Ten takeaways from todays Eagles OTA action

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The Philadelphia Eagles resumed their OTA program today at the NovaCare Complex. With the Quarterback controversy finally beginning to settle in Philadelphia, it gave reporters a chance to pay more attention elsewhere. Here are ten takeaways from today’s workout.

No-shows:
Four Eagles players missed todays action, two were predictable..the other two not so much.

Both Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles are yet to make an appearance at the NovaCare Complex as their holdouts continue.

Wide receiver Reuben Randle underwent gallbladder surgery recently and will be out of action for a short period.

Ryan Mathews was the fourth and final Eagle absent from OTA’s today with an illness. The Eagles were without their two leading rushers today, handing the reigns and huge opportunities over to Kenjon Barner, Wendell Smallwood and Byron Marshall.

 

The Wis-Kid

The Eagles signed Stefen Wisniewski during the offseason and while many expected his versatility to aid the line in numerous areas of need, it seems as though his primary role could be slightly surprising.

As it stands, the guard who ranked 3rd in pass-blocking efficiency last year according to PFF will be the backup centre for the Eagles. It’s important to note that Isaac Seumalo won’t be at the NovaCare until mandatory camp so this is all provisional. But it’s certainly interesting to see some potential insight into how Wisniewski is going to be utilized.

 

Pew Pew Pew:

As Jimmy Kempski reported earlier, the Eagles have started to filter some plays using the pistol formation into their practices. It’s not the biggest news of the day and it’s not the most glamorous either..but it’s nice to see the Eagles experimenting or at least showing some variety and depth to the scheme that Pederson is implementing.

This may have been handy at the start of last season to use DeMarco Murray more efficiently but hey, better late than never..right?

 

Fullback still a possibility:

As it stands, the Eagles don’t have a fullback on the roster, but it hasn’t stopped them from trying different players out at the position.

Considered a favorite to take the reigns of the position by many, Try Burton took some snaps at the position today and so did tight end Chris Pantale. The Eagles seem insistent on using a fullback, whether they will feel the need to invest in one or just exploit the versatility of players currently on the roster is another question entirely.

 

Wentz still looks good:

The Eagles second overall pick continues to impress during OTA’s as he enjoyed another successful practice. It may have been a bit hot-and-cold, but NJ.Com’s Mark Eckel noted this in his summary of the days action:

“…Other than that he was near perfect. Throwing the ball with precision and accuracy not shown often by rookies. Yes, a lot of it was against either air, or some second-team Eagles’ defenders. Still, the rookie looked good.”

He wasn’t the only reporter impressed by the rookie:

Wentz may be some way off being a starting Quarterback, but he looks to be showing a lot of promise at such an early stage in his development.

 

Don’t sleep on Braman:

I’ve said this in numerous articles, Bryan Braman is extremely well suited to Jim Schwartz’s system. A switch to a 4-3 could be just what the special teams ace needed and he’s wasting no time in stating his intentions.

Braman plays with an extremely aggressive demeanor and this could be the change he’s been waiting for. Competition at the position is at an all-time high..can Braman continue to make the most of it?

 

Backfield of opportunity:

With the Eagles two rushing leaders absent from training, Wendell Smallwood was the man who perhaps made the most of the opportunity.

The shape of the backfield is anybody’s guess right now..but if the Eagles fifth round pick continues to impress then there’s no reason why he cant push his way into the starter debate.

 

Do the Eagles finally have a legitimate Deep threat ?

The competition at wide receiver is enticing to say the least..but the emergence of Chris Givens as a deep threat is seemingly a very pleasant surprise. Givens was signed by the Eagles during the offseason but has hit the ground running…quite literally.

Givens is turning a lot of heads right now as he continues to make big catches deep down the field. It might be too early to slap a “deep threat” tag on him, but there is a lot of potential on show early on from the former Rams wideout.

 

Jalen Mills comes out swinging:

Drafted a Safety, taking first team reps as a nickel corner. That’s the title of today’s story for Jalen Mills as the rookie continues to make an impact. His versatility played a large part in the Eagles decision to draft the former LSU defensive back..he proved why today.

There is a very heated competition at cornerback right now but regardless of whether he ends up playing as a Safety or a corner, Mills continues to make plays in the early Eagles workouts. The Bills corners continue to head the charge with Shepherd and Carroll not competing in team drills, leaving Mills the perfect opportunity to smash it out of the park..something he seems intent on doing.

 

A new era:

This isn’t strictly to do with the players, but today has asserted a change in direction on the field as well as off of it for the Eagles.

Owner Jeffery Lurie was very adamant that he wanted to find a coach who could connect with his players, Pederson seems to be fitting the bill perfectly. It’s a welcome change for the players as well, some of whom have already talked very highly of Pederson as a coach and they way he conducts things.

This may seem irrelevant, but practice is a vital part of the game..and creating a positive environment will do nothing but help the players develop and build chemistry.

 

 

Mandatory Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas- USA TODAY Sports

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