As the Eagles' 2016 training camp draws near, Dave Zangaro takes a look at five position battles that will be decided this summer. First up, kicker.
Oh yeah! We're starting out with the sexiest battle we have. OK, OK, so maybe you don't care much about who wins the kicker job, but that could change in Week 17, when one of these two is lining up for a game-winning field goal against the Cowboys for a playoff berth.
This job will belong to either Cody Parkey or Caleb Sturgis.
In 2014, Parkey was very good as a rookie, making 32 of 36 overall and four from 50-plus. But Parkey's second season didn't go as planned. He suffered a groin injury early in the season and landed on IR.
Enter Sturgis, a Dolphins castoff. Sturgis struggled early in the 2015 season, but rebounded after the Eagles stuck with him and had a really nice year. He ended up hitting 18 of 22 attempts and was 2 for 4 from 50-plus.
That has set up what should be a pretty tight battle between the two.
"At the end of the day, it was my job and (my mindset is) it's still gonna be my job," Parkey said this spring, but Sturgis won't go down without a fight.
Complete coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles and their NFL rivals from NBC Sports Philadelphia.
During spring practices, Parkey was brought back from his injury slowly, which could have played a role in his performance. In practices open to the media, Sturgis performed better than Parkey, but that won't matter nearly as much as their performance in training camp will.
"Again, that's a great battle going on right there," head coach Doug Pederson said just before the team broke for summer. "We know Cody is coming off the injury from last year and he's still working himself back into shape, so to speak. But it's going to be a great competition going into camp. You know, not making any decisions today on that spot, but I like what I've seen out of both of them."
No one cares about the kicker until it's time for them to win the game. So, no, it's not the most exciting battle, but it's a pretty important one.