Eagles Training Camp: Starting linebackers are revealing themselves during practice

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Anthony Schwartz (10) runs for a first down in front of Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Ben VanSumeren (57) during the second half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Fresh off their grueling tie with the Cleveland Browns, the Philadelphia Eagles took to the NovaCare Complex to work out the kinks and prepare for their final preseason encounter. Here’s everything you need to know from another day of Training Camp

Do the Eagles need to re-evaluate the QB2 spot?

I want to do a fully-fledged piece on this, so won’t spoil the fun just yet. But I do think the alarm bells must be ringing in Howie Roseman’s office. After two bitterly underwhelming preseason outings where he was outshined by a 6th-round rookie, Marcus Mariota hit the ground running with a 40-yard bomb to Devon Allen. He then ended up throwing a disappointing pick to James Bradberry, highlighting the limitations as a passer that have been on display all Summer.

It’s great that the Eagles have a backup QB who can run the same plays as Jalen Hurts. So much of the Eagles’ scheme relies on the art of deception and the threat of the run, and Mariota has proven he can still take off on multiple occasions. But should there be a quarterback able to manage a game in his place?

I’ll explore this idea in the coming days, stay tuned.

Eagles’ secondary is getting stronger

The Eagles’ secondary is beginning to take shape. At the start of the offseason, Reed Blankenship was the lone projected starter, which in itself may have raised some concerns given his youth and inexperience. With that said, he’s taken his ball and ran with it, earning the outright starting role and punching in another solid day at the office.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles safety Reed Blankenship (46) warms up during pre-season game between the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles on August 12, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

Sydney Brown received some first-team reps earlier as his ascent up the depth chart continues. It would genuinely be unsurprising to see him earn that second starting spot before the Summer is out.

On a quick side-note from the Safeties, James Bradberry was working in the slot today following the injury to Zech McPhearson. Realistically, Josh Jobe or even Eli Ricks could be suited to that backup sot. Kelee Ringo is realistically more of a boundary corner, although he could also thrive inside due to his speed and physicality. Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles start tinkering around in the coming days.

Jalen Carter balls out again

The Georgia product has been one of the standouts of the Summer and today was no different. During first-team action, Carter broke up a pass. When working with the seconds, he lined up off the edge and dropped back into coverage. The man is a machine.

Eagles Jalen Carter
Philadelphia Eagles first round draft pick Jalen Carter, from the University of Georgia, takes questions from the media during NFL rookie football minicamp, Friday, May 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. Victoria S. Bowles, who was seriously injured in the January car crash that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and an athletics staffer, has sued the school’s athletics association and former Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter for damages. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Lane Johnson was asked about Jalen Carter during today’s pressers and stated: “He’s gonna make a lot of noise. He’s ready to play right now…he’s made a lot of people look silly.”

Linebacker rotation is beginning to settle

Figuring out the format of the linebacker position was very much the focus of the Summer for a lot of fans. After weeks of Training Camp and a few new additions, we seem to be nearing a conclusion.

Nakobe Dean and Zach Cunningham appear to be closing in on starting roles. Not that Dean’s was ever up for debate, but the best kind of ability is availability and missing practices may have highlighted how much depth the position lacked.

Nicholas Morrow and Myles Jack appear to be entrenched with the second team, which means Christian Elliss and Ben VanSumeren should lock in special teams spots.

A lot can still change between now and week 1, but there finally appears to be some level of stability at the LB spot.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola