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Kenny Phillips missed 24 regular-season games in five seasons with the Giants. (USA Today Images)
Q. Who do you think will be the starting safeties for Week 1 of the regular season? Is there any chance for Kenny Phillips to be a starter?
A. No player’s status is cloudier than his. Phillips is very much in the running to start, but strangely, he’s also squarely on the roster bubble. There’s no question that, when healthy, Phillips is their most talented and proven safety. Patrick Chung has had a nice camp and is certain to start at one spot. Chung’s a good in-the-box safety who adds to the run defense. Phillips’ strong point is coverage, and he’d be the right complement to Chung if he could just stay healthy.
Everyone knows about Phillips' track record of knee problems. He’s also missed more than a week with a quad strain. The plan is for him to get back on the field this week and play against Jacksonville. If he can make it through the Jacksonville game and stay on the field until the end of the preseason, my gut feeling is that Phillips will make the team and start the opener. But any more injury problems and the team will have to cut ties and go with Nate Allen or the rookie Earl Wolff. That’s why the Eagles signed Phillips to only a one-year deal.
Q. After last week’s preseason game, does [Mike] Vick have a definite leg up in the QB battle?
A. He should. Not that Nick Foles hasn’t performed well, but Vick has done everything that’s been asked of him. He’s made good decisions, thrown with accuracy, secured the ball and, most importantly, not tried to do too much despite competing every single day for the job. In an offense catered to his athleticism, Vick hasn’t tried to force the issue or reprise the “Ultimate Weapon” who once rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season. If it’s a fair fight, as Chip Kelly has promised that it would be, then Vick has the leg up on Foles and should claim victory with one more impressive performance against Jacksonville.
Q. Does Billy Davis' 3-4 best utilize skill sets of personnel? Does it hurt Fletcher Cox's ability to contribute?
-@NFLDraftBites (from Twitter)
A. First off, Davis has never said he’d play a pure 3-4 and has insisted that the defense is just moving away from the 4-3 wide-nine look toward a 3-4 front. Davis has made it clear that the team might not get to its final destination this year, which is why we’ve seen multiple looks from the defense throughout the preseason. One point the coaches often make is that they intend to put players in the best position to succeed. If that means rushing Trent Cole with his hand in the dirt, they’ll do it that way. If it means Cox plays more one-gap than two-gap, they’re willing to do that, too. Right now, they’re still in fact-finding mode, so it’s still too early to say exactly what the Eagles’ defense will look like Sept. 9 against the Redskins. But I would expect Cox’s talent to be maximized in whatever scheme they play.