PHILADELPHIA -- With training camp looming on the horizon, let's take a look at some players with the most to prove, and the most to lose, this summer.
We'll start with right guard Todd Herremans, who summed his situation up appropriately: “I've always got something to prove.”
Herremans was the Philadelphia Eagles' starting right tackle in 2012, when injuries forced coach Andy Reid to shuffle his offensive linemen around all season. Last year, when the Eagles took Lane Johnson with the fourth pick of the draft, Herremans was moved inside to guard. He had played left guard for most of his previous seven seasons.
Herremans was a tackle when he signed a three-year, $18-million dollar contract extension two years ago. The deal pays Herremans $3 million for 2014. That shouldn't matter, but in the real world of NFL salaries, it makes him a reasonably paid tackle and a somewhat highly paid guard.
On Herremans' side of the ledger: He was part of the line that paved the way for LeSean McCoy to lead the NFL in rushing. Chip Kelly and offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland have preached the importance of continuity to offensive line success, and there's no pressing reason to make any unnecessary changes. Reports Monday that Johnson tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance and will be suspended for four games this season will force changes, at least early in the season. But that would, if anything, strengthen Herremans' position.
On the other side: The Eagles signed offensive lineman Allen Barbre to a new three-year contract in early June. Barbre will make $1.25 million per season, less than half Herremans' salary. The coaches like Barbre, who filled in for left tackle Peters during the Green Bay game last year and performed very well. With no linemen drafted this year and few other options on the roster -- Matt Tobin is basically it -- Barbre has the best opportunity to crack the starting lineup.
Is that likely to happen? Probably not, if Kelly is happy with Barbre in the valuable role of utility man. Look at how the Eagles view slot cornerback Brandon Boykin. He is productive enough in that role to make you wonder if he' d be a viable starting cornerback. But the Eagles coaches see the downside of putting the 5-foot-9 Boykin on the outside where he'd be exposed to 6-4 and 6-5 wide receivers all game long.
Would Barbre be overexposed as a starter? Is he better used in his utility role? Kelly's take on those issues would go a long way toward clarifying Herremans' standing as a starter. If Barbre starts four games at right tackle in place of Johnson, that will
For now, the most obvious thing to do is nothing. Keep the offensive line together and intact and hope another great season for McCoy and Nick Foles follows. If injuries or poor performance dictate a change, then make it.
And that's why Herremans has something to prove, but also the resume to suggest he's up to the challenge.