COMMENTARY | The Philadelphia Eagles enter a new and exciting era in franchise history. With training camp drawing near, Eagles fans have a number of reasons to be excited about the start of camp.
After years of seeing the glory days of the Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb era become more distant memories than anything else, the page turns to a new head coach looking to breath new life in to the offensive style of the Eagles and every player seems to have a fresh start.
No more Wide Nine Defense
Forget about the wide nine this season. While the coaching staff may try to mix things up a little bit on defense, the base set more often than not should be a 3-4 set. Given the lack of production out of the defense last season, almost anything would have been a welcome change of pace. This team should be getting more production in the secondary, with the shift in defensive system allowing them to be utilized in a better way on the field.
New England comes to town
While the New England Patriots have been going through an assortment of off-field concerns this off-season, the AFC East franchise remains highly respected when it comes to game preparation and training. During the training camp the Patriots will make a visit to Philadelphia for a few scrimmages. This will be a great opportunity for the Eagles to see how they stack up against a well-oiled machine and for Chip Kelly to get a glimpse of how an efficient NFL franchise preps on the practice field.
Rookies to build with
Kelly stayed close to a comfort zone with his first NFL Draft by selecting a number of players out of the Pac 12, but he drafted players that could become staples on the roster for years to come. First round draft pick Lane Johnson may be a bit of a project on the offensive line but tight end Zach Ertz and quarterback Matt Barkley could realistically be starting by the end of the season while defensive pick-ups Bennie Logan and Joe Kruger could add some depth to the defensive line and Earl Wolff could make a push for playing time in the secondary.
Jeremy Maclin's contract year
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is entering the final year of his contract and while he has not created a buzz about demanding a new contract heading in to the season, it will be a bit of a side-story from the start. This will be a critical year for Maclin, who may need to prove he has a valuable role in Kelly's new offensive system. His production under Andy Reid was significant, but Kelly has no attachments to any of these inherited players. Maclin will have to get off to a good start in camp and if he does, fans could be gearing up to watch a fun season.
The quarterback debate
Whether there is a debate here or not, the play of the quarterbacks in training camp will be scrutinized every which way by every beat reporter in attendance. Instant scouting reports will flood Twitter on a pass-by-pass rate as Mike Vick and Nick Foles battle for the starting quarterback job this training camp. That is, if you believe Kelly does not already have a feel for what he will end up doing.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer. Follow him on Twitter @krmcguire.
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