Almost all of the Eagles’ starting positions are locked up even though this team finished just 8-8 last season.
These exhibitions might not mean much to Michael Vick, but they mean everything to a half-dozen players on the bubble.
Stock rising: WR Damaris Johnson -- he’s made an impact as a receiver and a returner; TE Clay Harbor -- he’s finally doing consistently what he used to do occasionally; DE Phillip Hunt -- he might not make the Eagles’ roster, but he’ll be on somebody’s team.
Stock falling: LT Demetress Bell -- after terrible game vs. Steelers he got benched and now has to win job back; S Jaiquawn Jarrett -- last year’s second-round pick still looks lost; QB Mike Kafka -- after shaky preseason game vs. Steelers and broken hand that will keep him out for 2-3 weeks, Eagles might be wondering if he can be their No. 2 QB.
QB – In: (3) Michael Vick, Mike Kafka, Nick Foles. Out: Trent Edwards. Analysis: There’s a chance one of the QBs on the final “in’’ list isn’t even on the roster right now. The jury is still out on Kafka as No. 2 and the Eagles could add a veteran before the season opens since Edwards is the only QB other than Vick with any real NFL experience and he probably won’t make the team.
RB – In: (3) LeSean McCoy, Dion Lewis, Bryce Brown. Out: Chris Polk. Analysis: Lewis was having a strong camp until he pulled a hamstring last week, but he showed enough to give the coaches confidence he can be McCoy’s back-up and they don’t need to add a veteran. Brown has played well enough in camp to earn a roster spot, plus he’s a draft pick. Polk, who wasn’t drafted, has flashed NFL potential and the Eagles love his physical approach, so look for him to end up on the practice squad.
FB – In (1): Stanley Havili. Out: Emil Igwenagu. Analysis: The fullback doesn’t get used a lot in the Eagles’ offense except as a blocker for McCoy and occasional receiver. Havili served time on the practice squad last season and earned the No.1 job. Since the Eagles will carry only one FB on the active roster, there’s a good chance Igwenagu could end on the practice squad, in case Havili gets injured.
WR -- In (6): Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant, Riley Cooper, Damaris Johnson , Marvin McNutt: Out: Chad Hall, McKay Jacobson, Mardy Gilyard, Brian Hernandez, Jamel Hamler, Tiger Jones, Elvis Akpa. Analysis: Johnson wasn’t drafted, but he makes the team because of his return ability. Several talented young WRs will get caught up in a numbers game. At the least, players like Gilyard, Hamler and Akpa could end up on somebody’s practice squad, maybe the Eagles’. The ‘X’ factor here is the health of No. 4 receiver Riley Cooper , who has missed virtually all of training camp so far. Rookie McNutt could fill his role in the red zone if the Eagles decide to go with one of the younger guy’s potential or Hall’s versatility.
TE – In (3): Brent Celek, Clay Harbor, Brett Brackett. Out: Chase Ford, Emil Igwenagu. Analysis: Harbor has been one of the stars of training camp. The Eagles are counting on him to do it every game as they go with more two-tight end packages. Brackett has played well as a blocker and a receiver and he can also play special teams.
OL – In (9): Todd Herremans, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Danny Watkins, King Dunlap, Demetress Bell, Julian Vandervelde, Dennis Kelly, Dallas Reynolds. Out: Mike Gibson, D.J. Jones, Steve Vallos, Alfred McCullough, Brandon Washington, Thomas Welch. Analysis: Eagles aren’t sure if Dunlap or Bell is their left tackle, but the rest of the unit is set. Kelly sticks because he’s a fifth-round pick and Reynolds gets the final spot because he can back up both guard and center.
DL – In (9): Trent Cole, Jason Babin, Mike Patterson, Cullen Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Derek Landri, Antonio Dixon, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry. Out: Phillip Hunt , Darryl Tapp, Frank Trotter, Monte Taylor, Cedric Thornton, Ollie Ogbu, Xavier Brown. Analysis: This is the deepest and most talented area on the team and some good players aren’t going to make it, including Tapp and Hunt. “That’s going to be a tough decision,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “It’s a great problem to have but that’s not sorted out yet. That’s not going to be an easy thing.” Reid might have to go with an extra DT since Patterson hasn’t been cleared to play yet after offseason brain surgery.
LB – In (6) DeMeco Ryans, Brian Rolle, Mychal Kendricks, Jamar Chaney, Akeem Jordan, Casey Matthews. Out: Keenan Clayton, Ryan Rau, Adrian Moten, Monte Simmons. Analysis: The starting lineup seems set with Ryans, Rolle and Kendricks, and Chaney’s versatility makes him the first man off the bench. Matthews didn’t have a great rookie season last year, but he’s also played all three LB positions and that gives him a roster spot.
DB – In (10): Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Joselio Hanson, Curtis Marsh, Brandon Boykin, Oshiomogho Atogwe, Colt Anderson, Jaiquawn Jarrett. Out: Trevard Lindley, Cliff Harris, Brandon Hughes, Kevin Thomas, Phillip Thomas, Wade Bonner, Tom Nelson. Analysis: The wild card here isAnderson, who still hasn’t practiced in camp after last year’s knee injury. But he’s close to returning and he makes an impact on special teams just about every game and that will earn him another season’s worth of paychecks.
ST – In (3): Alex Henery, Mat McBriar, Jon Dorenbos. Out: Chas Henry. Analysis: The only competition is at punter and the Eagles seem to like McBriar’s experience more than Henry’s potential. However, that could change over the course of the preseason.