All across the NFL, teams are preparing to make their final roster cuts by the 6:00 p.m. Saturday deadline. The preseason finale for each team will greatly help coaches with the decision of who makes the 53-man roster and who goes. For Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly, some roster decisions have been made for quite some time while others will be coming after the final preseason game.
Here is the offensive roster projections for the 2013-14 season:
Starter: Michael Vick
Backups: Nick Foles, Matt Barkley
Kelly made the announcement that Vick would be the starting quarterback this season before the third preseason game. Everyone knew that Vick and Foles would both be on the 53-man roster, but the third spot for quarterback was up for grabs. After the first preseason game, it was clear that Matt Barkley was going to be the third quarterback on the final roster.
Running back (3)
Starter: LeSean McCoy
Backups: Bryce Brown, Chris Polk
With McCoy leading the way, Kelly has two talented backups he can call on this season. Look for Brown to get some playing time in two runningback sets and whenever McCoy needs to come out for a rest.
Tight End (3… 4?)
Starter: Brent Celek / James Casey
Backup: Zach Ertz
Questionable: Clay Harbor
Celek and Casey are the standouts at tight end and look to get the most playing time. Ertz, the rookie, had a decent preseason and will get some playing time as this season as well. Kelly had said before he may use three tight end sets. The reason why Harbor is questionable is because Kelly surprised everyone with a four tight end set during the Carolina Panthers preseason game. Harbor has been working with the wide receivers recently which could help him make the team considering the Eagles lost Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn to ACL injuries. If Harbor is kept around as a wide receiver, Kelly could still use him as a tight end if needed.
Wide Receiver (5… 6?)
Starters: DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant (slot receiver)
Backups: Damaris Johnson, Russell Shepard
Questionable: Clay Harbor, Ifeanyi Momah
Jackson and Avant were basically guaranteed there spots so there isn't any surprise there. Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn tearing their ACL's really put the Eagles into a bind though. Losing their second starter and a first choice backup meant that Cooper and Johnson had to step into bigger roles. There was no doubt about Johnson making the 53-man roster as he is going to have a huge presence on Special Teams this season as the kick returner and a backup punt returner to Jackson. Shepard is most likely going to be the fifth man due to his athleticism. He has put on a decent preseason even though he has only been working with the backups later in the games.
Momah, a rookie and a sleeper to make the team, has a huge selling point… He is six-foot-seven. His size is perfect for the red zone as he will tower over the opposing secondary. He could also be used for third downs.
As mentioned before, if Kelly decides to keep Clay Harbor around, he has the option of using him at both tight end and wide receiver. The question is which one he wants to use him more at. It is unlikely that Kelly will use the four tight end set a lot which means he would see more time as a receiver.
Offensive Line (11)
Starters: Jason Peters (Left Tackle), Evan Mathis (Left Guard), Jason Kelce (Center), Todd Herremans (Right Guard), Lane Johnson (Right Tackle
Backups: Allen Barbre, Michael Bamiro, Dennis Kelly, Danny Watkins, Matt Tobin, Julian Vandervelde
The starting five has been set for a while and comes as no surprise. Having Jason Peters back on the line is going to be a huge boost for the Eagles this season after they lost him last season to a torn Achilles. Lane Johnson will be starting opposite of Peters and will give the Eagles one of the best offensive tackle tandems in the league.
With the offensive line falling apart last season, the best thing Chip Kelly can do is make sure there are backups ready to go.
Projection total: 25 (at minimum), 27 (if all listed players kept)
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