What’s Left From the McNabb And Kolb Trades?

As recently as last offseason, it looked like the assets acquired in the Donovan McNabb and Kevin Kolb trades would play a major role in re-shaping the Eagles’ defense.

But looking ahead to 2013, that probably won’t end up being the case.

It was three years ago on Easter Sunday that the Birds shipped McNabb to the Redskins in exchange for a second-round pick in 2010, along with a conditional third- or fourth-rounder in 2011.

With the second-round pick (37th overall), the Eagles selected safety Nate Allen, who has been a disappointment in his first three seasons. At the end of last year, Allen was benched in favor of Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. The Eagles added Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips in the offseason. And they very well could draft a safety later this month, meaning Allen will be competing for a roster spot.

The other pick from the McNabb trade ended up being a fourth-rounder (No. 104 overall) in 2011. But the Eagles traded that selection to the Bucs (who took tight end Luke Stocker). In exchange, the Birds moved down 12 spots and selected linebacker Casey Matthews. They also received a fourth-round draft choice in 2012 from Tampa.

The Eagles started Matthews at middle linebacker as a rookie, moved him to SAM, benched him and then got him back into the rotation at the end of the year. In 2012, he was a complete non-factor on defense, playing 45 total snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Matthews did have 14 special-teams tackles (second on the team). He too will be fighting for a roster spot.

As for the 2012 fourth-rounder from Tampa, the Eagles used that pick as part of the package to land DeMeco Ryans. The two teams also swapped third-round picks (Nos. 76 and 88).

So overall, the Eagles used compensation from the McNabb trade for Allen, Matthews and to a large degree, Ryans.

Kolb, meanwhile, recently signed a two-year, $13 million deal with the Bills, his third team in four seasons. When the Eagles dealt him to the Cardinals, they got cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in return. Rodgers-Cromartie is gone after two disappointing seasons, having signed with the Broncos as a free agent.

The Eagles ended up trading the second-round pick from the Kolb deal, moving down eight spots and selecting Vinny Curry. They also got a fourth-rounder from the Packers and took Brandon Boykin. Curry barely played in 2012 (89 snaps), and the Eagles will have to figure out where he fits in Billy Davis’ new defense.

Boykin looks like he’ll be a solid option as a nickel corner, and there’s a chance he could get a shot to play outside.

So overall for Kolb, they landed Rodgers-Cromartie, Curry and Boykin.

The question now is: Which of the players the Eagles landed for the two QBs figure into the team’s plans going forward?

As we mentioned above, Allen and Matthews will be fighting for roster spots. Curry is an unknown, given his limited action as a rookie and scheme fit. Ryans is a key piece, who played really well in 2012. And Boykin figures to be a solid contributor as well.

In other words, the Eagles basically got two starters on defense (when you consider how much they play nickel) for the two quarterbacks.

No one would argue that the Birds got the short end of either of the two trades – especially when you consider that McNabb threw 18 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his post-Eagles career, while Kolb started just 14 games for the Cardinals.

We won’t know the true results from the deals until we see if Curry, Allen and Matthews can contribute in the coming seasons. But clearly, Andy Reid, Howie Roseman and company could have done more with the compensation the team received in return.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Coaching Buzz: Eagles To Interview Nolan, Armstrong

The Eagles apparently like what they’ve seen from the 13-3 Falcons this season.

Birds 24/7 has confirmed  that the team has asked for permission to interview Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Nolan is looking for a second head-coaching opportunity. The 49ers were 18-37 in three-plus seasons under his direction from 2005 to 2008. Nolan has served as a defensive coordinator for seven different teams: the Falcons (2012); Dolphins (2010-2011); Broncos (2009); Ravens (2002-2004); Jets (2000); Redskins (1997-1999); and Giants (1993-1996).

The Falcons are fifth in scoring defense, allowing 18.7 points per game, and rank 11th in Football Outsiders’ defensive rankings.

Nolan was 35 when he first became a defensive coordinator and is now 53.

Armstrong, 47, has been the Falcons’ special-teams coach for the past five seasons. His units have produced up-and-down results, per Football Outsiders’ rankings: seventh in 2008, 22nd in 2009, third in 2010; 22nd in 2011; and 16th in 2012.

Prior to joining the Falcons’ staff, Armstrong served as special-teams coach of the Dolphins from 2001 to 2006 and Chicago’s special teams coach from 1997 to 2000. Armstrong was Atlanta’s secondary coach in 1996 and the Falcons’ safeties coach in 1994 and 1995. He played his college ball at Temple from 1983 to 1986 and served as a graduate assistant with the Owls in 1987. He’s originally from Levittown.

The Rooney Rule stipulates that teams must interview at least one minority candidate. Armstrong would qualify.

Because the Falcons are in the playoffs, Eagles brass are scheduled to travel to Atlanta to interview all three candidates on Wednesday, according to the report.


Andy Reid will be one of three candidates to interview with the Cardinals, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

Reid has remained committed to coaching somewhere in 2013. The Arizona gig would reunite him with Kevin Kolb, the quarterback he selected in the second round of the 2007 draft. The Cardinals have an elite wide receiver in Larry Fitzgerald and several talented pieces on defense like linebacker Daryl Washington, defensive lineman Calais Campbell and cornerback Patrick Peterson.

The other two candidates interviewing for the job are current Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton and Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy.

* It looks like we might have to pump the brakes on the Jon Gruden rumors:

Pompei, a columnist for the National Football Post and Chicago Tribune reported Sunday that Gruden was looking to return, suggesting the Eagles could be a likely landing spot. Either Gruden didn’t receive any offers he liked, or this flip-flopping will continue. Not ready to rule anything out yet.

* The Chip Kelly/Eagles buzz continues.

Jay Gruden cannot interview with teams this week since the Bengals take on the Texans on Saturday.

* And finally, Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is staying put.

As always, catch all the latest coaching buzz in our special section.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Lessons From Kevin Kolb

DeMeco Ryans insisted after the game that the Eagles were not flat against Arizona; they were simply unable to generate a high.

“It was a matter of, they had the momentum and we never really switched that momentum, and that’s something we’ve been doing in the past,” said Ryans. “We would make a play, make a turnover to combat that momentum and it didn’t happen today. That was the difference.”

Ryans went onto say that Kevin Kolb didn’t do anything special in the 27-6 Cardinals win over the Eagles. And he’s either dead right or dead wrong depending on your definition.

If by special you mean dazzling, then no. We don’t have a complete grasp of what Kolb’s ceiling is yet, but it’s safe to say he’ll bump his head before getting to dazzling on a routine basis. Quick drops, short throws, hitting receivers in stride. That seems to be where he should live.

There is something to be said for the final product, however: 71 percent completion rate, 222 yards, two touchdowns, no turnovers. A 127.4 quarterback rating,  which just so happens to be almost exactly double of Vick’s on Sunday.

Kolb has zero interceptions through three games. That is particularly striking when gazing at it through our green prism. Turnovers are an epidemic in Philadelphia right now, and that goose egg is looked upon with envy.

“That’s the thing that we’ve harped on a lot. I’ve harped on a lot,” said Kolb. “You know with our defense and our style of play, not turning the ball over, not turning the ball over is a big key. It’s okay to punt. We don’t like it, it’s never been in my game, but to have that kind of mentality, sometimes it is okay especially when your defense is playing that good.”

Nothing spectacular, but spectacular team results through three games. And a mindset that the Eagles might be wise to adapt in the coming weeks.


Sheil breaks down each of the 19 hits(!) that Vick endured on Sunday.

On Monday, Andy Reid gave a less-than-ringing endorsement when it comes to Vick moving forward.

DeSean Jackson was involved in two questionable plays against the Cardinals. Reid grabbed his back.

Kapadia takes another look at the game and breaks down the play of the offensive line.

LeSean McCoy can only shake his head at his lack of involvement in the game plan.

Meanwhile, Brandon Graham‘s involvement jumps up.


 Adam Schefter weighs in on Reid’s comments about  his QB situation.

“Clearly, he is not shutting the door on the idea that he could make a switch at some point to Nick Foles, who was very impressive in the preseason.”

Dan Graziano takes a strong stance on Reid and the Eagles after their lackluster performance in the desert.

Accountability is very important, and Reid’s philosophy in this area is a big part of the success he’s had in Philadelphia and the strong positive feelings his players have for him. But while accountability is a key aspect of leadership, it is not the only one. And the Eagles’ loss to the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday was a widespread failure of the team’s leaders — specifically Reid, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and quarterback Michael Vick — to lead before the fact as opposed to taking responsibility after.


An off day for the Eagles to lick their wounds before beginning preparation for the big Sunday night showdown against the Giants.




Twitter Mailbag: Does Kolb Have the Inside Scoop On Eagles?

Every Thursday we select a few of your Twitter questions and provide the long-form answers they deserve. For a chance to have your question published on Birds 24/7, send it to @Tim_McManus.

Jason Kelce (6-3, 295) is a little lighter than Dallas Reynolds (6-4, 320), though both are athletic and of a similar body-type. Kelce  is exceptional at getting upfield in the run game. Reynolds will be hard-pressed to match his effectiveness at the second level.

My greater concern is how he handles his first start on the road. Kelce and Michael Vick were having their share of communication issues in Cleveland on a day where the quarterback took an absolute beating. Reynolds will be sharing pre-snap duties at the line like Kelce was, and you would think there will be a learning curve. Consider also that the Eagles will be working with a different left tackle in Demetress Bell. Evan Mathis will have a new teammate on either side of him. He was asked if it changes his approach at all.

“A little bit,” said Mathis. “I’ll focus a little more on communication to make sure we’re on the same page.”

Mathis added that the offensive line will  not alter what it does in the absence of Kelce and King Dunlap. They will try and do the same things. The University of Phoenix Stadium  roof will be closed, and it will be loud.  This Cardinals defense is proving to be formidable. Communication along the Eagles offensive front has to be the main concern going into Sunday.

That’s debatable. For a refresher, here’s what Kevin Kolb said after the Cards beat the Eagles 21-17 last November.

“During the two-minute drill, you almost feel guilty,” Kolb said.  “Mike’s sitting there giving the signals, and I’m standing there on our sidelines, screaming at our corners, ‘Hey it’s a go ball, hey he’s running a screen, hey he’s running a slant.’”

And here was Marty Mornhinweg‘s response: “That’s a story you can always anticipate, an ex-player that’s on another ballclub and who’s injured and wants so badly to be a part of a win. In the two-minute (offense) we only called two plays on the line. Completed the third down and then dropped a big one.

“I did check and it had absolutely no effect.”

I tend to side with Mornhinweg here. Kolb was likely burning to be a part of the win over his old club, but had minimal impact on the outcome. I would say Vick’s broken ribs and DeSean Jackson‘s absence may have had a little more to do with it.

You can count on this: the Eagles will make sure, following Kolb’s assertions, that  the signals are not identifiable to their former QB anymore, just in case.

Exactly right.

The early evidence suggests the former.

Brandon Weeden had a 5.1 quarterback rating against the Eagles and rookie Trent Richardson was limited to 2.1 yards per carry. Against the Bengals last week, the Browns racked up 439 total yards, Weeden threw for 322 yards with a pair of touchdowns (114.9 QB rating) and Richardson rushed for 109 yards (5.7 average) with a TD.

Similarly, a Ravens offense that hung 37 points and 430 yards on Cincinnati in Week 1  looked far more pedestrian against Juan Castillo‘s unit. Now, maybe the Bengals’ defense is just that bad. But both the stats and the eye test suggests that the Eagles’ “D” is pretty darn good.

Kevin Kolb Addresses Philly Media

Kevin Kolb sees the irony of his current situation. He once lost his starting job because of injury, and now the role has reversed in Arizona. He told the Philadelphia media Wednesday that those experiences with the Eagles have had a hand in his early success this season.

“It helped me a lot when they named John [Skelton] the starter in the beginning,” said Kolb. “I told myself, ‘Hey, don’t sulk. Don’t feel sorry for yourself. It can happen in a hurry.’ It happened three weeks after Vick took over in Philly, and of course the first game here. It helped my approach to make sure I was mentally ready for an opportunity.”

This Sunday’s game in Arizona is richer than anticipated when it comes to storylines. Kolb not only took over as the Cardinals starter but is playing fairly well and for a winning team. There are only four 2-0 teams in the conference, and the Eagles and Cardinals are two of them.

The former second-round pick out of Houston gets to face his old team in a meaningful game, going up against the man who took his job.

“I’ve tried to prepare myself a little bit to make sure I’m not too excited, too hyped,” said Kolb, “because obviously as a QB you have to be settled in. But I don’t know, I’ve never played a team that I’ve played for before. Obviously I have a lot of respect for those guys, coaching staff and players, and think very highly of them.”

Kolb acknowledged that his “career has been wild,” and is out of the prediction business because of it. He said he also hasn’t thought about the Clay Matthews hit and the chain-reaction of events that unfolded as a result since he left the Eagles. His time in the NFL has taught him to focus on the here and now.

He did let himself to dream a little bit about the future, though, when asked about the fact that the Cardinals are flying under the radar.

“Hopefully we keep racking up the wins and come January be in the playoffs, fly all the way underneath the radar and win the Super Bowl,” said Kolb. “That’s the plan.”



Eagles Wake-Up Call: The Two Kolb What-Ifs

Let’s take a trip down memory lane today, shall we?

Before Sunday, the last time the Eagles faced the Ravens was on Nov. 23, 2008.

The game is less remembered for its result – a 36-7 Baltimore victory – than what happened when Andy Reid’s offense took the field in the second half.

Donovan McNabb was in his 10th season with the Eagles, ninth as a full-time starter. From the moment he took over as a rookie until that day at M&T Bank Stadium, he had never been pulled because of performance. But with the Eagles trailing 10-7 at halftime and McNabb struggling (8-for-18 for 59 yards and a pair of interceptions), Reid decided to go with Kevin Kolb.

The second-year quarterback went 10-for-23 for 73 yards and a pair of interceptions. In the fourth quarter, at one point, it looked like he was getting into a rhythm. Kolb completed five straight passes for 53 yards, driving the Eagles to the Ravens’ 1. A touchdown would have made it a one-possession game with just under eight minutes left. But Kolb’s pass was picked off in the end zone by Ed Reed, who returned it 108 yards for the touchdown.

You know the rest of the story. McNabb returned the following week. The Eagles won four of their next five, snuck into the playoffs and advanced to the NFC Championship game before falling to the Cardinals. Their win in the divisional round against the Giants marks the franchise’s last playoff victory.

But what if Kolb lit the Ravens up in the second half? What if he led the Eagles to a comeback victory? Reid would have had to hand him the keys, right? Would the team have still made the playoffs? Would McNabb have ever played a snap with the Eagles again?

We’ll never know. McNabb returned the following season, and the team went 11-5, before suffering a first-round loss in the playoffs to the Cowboys. He was dealt to the Redskins in the offseason.

The second what-if scenario takes us to the opener in 2010: What if Kolb didn’t suffer a concussion against the Packers? Would he still be this team’s quarterback? He had been groomed all offseason to be the starter after patiently waiting for three seasons. Maybe it was only a matter of time until Michael Vick took over, given how Kolb’s fallen short of expectations in Arizona. Vick replaced him in that game and never relinquished the starting job.

We all know the rest.

The roles are reversed this year for Kolb. John Skelton began the season as the starter, but got injured in Week 1. Kolb replaced him, and the Cardinals are 2-0. The numbers aren’t eye-popping: 21-for-35 for 206 yards and two touchdowns. But Kolb hasn’t turned it over, and Arizona’s relied on its defense in victories over the Seahawks and Patriots.

Now, he’ll get a chance to hand the team that drafted him back in 2007 its first loss of the season.


A source confirms to T-Mac that the Eagles will sign veteran center Steve Vallos today.

In my offensive line game review, I looked at how Demetress Bell and Dallas Reynolds performed in backup duty Sunday.

Reynolds will take over Jason Kelce’s pre-snap duties, Tim reports.

Kelce, meanwhile, could return at some point this season, head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder explained Monday. It all depends on whether he has ACL surgery or not.

Ravens players Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis unloaded on the replacement officials.

A look at the Eagles’ snap counts. It’s fair to say DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks are three-down linebackers.

And finally, how film study helped Kendricks seal the Birds’ victory.


Big injury news out of D.C. The Redskins have lost outside linebacker Brian Orakpo and defensive end Adam Carriker for the season. Orakpo had 28.5 sacks the previous three seasons.

“Obviously he’s a guy that can do it all,” Mike Shanahan told reporters. “He can cover. He can rush. He can play the run. He’s a very physical, very smart, team player. He’s all the things you look [for] in a Pro Bowl player. And obviously we’ll miss him.”

In Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column, Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus offered this assessment of Vick:

Vick continues to be a man who has no regard for his body and he did whatever it took to win; hanging in until the last second to make throws, or diving head-first for first downs, for example. As much as we say the Eagles have to change him, it’s obvious Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg aren’t going to be able to. But his game-winning drive, 80 yards in 10 plays, was a thing of brilliance. He didn’t make a bad throw and had to convert only two third downs.

King has the Eagles sixth in his Fine Fifteen.


No practice for the Eagles today, but we’ll have plenty of content, including a series of game reviews.

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

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Graham Hungry For More

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Brandon GrahamHere are the number of snaps each Eagles defensive end received in Week 1 against the Browns:

Trent Cole: 42
Jason Babin: 41
Darryl Tapp: 20
Phillip Hunt: 15
Brandon Graham: 4

Four.  That’s not a lot to work with for the former first-round pick, who has fought back from microfracture knee surgery and a torn ACL to try and get back in the mix. But Graham says he’s thankful for every morsel he’s fed.

“I got me a tackle and I almost got a sack. That was cool,” said Graham. “You want to play more because you know how hard you worked, you went through camp and all that other stuff. I know that they’ve got a plan for me and I know I wouldn’t be here if they didn’t.”

Part of that plan might be to keep Graham hungry. Motivated to prove that he is not a bust and that he can overcome this injury to have a successful career, the Michigan product has been going hard every day to claim his place in this league. There is logic in trying to keep that edge sharp.

The other part, of course, it that this defensive end rotation is plenty deep and it’s hard to argue that the men above him haven’t earned  their snaps.  So Graham just continues to plug, and is trying to keep a positive attitude about it.

“Hopefully four turns to eight, eight turn to 16,” Graham said with a laugh.

“I’m going to be ready when that time comes. When they call me out there, just watch out for 54.”


The Eagles are iffy at wide receiver heading into this one. Both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were limited participants during Friday’s practice and are officially listed as questionable.

Sheil has your cheat sheets ready for Sunday, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. (He is just having way too much fun with the All-22 tape.)

A look at how Juan Castillo is coming along in Year Two. His players are seeing some key differences.


John Clayton talks Michael Vick vs. Ravens “D” in his First and 10 column.

Without linebacker Terrell Suggs, the Ravens know they are challenged to produce a pass rush. The surprising part of Vick’s difficulties was throwing four interceptions when the Browns rushed four or fewer defenders. He was 22-of-40 for 172 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information, against the four-man rush. Vick needs to be more conventional against conventional rushes.

As Kevin Kolb looks to recapture the starting job in Arizona, he credits his time with the Eagles for helping him in tough times.

“Having gone through the same thing with Philly two years ago, that whole experience really helped me,” he said. “I didn’t expect to lose my job after only four starts with the Eagles. It was frustrating but I learned to stay positive and trust in the Lord. I didn’t sulk during the week. I tried to stay right and had a good week of practice. I figured I would get another chance. I just didn’t expect it to happen this quickly.”

This story line is of particular interest right now, seeing as the Eagles face the Cardinals in Week 3.

Jason Babin got fined over $15,ooo for getting rough with Brandon Weeden.


The Eagles will hold a mock game at 11 a.m. in their last piece of preparation for Sunday’s game against the Ravens.

Kolb Fires Back At Kelly; Vick, Celek Weigh In

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael VickKevin Kolb‘s rocky start  in Arizona has not gone unnoticed by his former teammates.

“I’m going to call him tonight. That’s my boy,” said Michael Vick Saturday. “From what I hear, he needs some protection. Other than that I really don’t know. [I’m going to reach out]  just to encourage him more than anything.”

Kolb was sacked three times — once in the end zone for a safety — and went 3-of-6 for 22 yards against the Raiders Friday night. He is now 5-for-15 for 47 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in the preseason, and finds himself in a battle with John Skelton for the starting job.

“He is skittish. He is scared back there,” said Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, per the Associated Press. “Anytime anybody gets close to him, he starts looking at the refs. As a defensive lineman you love a quarterback like that. He ain’t even trying to look at the routes no more. He is paying attention to us and you ain’t going to get nothing done like that.”

Kolb fired back at Kelly on Saturday.

“Scared? Scared of what?” Kolb said, according to the team’s website. “Taking a hit? I have never been afraid of anyone on the field and that will never change. That includes Number 93 (Kelly). There’s a fine line between holding in the pocket and trying to escape to make a play. Tommy Kelly is too clueless to know the difference. I don’t mind people criticizing my play. Don’t ever question my toughness.”

The former Eagles signal-caller is reportedly playing behind a wobbly offensive line. The situation may have just worsened, as left tackle Levi Brown might be lost for the year with a torn triceps.

“I feel bad for him,” said Brent Celek, who was tight with Kolb when they played together. “The guy’s a good player. Just from what I’m hearing things aren’t working out so well. But it’s still the preseason. He’s just got to keep his head down and keep grinding and keep going. I still think he’s a great quarterback. Doesn’t change my mind.”


Opponent On Kolb: ‘He Is Scared Back There’

It’s hard to imagine things getting much worse for Kevin Kolb.

The former Eagles second-round pick didn’t do much last night to make his case for being the Cardinals’ starting quarterback, going 3-for-6 for 22 yards. Kolb completed his first three passes as Arizona scored on its opening possession, but then things went downhill. He was sacked three times, including once in the end zone, for a safety. The offensive line deserves criticism too, but Kolb is now 5-for-15 for 47 yards, no touchdowns and an interception in the preseason.

To make matters worse, Kolb’s opponents are now ripping him. According to reports, Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly came off the field last night saying, “That boy’s scared.” Kelly didn’t back down when asked about Kolb after the game.

“He is skittish. He is scared back there,” Kelly said, per the Associated Press. “Anytime anybody gets close to him, he starts looking at the refs. As a defensive lineman you love a quarterback like that. He ain’t even trying to look at the routes no more. He is paying attention to us and you ain’t going to get nothing done like that.”

Analysts will often talk about quarterbacks’ eye level – the need to stay focused on what’s happening downfield, rather than what’s happening at the line of scrimmage. Kelly seems to be pointing that out as a major issue for Kolb.

John Skelton, meanwhile, played just one series, going 3-for-3 for 23 yards and a touchdown.

Writes Kent Somers, beat writer for The Arizona Republic:

Arguments can be made for and against both quarterbacks. But there is no doubt the Cardinals have played better with Skelton leading them.

At this point, all signs point to Kolb opening the season on the bench for the first time since 2009.

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

Eagles Wake-Up Call: What’s the No. 1 Concern?

Philadelphia Eagles offensive line coach Howard MuddBefore training camp started, my No. 1 concern for the Eagles was simple: Would the team’s plan at backup quarterback be good enough?

But the truth is, we won’t know the answer to that question unless (until?) Michael Vick gets injured and Mike Kafka (or perhaps Nick Foles) has to enter a regular-season game.

Now that camp’s over, though, a new concern has emerged: Will Demetress Bell be ready to go in Week 1 vs. the Browns?

On one of the first days of training camp, I asked Howard Mudd if he anticipated the Eagles having to give Bell blocking help in the form of a tight end or running back this season.

“I think that we’re not going to have to do that,” he said. “That’s the plan. That’s why we brought him here. We studied him, we liked him, we thought he had the characteristics that we could use with our techniques here, that he would really buy into those and embrace them, and it would help him.”

Three weeks later, and Bell is behind King Dunlap on the depth chart.

The guess here is that Mudd still wants Bell to win the job and is trying to light a fire under him. But it’s a situation to monitor closely going forward.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, there are concerns all over the place. Can DeMeco Ryans be an effective, three-down player? Can the Eagles eliminate the confusion in the secondary that hurt them on pretty much a weekly basis last season? Can Juan Castillo game-plan against quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Eli Manning?

The rest of the preseason will offer hints that will help us answer those questions.

But the real answers won’t arrive until the regular season, which is more than three weeks away.


Tim took a look at the struggles of Jaiquawn Jarrett through the eyes of veteran Oshiomogho Atogwe.

The Eagles released their new depth chart for the Patriots game. Here are some notes.

Five numbers that matter, including a look at just how bad the Eagles’ tackling was last year.

Highlights from Andy Reid’s media session, including the coach’s plan for the Patriots game.

And finally, Vegas likes Vick. DeSean Jackson? Not so much.


Things are not getting any better for Kevin Kolb. John Skelton is emerging as the favorite to win the Cardinals’ starting job, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic takes a look at the QB situation:

So let’s examine the possible motivation for someone leaking that news to Schefter.

First, there might be no motivation; it might simply be the truth. Based on two preseason games, Skelton might have a slight edge.

Second, maybe the motivation is to motivate Kolb. He’s starting Friday against the Raiders, and perhaps someone in the organization wants to see how Kolb responds. Will this match ignite a flame, or just flame out?

The Eagles put in a waiver claim for defensive tackle Ronnie Cameron, according to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com. Cameron (6-2, 305) was cut by the Bears and awarded to the Browns. An undrafted free agent, he played his college ball at Old Dominion.


The Eagles are off today. They’ll return to the Novacare Complex for practice on Thursday. But don’t worry, we’ll have plenty of content on Birds 24/7, including training camp winners and losers and T-Mac’s latest 53-man roster projection.

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

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