2012 training camp preview: Philadelphia Eagles

The SportsXchange

More NFC East training camp previews: Cowboys | Giants | Redskins

Training camp goals

1. Determine the identity of their No. 2 quarterback. Michael Vick heads into the season as the team's starter. But Vick has missed three games in each of the last two seasons, and his reckless style of play and body type – he's a hair under 6-foot and weighs just 210 pounds – makes it unlikely he'll make it to the starting line for 16 games this season. Last season, with Vince Young as Vick's backup, the Eagles were 1-4 in the games he got hurt and the three he missed. So it's important they find someone who can step in and hold the fort. Right now, that appears to be third-year man Mike Kafka. Kafka knows coach Andy Reid's offense forward and backward. But he's got a questionable arm and little experience (16 career pass attempts). The other possibility is veteran Trent Edwards, who was out of the league last year. The Eagles selected Nick Foles in the third round of the April draft, but he's too raw to be the backup for a team that expects to contend for the Super Bowl.

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Michael Vick is being urged to take fewer hits this season. (AP)

2. Get new left tackle Demetress Bell acclimated to offensive line coach Howard Mudd's blocking technique. The March Achilles injury to All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters was a big blow to a line that was playing as well as any in the league at the end of last season. How big will be determined by how quickly Bell, who was signed as a free agent, can pick up Mudd's technique. Bell also has to stay healthy, something he didn't do during his time in Buffalo.

Player to watch

Defensive end Brandon Graham. The Eagles selected Graham in the first round of the 2010 draft, taking him ahead of the Giants' Jason Pierre-Paul. But Graham tore his ACL late in his rookie season and needed microfracture surgery to repair all of the damage to his knee. He played in three games last season and had just four tackles and no sacks. Graham has worked hard to get back to where he was before his injury. If he can be the player the Eagles thought they drafted, one of the league's best pass rushes will get even better and make life miserable for quarterbacks.

[Related: Michael Vick reveals toughest moment of his life after dogfighting scandal]

On the hot seat

Michael Vick. In a quarterback-driven league, the Eagles will go only as far as Vick takes them this season. He is coming off a disappointing year when he finished 23rd in interception percentage, had six red-zone turnovers and finished 26th in third-down passing. He was 7-6 as a starter. He had 12 touchdown passes and just four interceptions in the seven wins, and just six touchdowns and 10 INTs in the six losses. Reid has made it clear that Vick needs to take fewer risks, both with the football and his body.

Full Eagles team report

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