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July 25, 2014, 4:17 pm

Eagles begin training camp with optimistic view

The Philadelphia Eagles will open training camp on July 22 at Lehigh University. The rookies and selected veterans will report the first day. The rest of the players will report on July 25. The first full practice will take place on July 27.

The Eagles first preseason game will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles will open the regular season on Sept. 9 against the Cleveland Browns on the road.

With all that in place, this should be a big year for the Eagles. All their key players are healthy and signed. Now, it’s time to get down to business. There are some players who need to have good seasons if the team is going to get to the Super Bowl or at least make a strong run in the NFC playoffs.

Michael Vick/quarterback

Vick is capable of having a much better season. The Eagles signal caller was injured during portions of last season. That had a big impact on his game. Although he threw 14 interceptions, he still managed to pass for 3,303 yards with 18 touchdowns. Vick played much better the last four games of the season. The Eagles won all of those games and finished 8-8.

Vick has himself under the microscope this season. He recently brought himself, as well as the team, a lot of attention with his comments on Comcast SportsNet. He said, “I think we have a chance to develop a dynasty.”

The 6-foot, 215-pounder, is surrounded by a number of very talented players at the skilled positions. This may be one of the best Eagle teams in regards to personnel in a long time.

LeSean McCoy/running back

McCoy was arguably the best running back in football last year. He had 273 carries for 1,309 yards while scoring 17 TDs. McCoy has good speed and great moves in the open field. Eagles head coach Andy Reid needs to establish the running game with McCoy. If he can run the football the way he did last season, that will be a big help to Michael Vick.

DeSean Jackson/wide receiver

A year ago, Jackson was playing without a contract. Well, now that’s been settled. He’s signed his deal. Jackson is one of the most explosive players in the NFL. Two years ago, he made the Pro Bowl as a wide receiver and punt returner. Last year, he had 58 receptions for 961 yards and four TD receptions. He should be able to surpass those numbers this year. He’s a big-play receiver with tremendous speed.

Demetress Bell/offensive tackle

The Eagles are hoping Bell will step in and help the offensive line. He will replace Jason Peters who is out for the season with a ruptured right Achilles tendon. The 6-foot-5, 311-pounder played for the Buffalo Bills last season.

DeMeco Ryans/middle linebacker

The Eagles need Ryans mostly to play against the run. Last year, it seems like every running back that played against the Eagles had a big day rushing. Ryans, a 6-foot-1, 247-pounder, had 64 tackles with the Houston Texans last season. He should be a big help to the Eagles defense.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie/cornerback

Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t get a chance to exhibit his skills with Asante Samuel here. But Samuel has been traded to the Atlanta Falcons. Rodgers-Cromartie played some good football for the Arizona Cardinals before the Eagles acquired him. He had 16 interceptions in his first three seasons. Four of those interceptions were returned for TDs. The 6-foot-2, 182-pounder is a terrific cover guy. The Eagles need him to play well against the pass and the run. He had just 28 tackles last season.

Nnamdi Asomugha/cornerback

Asomugha is regarded as one of the NFL’s top cornerbacks. The Eagles are going to need his aggressive play on the corners. Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie should form a good combination in the secondary. The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder had 40 tackles and three interceptions last season.

 

Contact staff writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .