By Ed Benkin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – After a 2013 training camp which featured a host of battles for starting jobs, the 2014 Eagles have much of their starters set. However, there are still spots up for grabs as the team gets closer to the season.
The Eagles held their second open practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, and many of the players fighting for jobs saw plenty of snaps. There is still much to be settled before the regular season gets underway, even if players such as Wide Receiver Brad Smith try to downplay the position battles.
“There’s a competition?” joked Smith. “We just play. We go fast and try to get better as players. It honestly hasn’t crossed my mind.”
With Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper cemented as the top two receivers, Smith is fighting for time with players such as rookie Jordan Matthews. Meanwhile, there is plenty of competition at linebacker behind starters DeMeco Ryans and Connor Barwin. First round draft choice Marcus Smith is another player looking to prove he’s worthy of a starting spot, and Smith believes he’s getting a fair chance in camp.
“Everybody gets the same amount of reps,” Smith said. “We’ve got three groups going and I’m going with the second group right now. We basically get the same amount of reps and the same work, so it’s pretty much even.”
Quarterback Matt Barkley entered camp with the hope of challenging Mark Sanchez for the top backup spot behind Nick Foles. Barkley says he isn’t worried about going head-to-head with either Sanchez or G.J. Kinne in the fight for a roster spot.
“I think you always have to picture yourself in a battle,” said Barkley. “Who knows who that’s against all of the time? It might change, but I think as a professional athlete, you always need to have that mindset that you are in a battle and someone is trying to get what you want.”
As the competition continues, the Eagles are also getting ready for their first preseason game on Friday in Chicago. The Eagles will be back at the NovaCare complex the rest of the week, and Chip Kelly says there will continue with their workouts while setting their sites on their first opponent of the preseason.
“We have three really hard days of work that’s we’ve got to get in this week,” Kelly said. “At 48 hours before the game, we’ll slow it down a little bit because we have to do some work on the Bears.”
Cornerback Cary Williams did not practice on Sunday. Both Williams and the team said it was due to soreness in one of his legs.
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