Eagles Wake-Up Call: 5 Players With the Most To Lose

Nick FolesLet’s face it, there are a ton of guys on this roster that will be fighting for something on Thursday night. New coach, new schemes, no favorites. Depth chart written in sand, etc. That’s part of what makes this Eagles preseason so interesting.

Some have more riding on tonight’s tilt against the Panthers than others. Here are the five with the most to gain/lose, in one man’s humble opinion:

Nick Foles

Both quarterbacks played well against the Patriots, though you would have to give Round 1 to Michael Vick. Foles will start against Carolina and has the opportunity to turn the heat up in this quarterback competition.

Chip Kelly will not rush his decision, but there is an advantage to having a starting quarterback named prior to the third preseason game. That is the dress rehearsal; it can only benefit the first unit if the leader is in place for it.

If Vick outshines Foles against the Panthers, there is a chance that Kelly makes up his mind sooner rather than later.

Clay Harbor

The first three tight end slots are spoken for. If Kelly chooses to only keep three, Harbor doesn’t have a real chance of beating out Brent Celek, James Casey or Zach Ertz. Fortunately for the former fourth-round pick, the new head coach is tight-end centric. That means Harbor still has a shot to make it. But it’s no lock. The Missouri State grad had three grabs for 47 yards against the Pats. Another showing like that, and he may convince Kelly to carry four tight ends. (And no, I don’t think he makes it as a receiver.)

Russell Shepard

Shepard, aka Sheil’s camp crush, had a real strong start to the summer. He has cooled of late. Meanwhile, Greg Salas has really come on. He led the Eagles with three catches for 54 yards and a touchdown against New England and has had a strong showing on the NovaCare practice fields as well. Right now DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and Damaris Johnson are the top four receivers. If the Eagles decide to keep six , Shepard and Salas can both make it. If they go with five, they need to choose one, and Salas appears to be ahead.

Clifton Geathers

The 6-8, 340-pound d-lineman seems to have the coaching staff intrigued, but intrigue will only take you so far. With the likes of Bennie Logan, Damion Square and Vinny Curry coming on strong, defensive line spots will be at a premium. Geathers needs to prove he belongs.

Earl Wolff

The rookie safety ran with ones some this week. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis would not be opposed if Wolff rose up and snatched one of the starting safety jobs. This is his chance to prove that he deserves legitimate consideration.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Vick, through the eyes of his brother Marcus.

Kapadia, after a thorough defeat last year, attempts to predict the 53-man roster.

Kelly is expecting Jason Kelce to lead the offensive line.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Kent Babb of the Washington Post wonders how successful Kelly’s up-tempo approach will be without an elite QB.

It was successful in New England, which had 92 offensive snaps in a December 2012 game, because Tom Brady is the league’s best quarterback. Without an elite passer, can Kelly lead a proper revolution?

When the league watches, deciding whether to copy the trend, coaches and executives will look first at the quarterbacks. After all, this is what these innovations are meant for: A way into the postseason for teams without one of the NFL’s best dozen passers. Kelly has a quarterback problem — Vick is 33 and injury prone, Nick Foles lacks mobility, and Matt Barkley is a rookie — so the spotlight will be on how teachable his offense can be.

The Eagles  are the seventh most valuable team in the NFL at $1.3 billion, according to Forbes. The top 6? Cowboys (2.3), Patriots (1.8), Redskins (1.7), Giants (1.55), Texans (1.45) and the Jets (1.38).

The NFL’s 32 teams are worth, on average, $1.17 billion, 5% more than last year. The Cleveland Browns, a lousy team for years in a midsize market, sold for almost $1 billion last year.

In contrast, the world’s top 20 soccer teams have a mean value of $968 million. The average worth of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams is $744 million. And average values for the National Basketball Association and National Hockey League, also each with 30 teams, are $509 million and $282 million, respectively.

COMING UP

Game day. Eagles-Panthers, 7:30 from the Linc. We’ll get you ready.

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  • Media Mike

    Kent Babb is a fvck-tard. He mentions Brady running Kelly’s system, but then says Foles can’t run it because he isn’t mobile enough. When did Tom Brady become Carl Lewis?

    • Andy124

      Totally, except that’s not actually what he said.

      • Media Mike

        He mentions Brady running the system, then goes on to say one of Kelly’s QB “problems” is a lack of mobility on the part of Foles. How is that “not actually what he said?”

        • Andy124

          Because his paragraph is poorly constructed and more or less incoherent. He’s not really saying anything.

          First he says Kelly lacks an elite passer. Ok, so far so good.

          Then he declares that these inovations are for getting teams that lack one of the top 12 qb’s in to the playoffs. Sounds reasonable enough.

          Then out of the blue, he states that Kelly has a qb “problem”, and lists some common knocks on each of the guys. In the context of his previous statements, this is meaningless. In fact, he already stated that Kelly lacks an elite passer, so he’s really just repeating himself without stating any kind of conclusion.

          He never states that Foles’s footspeed will stop him from running this offense. He merely stated that Foles is slow. You drew the conclusion you expected because it’s one you’re so used to fighting against. Hell, that might even be what the guy was trying to say. But if that was his intent, he failed miserably.

    • GEagle

      Not to mention I think Foles runs circles around immobile Brady? I can’t see Brady playing shooting guard lol

  • THROW UP IN THE HUDDLE

    Why not trade Trent cole and b done with it … He has digressed the past two seasons … It’s time to cut the cord … Get a player or get some draft picks… Don’t cut a young guy with potential for a old guy that can’t get to QB no more … Now they want him to drop into coverage …SMH

  • ReggieKush

    So many Vick haters… geesh Vick is ELITE, as bout Elite as you can get on the football field. He’s a human highlight reel. Once Vick blew out washington back in 2010 the NFL was like “GET THE EAGLES ON PRIMETIME” now we all know what happen but to say Vick isn’t elite means Kent Babb probably never even put on shoulder pads. We need more writers with Football Experience not just IQ.

    • BirdGang

      Sorry man Vick is one of my favorite players but to say he is elite is a joke. The only elite QB’s are Rodgers, P Manning, Brees, Brady. That is it. People toss the word elite around like a football. Vick is a good qb but def not elite.

    • Mr. Wu

      You all know I am a Vick guy but he is not an elite qb….. I mean cmon. He is however an elite football player and anyone that denies that doesn’t know football. When every single team you face game plans for you like you are the most dangerous man on the field you are in a league of your own.

      • #7

        Exactly what I said yet I get hammered for it lol.

        • aub32

          He phrased it better lol.

      • Adam

        Why wouldn’t you game plan against Vick? It’s not even a difficult game plan. Send an extra blitzer, and collect your turnovers and sacks.

        • #7

          Adam. When you eat your words this year, you be sure and tell me how they taste

          • Adam

            Stop getting so hurt when someone criticizes Vick. Vick has always struggled when a team sends an more than 4 at him. This is not deniable.

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          If it were that simple our divisional rivals would be eating our lunch…oh wait…

          • aub32

            three likes from me

          • Adam

            When was the last time Vick played an NFC East team? Week 17 vs the Giants? Who ate whose lunch? First drive of the game the Giants sent 6 and Vick throws a pick. He’s one of the worst in the league against the blitz..This is not news.

          • aub32

            So you point out the only game Vick started and finished with a loss in th division. Great job. It’s like the other 9 times he whooped up on them boys don’t even count.

          • Adam

            Why wouldn’t I judge a 33 year old QB by the most recent game he’s played?

            How about this, how about you show me some numbers that proves what I’m saying is wrong about Vick vs the blitz.

          • aub32

            http://www.phillymag.com/eagles/2012/10/09/mike-check-vick-eagles-beat-the-blitz/

            http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/moving_the_chains/Myth-vs-reality-Vick-against-theh-blitz.html

            Vick isn’t the greatest QB against the blitz, but he isn’t as bad as you imply. By the way Brady is 35 and looked terrible against the Ravens. So should I judge him based on that? Well… that wouldn’t be fair because he was spot on in the preseason game. Damn, but so was Vick. So thanks for talking out of your butt and being wrong on all accounts. Look forward to you trying again after you bring real info to the table instead of ridiculousness.

          • Adam

            Michael Vick isn’t the greatest against the blitz? Understatement of the year. He had the 2nd worst passer rating in the NFL last year against the blitz before he got hurt, only Russell Wilson was worst.

            It’s hilarious you linked an article from 2011 to support Vick against the blitz. The same year he has a 65.5 passer rating and 11 picks against the blitz, near the bottom of the league. Did you watch the Cardinals game that year? They blitz the A gap all day long. Vick was 5 for 21 against the blitz that game and threw 0 TD’s and 2 picks.

            I’m fairly certain you just googled “Vick” and “blitz” and just linked 2 articles that somewhat sounded good on Vick. Fact is that both of those articles says that he’s showing improvements, which means he wasn’t good in the first place.

            It is widely known around the league that Vick has always struggled with making pre-snap reads, calling audibles and assigning hot routes. This is nothing new and I can’t believe I’m actually debating this. Middle of the pack QB’s like Vick are there because they have exploitable weaknesses in their game. Vick’s pre snap awareness has always been an issue and one of the reasons he was never able to make the leap into the upper echelon of QB’s. Luckily for Vick Chip’s offense will basically making the defense show their cards, so if he’s unable to make these reads now then he won’t be the starter for long.

          • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

            Um…he has the best divisional record of any QB in the East over the past 3 years.

            Seriously?

    • GEagle

      That’s right Reggie…we are all just Vick haters. We would all rather not win games then play the elite Mike Vick…The Man, stays trying to keep the Elite Vick down…thanks for your added wisdom

  • JofreyRice

    Does Wolff really have a lot to lose? A 5th round rookie that’s GUARANTEED a roster spot, because of the other trash at safety, promoted to starter b/c of continued horrible play by Allen. The only thing I see him losing is the chance to start for a pro football team from day 1 of his career, which is not a given for a 5th round pick at arguably the most complicated position on defense.

    The dearth of talent in the secondary is going to keep giving Wolff chances to make his mark beyond this game. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman have been proving they stink for yearsnow , and the Eagles probably STILL can’t cut them both.

    • Token

      Id be glad if he started for a couple reasons.

      1. It gives him the entire season to show that hes not very good. Forcing them, I would hope, to properly address the position next offseason. Instead of playing the, “well we expect Wolff to take another step this year with more playing time” card.

      2. Theres the outside chance that he surprises us and becomes a player. We KNOW Allen and Coleman arent NFL players. Why keep beating that dead horse every year. Id rather watch an unknown, let him prove himself one way or the other. Im sure theres been players that look like garbage on their college tape and then blossom into NFL players. Maybe he is one?

    • aub32

      I agree. If anything, he has more to gain than he does to lose.

  • Scott J610

    Hmm…not sure I agree with some of this. Even if they keep Harbor, he’ll rarely see the field, so he’s pretty much irrelevant. And Wolff has nothing to lose because he’s a lock to make the team.

  • Aunt Esther

    Cut Celek and keep the much more versatile Harbor.

    • cliff henny

      celek keeps dropping balls, could be the surprise cut.

      • aub32

        No way Celeck gets cut. He drops passes yes, but he still produces.

        • cliff henny

          his best days are behind him. thought he might get moved pre-draft for a pick. celek showed nothing last year either. like the guy, cant ask for any more effort than he has shown. as i said, would be the surprise cut, but i wouldnt complain. not calling for his head like i am coleman, but he needs to step up.

          • EaglePete

            Im not a celek fan anymore myself but no way he gets cut like above posters said. His blocking comes into play also. That toughness doesnt do much for me, his lack of speed and bad hands negate it imo. Hes still a vet at this point and brings something to the table in all areas so he stays.

          • All In Eagles

            I agree he does need to step up but saying his best days are behind him is a bit of a stretch. No one did anything last year so using that to single him out isn’t reasonable. I may be wrong and his best days are done-zo but time will tell I guess.

      • All In Eagles

        I don’t agree. Celek won’t be cut unless he gets caught slashing CK’s tires in the parking lot. The dude plays too hard and is the white TE version of Marshawn’s Beast Mode. His catch last week, he clobbered that tackler. Also, he’s our best blocker and with every report saying Ertz was horrific at it, he’s not going anywhere.

    • #7

      Celek better catch the ball or be will at least be benched

  • Garrett

    A 6-8, 340lbs Dlineman? That could be quite the plug in the goal-line formation. Gees

  • firstdown

    trade Celek 4 an outside linebacker, corner, or safety……..personally i will flip if Kurt Colemans on the 53…..

  • jay

    Can kendrick move outside and let knott start inside along with ryan is that a better move for the defense

    • firstdown

      could happen after a couple a games, the coaches may get tired of watchin Cole spin in space….

  • MAC

    Has anyone heard anything about K. Phillips and if he is even an option to start or play? I have been traveling for work so I have kept up on news to an extent, but not my usual at this time of year. I saw Phillips in game 1 for a little but have heard very little about him and not sure if that’s bc of injuries or what.

    • EaglePete

      apparently he hasnt looked up to speed so not good signs. He could still be recovering and trying to get back to 100% however. I think we were all hoping for the player of old but so far not looking great but I suppose a small chance it could still pan out.

  • Andy124

    280 comments and counting. Think people are excited about the game tonight? Most interesting pre-season ever?

  • #7

    @TMcManus247:disqus and Shiel. You guys are going to get me fired from my job with this site. i sat here and blogged for 8 hours smh.

    Can’t wait for the game tonight. A preseason game. Unbelievable