Good morning. I am back home from my training camp trip. Eagles "Camp Confidential" is on tap for today, as is our first chat in a few weeks. I look forward to all of it and hope you do as well. Here are some links.
Remember Roy Helu? Yeah, he's in the mix this year for a third-down running back role. As Rich Campbell writes, the way he'll win that job is by showing something in pass protection (as well as staying healthy, if he can, which he never has). Starting running back Alfred Morris is a strong pass-protection back, so they don't need to take Morris off the field on third downs for the sake of quarterback Robert Griffin III's safety. But Helu may offer something more as a dynamic receiving option, which is why he's getting this look.
The Redskins tried to sign free-agent linebacker Joe Mays, but he has picked the Houston Texans instead.
It appears the Cowboys want to give Ronald Leary a chance to win some playing time at left guard, as he's sharing snaps there with Nate Livings. Leary could win a starting job on the line or could work in a rotation with Livings or right guard Mackenzy Bernadeau if he shows enough. The Cowboys know they must get better on the line this year, and they're open to any options.
Speaking of surprising camp competitions, it appears as though the presence of rookie Joseph Randle is motivating the other backup running backs on the roster, especially Lance Dunbar. Surely, the Cowboys won't argue with the idea of depth behind oft-injured starter DeMarco Murray.
New York Giants
The Giants' defensive line coach says veteran defensive end Justin Tuck has had his best offseason of the past four years, is in tremendous shape and should play at a high level if he can keep himself healthy this time around. It would certainly be huge for the Giants if Tuck can make good on his promises that this year will be different.
And the Giants' offensive line coach says veteran David Diehl is his starting right tackle, even though the team drafted Justin Pugh in the first round. Pugh obviously has a chance to start somewhere along the offensive line at some point, but the Giants don't rush their rookies, and it's no surprise that they'll wait until they're sure Pugh is ready before handing him a starter's responsibility. Could be September. Could be November. Could be 2014.
Geoff Mosher reports that the loser of the starting-quarterback battle between Michael Vick and Nick Foles likely will be cut from the Eagles' roster, as the team is ready to go with Matt Barkley and Dennis Dixon as its backup quarterbacks this year. Interesting, certainly. I've thought for a while that Vick likely would be cut if he wasn't the starter, since he doesn't make sense as a backup. But Foles was the backup last year, so I guess I've just been assuming they'd look at him as a worthy backup this time around, too. Of course, this is a different coaching staff. Dixon has been a backup quarterback in the NFL longer than Foles has, and he has the advantage of having played one year at Oregon while Chip Kelly was offensive coordinator there.
And this here is a very interesting story from the Wall Street Journal on the ways in which the league's officiating dynamics could hinder Kelly's plans to run his offense at the breakneck speed at which he ran it at Oregon. My guess is Kelly's already examined and thought about this, since that's what he seems to do with everything. But it's the first time I've read anything about it, and I imagine fans will find it interesting.