Eagles Wake-Up Call: Depth Chart Notes

With kickoff just five days away, the Eagles have released their Week 1 game notes, which come complete with an unofficial depth chart.

Here are some thoughts on various positions.

Running back: It should come as no surprise that Bryce Brown is listed behind LeSean McCoy, and Chris Polk is third. McCoy will get the bulk of the carries when he’s healthy. And while Chip Kelly will find a way to spell him given the tempo, remember, McCoy played more snaps than any other running back in the NFL back in 2011. In other words, he’s capable of handling a heavy workload.

Brown will certainly get his chances, and Polk could be mixed in here and there.

Tight end: Interestingly enough, the first team features 12 personnel, or one running back and two tight ends. Kelly has flat-out said that Brent Celek is the starter. And on the depth chart, he is joined by James Casey. Rookie Zach Ertz is on the second team, along with Emil Igwenagu. The guess here is that snap counts among the tight ends will largely depend on the game-plan each week. But if I had to project playing time from most to least for the season, I’d go Celek, Ertz, Casey. As we’ve mentioned several times, look for a lot of two tight-end sets.

Offensive line: Allen Barbre is listed as the top backup at both guard spots. The truth is, he may be the top backup at every offensive line position except for center. Right now, Dennis Kelly is listed as the backup at right tackle, but it’s unclear when he’ll be fully recovered from back surgery. Undrafted free agent Matt Tobin is listed behind Jason Peters. And Julian Vandervelde is your backup center.

Defensive line: Probably shouldn’t read too much into it, but if this depth chart is any indication, undrafted free agent Damion Square figures to be the seventh D-Linemen and a likely gameday inactive. The first team is Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga and Cedric Thornton. The second team is Vinny Curry, Clifton Geathers and Bennie Logan. All six defensive linemen are expected to rotate. All except for Sopoaga are options as pass-rushers in nickel. Cox figures to play the most snaps out of the group.

Inside linebacker: Underrated concern on this roster: The Eagles could be in trouble should DeMeco Ryans or Mychal Kendricks go down. Casey Matthews, Jake Knott and Najee Goode are the backups. On the depth chart, Matthews is listed behind Ryans and Knott behind Kendricks. Goode is on the third team. Should Ryans or Kendricks suffer an injury, we’ll find out what kind of confidence the team has in Knott, an undrafted free agent.

Safety: Nate Allen is listed as the starter alongside Patrick Chung. Their backups are Earl Wolff and Kurt Coleman, respectively. If Allen struggles, which is entirely possible, Wolff or Coleman could replace him early on. Colt Anderson is listed with the third team.

It’s also worth noting that DeSean Jackson is the No. 1 punt returner, ahead of Damaris Johnson. Johnson is the top kickoff returner, ahead of Brandon Boykin.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Danny Watkins responds to Howie Roseman’s comments, questioning his toughness.

A roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles, including preseason predictions and wide-ranging opinions on Kelly.

T-Mac has the practice squad tracker updated.

Here are 10 Eagles numbers that matter as we look ahead to the opener.

McManus looks at what the Eagles’ roster moves tell us about Kelly.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Good No-22 breakdown of the Eagles’ defense by Derek Sarley:

Lacking pressure from the front four, Davis will turn to the blitz, where he’s already demonstrated a Jim Johnson-esque flair for breaking protection schemes. The last 2 years of “send four and hope for the best” are definitely behind us.

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com offers thoughts on Najee Goode:

There are things to like about Goode. He has a thick, squatty build at 6-0, 245. He is a physical player. He’ll take on blocks. Tampa had him blow up FBs on iso runs. In the preseason finale, Goode broke up one pass (that he probably should have picked off) and then a few plays later made a good pick and returned it for a TD.

I just didn’t see anything special about him. He doesn’t have great instincts. He’s not speedy. He isn’t a great hitter.

COMING UP

Back to NovaCare for practice and the official start of game week. We’ll hear from Kelly this morning.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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