NFL Wire News

Competition for Eagles’ right guard job wide open

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The Sports Xchange

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly released both of his starting guards — Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis — in the offseason. Allen Barbre, who has just eight career starts in seven seasons in the league, is set to replace Mathis at left guard. But Herremans’ replacement has yet to be determined.

Since training camp started on Aug. 2, four players — Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner, John Moffit and, most recently, Julian Vandervelde — have taken first-team reps at right guard.

And if the situation isn’t muddled enough, Kelly mentioned undrafted rookie Malcolm Bunche as “a guy to keep an eye on” in the battle.

“Every morning we come in and there’s a new depth chart,” said Vandervelde, who has played in just 16 games (no starts) in his four seasons with the Eagles. “When you have anything that’s wide open like that, every day is a different day. You can’t take any single day for granted.”

Going into camp, right guard appeared to be a two-horse race between Tobin, who started seven games last season, including five at left guard, and Gardner, who started eight games, six at right guard.

“They told us they were going to give everybody a shot, so that’s the way it goes,” Tobin said. “I do believe everybody deserves a shot.”

Kelly doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to declare a winner.

“It’s an ongoing battle,” he said. “If (the first regular-season game) was today, then we would have had just one guy jump in the first four days of practice and you could set it. You always would love to have it done sooner than later, but we also want to make sure it’s the right guy and the right fit.

“So we’re giving everybody ample opportunities. … there’s a huge difference between our training sessions and a game. You can get all jacked up about somebody and say, ‘Oh my God, here we go!’ And then you go out against the Colts (in the first preseason game) and he’s not as good as you thought he was, and someone else really steps up. That evaluation won’t be made until we get a couple of games under our belt.”

–G.J. Kinne, who has spent the last two seasons on the team’s practice squad as a quarterback, is trying to make the team as a combo wide receiver and running back.

“I think he looks real comfortable,” Kelly said. “The one thing about him is he can play a lot of different positions. That versatility is a benefit to him. He’s a lot like Brock Holt for the (Boston) Red Sox. You can plug him into a lot of different places. He can fit in at running back for us, he can still be an emergency quarterback for us, and he’s done a really nice job at receiver for us.”

That said, Kinne appears to be a longshot to make the 53-man roster.


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