Sunday, August 09, 2015

Eagles continue to evaluate right guard

It's been a cast of thousands at right guard for the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp.

The loss of both veteran starters from last season, Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis, is keeping some awake at night but the Birds are confident in what's on hand.

Veteran Allen Barbre is locked down as the replacement for Mathis next to Jason Peters on the left side but Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, John Moffitt and Julian Vandervelde have all gotten looks with the No. 1s at right guard.

Vandervelde, a fifth-round pick out of Iowa in 2011, got the first opportunity between Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson on Sunday during the team's open practice at Lincoln Financial Field.

"It can be difficult," Johnson admitted after practice on Sunday when asked about the revolving door next to him, "but, it's also good because you can get a feel for who is there and give the staff the feedback it needs.

"We have a lot of talented players so everything will be fine."

Tobin, who is also a former Hawkeye, was thought to be the heir apparent entering camp but it's clear Chip Kelly and Co. are hedging their bets thus far, hoping someone seizes control.

“It’s an ongoing battle," Kelly said Saturday. "If it (had to be done)  today, we would have had one guy just jump out in the first four days of practice and we could set it. We’d love to have it done sooner than later, but we want to make sure it’s the right guy and the right fit.”

Tobin started two games when Herremans was injured last season but struggled due to an ankle injury. Gardner then took over and started six contests but it's clear that the coaching staff thinks Tobin has the higher ceiling as a player, at least among the younger, untested options.

Moffitt is a bit of a wild card, a former third-round pick of Seattlewho has had serious off-field issues.

“We’re giving everybody ample opportunities,” Kelly claimed. “There’s a huge difference between our training sessions and a game. You can get all jacked up about someone and say, 'Oh, my God' and then you go out against the Colts and he’s not as good as you thought he was.

“That evaluation won’t be made until we get at least a couple (preseason) games under our belt.”


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