With one pre-season game behind us, we're coming up fast on the time of year where the Eagles have to start whittling down the roster: to 75 men by Sept. 1and the final 53 by the 5th.
And while we'll know a lot more after the games against the Ravens, Packers, and Jets, it's safe to say we already know a good bit more than we did when OTAs began.
We know three roster spots are going to Cody Parkey, Donnie Jones and Jon Dorenbos, barring injuries (and maybe three more games like Parkey had against the Colts Sunday.)
That leaves 50 to split among the offense and defense. We'll take a look at the offensive favorites to still be here Sept. 6th in this article, and next week focus in on the defense (with perhaps a few adendums to the offense, based on the team's play against the Ravens.)
QB - Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow
The choice here is between Tebow and Matt Barkley.Barkley had a couple big throws, one to Miles Austin resulting in a 39 yard gain. That one in particular, however, was more due to the Colts' cornerback doing his best Bradley Fletcher impersonation on a ball underthrown by Barkley.
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Tebow entered the game to a standing ovation and looked accurate on his first drive.The biggest complaint against Tebow is the length of time he held onto the ball, which was exacerbated by the disastrous play of the offensive line backups in front of him. Chip Kelly made it a point to praise Tebow and note that he was playing with the third and fourth stringers.
Whomever loses this battle is trade bait, I expect it will be Barkley.
HB - DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner
The top three are set, the question is whether the Eagles carry a fourth running back.Barner certainly staked his claim to the role Sunday with six carries for 29 yards.Perhaps even more helpful to Barner's case however, was his 92-yard punt return touchdown that showed he could be a contributor on special teams.
WR - Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, Miles Austin, Seyi Ajirotutu
The young wide receivers certainly got their playing time in Saturday, but the roster seems pretty set ahead of them.Local product Rasheed Bailey in particular had a nice game and super one-handed reception, but in the end, Ajirotutu's special teams experience will probably lock down the final roster spot at wide receiver.
TE - Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton, Eric Tomlinson
Tight end is another position where the top three are set and the Eagles will need to decide if they want to carry a fourth player.For what it's worth, they did last year.Tomlinson's blocking has been praised (which might mean the offensive line's woes are his gain) and he led the Eagles in catches and receiving yards against the Colts - five for 61. Ertz's injury could also help Tomlinson nab a roster spot as the season opens.
OL - Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Andrew Gardner, Lane Johnson, Matt Tobin, John Moffitt, David Molk
You'd like to see a few more names here, and there could well be when all is said and done. However, while several fringe skill position players were shining, the backup offensive lineman were nothing if not offensive against the Colts.The Eagles hardly seem like an organization ready to prize positional need over talent and production.
Add to that that one of the few strengths of the Eagles' offensive line depth is the players' versatility to play several positions, and you could see a less numerous offensive line group than we're used to.
For what it's worth, Andrew Gardner seems to be taking the lead in the competition for right guard.He's spent the most time there in practice, and started at the position against Indianapolis.Matt Tobin is spending a lot of time at tackle.
That's 25 down, and 25 spots left for the defense.That worked out nicely.