MANY surprises await.
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman spoke about that yesterday, as new coach Chip Kelly welcomed rookies and select vets to training camp at NovaCare, the rest of the team due to arrive Thursday.
Already, there are 40 new names on the 90-man roster, 40 guys who never played for Andy Reid. And it would be a mistake to assume Roseman and Kelly are done with their tweaks, as Kelly tries to assemble the group he has in mind.
"We're still trying to figure out the guys on the back end of the roster," Roseman said. "I think you've seen, there's been some turnover the last couple weeks. We're trying to find the right fits. There'll probably be a lot more flexibility than maybe we've had the last couple years about trying to find the right fits, and maybe getting some players in and out . . . Once we get the pads on and we see guys in live situations, we'll figure out things a lot more clearly than you do in the spring."
It is startling to look at the roster and realize how many questions remain to be answered, right up to the identity of the starting quarterback. During the last decade or so of the Reid era, this was rarely the case - most years there might be a couple of spots where you didn't know the name of the starter at the beginning of camp. Generally, if Reid declared a competition between an established starter and a younger guy, the veteran needed to start packing. (See Hank Fraley vs. Jamaal Jackson, summer 2005.)
"We're trying to make sure we get the right fits, the right scheme fits, for what we're trying to do," Roseman said. "That's going to take time, to try and figure that out, figure what we have. Some guys are doing new things for the first time. You've gotta give 'em the benefit of the doubt . . . It's not going to happen overnight.
"When you're combining a new staff with new schemes, there's going to be a lot more competition. Then you have some guys that maybe didn't fit perfectly in the last scheme, and you bring 'em in and you realize they're really good scheme fits here . . . and the flip side, as well."
Hey, I can do that . . .
Michael Bamiro, the 6-8, 340-pound rookie offensive tackle the Eagles signed last week out of Stony Brook, wasn't recruited to play football out of high school. He was overweight and didn't really apply himself at Pocono Mountain West High, Bamiro said yesterday.
So Bamiro went to the University of Pittsburgh's Titusville campus, with the idea of someday becoming an attorney. The school did not field a football team.
"Sitting at home, watching college teams play, kids from high schools that I'd played against, watching them play, really drove me to [think] maybe I can play football," Bamiro said.
He transferred to Stony Brook, redshirted a year, played 3 years, was looking forward to a dominant final season in 2013 when he and the school discovered the NCAA counts any year you are enrolled as a fulltime student against your 5 years of eligibility. So Bamiro was done. The NFL decreed him a free agent. About half a dozen teams were interested; the Eagles guaranteed Bamiro about $250,000 over the next 2 years, according to a CSNPhilly.com report.
"I know there are a lot of guys who are so far ahead of me [in learning the offense]," Bamiro said. "I've just got to make sure that I put in the work and I get better as an athlete."
Casey, Kelce OK
Tight end James Casey, who had a knee scoped in the spring, and center Jason Kelce, coming back from ACL surgery last season, said they are ready to go.
Kelce said he will brace both knees, and wishes he had done so previously.
"Most of the offensive linemen don't wear braces. When I got here, that was the culture and I did what everybody else was doing as a young guy," Kelce said. "There's no guarantee that if you have the brace on you're not going to tear it. But I can tell you this: I don't want to go through another ACL reconstruction. So I'm going to wear both braces this year."
Casey said he was able to watch practice after he hurt his knee, so he didn't feel he missed a lot this spring.