six hits. Joseph had a pair of them and now has 25 RBIs in 54 games.

Cesar Hernandez gave the Phils some cushion with an RBI single in the top of the ninth. Miami’s defense fell apart after that and the Phils scored two more runs to put the game away.

Asche had a hit to break an 0-for-26 skid. Bourjos is 0 for his last 17.

Trade talk
Andres Blanco is out for six weeks so he’s no longer a trade candidate, but others are (see story).

Up next
Jerad Eickhoff (6-11, 3.98) pitches against Miami right-hander Tom Koehler (7-8, 4.42) on Tuesday night. Koehler pitched eight innings of two-run ball in beating the Phillies last week at Citizens Bank Park.