Ten takeaways from Tuesday’s Eagles OTA

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The Eagles have begun their final week of voluntary workouts with a practice that was once again open to the media. A lot can change in the space of seven days, especially when it comes to Football. The NovaCare Complex played no exception to the rule today with plenty of storylines continuing to reveal themselves. Here are ten takeaways from today’s workouts:

Bradford off the pace:
Today marked a less than stellar showing from starting Quarterback Sam Bradford. A couple of interceptions partnered with a couple of near misses seemed to attract the most attention..and rightly so. Jaylen Watkins (more on him later), Rodney McLeod and even Mychal Kendricks were among those punishing the quarterback for his errors..but they were doing just that. It was Sam Bradford who was showing an uncharacteristic display of inaccuracy if we’re to go by what the media have reported.

It’s important not to get carried away here. It’s only May and the workouts themselves are still voluntary. But it is interesting to consistently hear good things about Wentz and even Daniel for that matter on a day where the starting quarterback looked off. In any other team, this wouldn’t be a huge concern..but with a cloud of doubt over Bradford’s long term future..this may not be the last we hear of today’s struggles.

 

Wentz heats up..but don’t get too excited:
The rookie quarterback continues to impress during OTA’s with another solid outing. Despite an almost interception, Wentz appeared to be more consistent than Bradford..for today at least.

There were a couple of passes swatted down however. One by Bryan Braman and another by Marcus Smith. While it’s great to see Wentz continuing to raise eyebrows as OTA’s reach their final week, it’s important to keep a level head. Training Camp may be a lot closer in terms of competition than we might think..but let’s just stay calm and let things play out. There’s plenty of promise surrounding Carson Wentz and it’s way too early to make any kind of “starting ability” judgement.

 

#Ertzford:
Around this time 12 months ago, I was confident that a chemistry between Zach Ertz and Sam Bradford (#Ertzford) was almost guaranteed to strike up and light the NFC on fire. Unfortunately, things didn’t quite start as I and many others hoped..but they certainly ended on a much higher note.

It looks as though in 2016, we may finally get our wish. In an Offense that’s priming Zach Ertz for success considering how important Travis Kelce was to the Chiefs last season, seeing the duo hit the ground running is an encouraging sign.

 

Kick it up a notch:
A battle that many people seem to have forgotten about is the war at the kicker position. With Cody Parkey coming back from injury, many assumed that he would assume his previous role as the Eagles starting kicker. It seems like that may not be the case after all however..

 

Running back roulette:
Today saw Ryan Mathews and Kenjon Barner split the first team reps at running back in the absence of Darren Sproles. As mentioned previously an extensively broken down in this All-22, Barner could be primed for a much bigger role than we think. With Sproles still a no-show, it’s important he makes the most of the opportunity to run with the first team.

 

Ring the bell:
Tensions appeared to rise earlier today when newly signed DT Mike Martin got up close and personal with Allen Barbre after a play.

We didn’t see much tension during workouts under Chip Kelly, but that might change due to such vicious competition. With Cox still not showing, Martin is filling in and is obviously keen to make the most of it. Expect training camp to contain a few fireworks!

 

Wait..what:
Today also saw the inclusion of some trick plays by the Eagles. Surprising in some aspects, but not in others. Pederson’s Offense is already expected to be wildly unpredictable and if the team can execute these plays well enough to include them in their arsenal, it’s just another weapon for Pederson’s scheme.

 

Receiver Rush:
In a rush to make an impression and carry momentum into training camp, an unlikely candidate has risen from the cluster of Eagles receivers to steal the show today. That man is Xavier Rush who was able to make a difficult catch on a huge Wentz throw. Whether or not Rush can continue to make plays and throw the Cat among the Pigeons is another question entirely, but the undrafted rookie out of Tulane had a good day.

 

Secondary standouts:
It was a day for the secondary to shine as Sam Bradford was insistent on giving them opportunities it seemed. Leodis McKelvin took the first team reps while his former Bills teammate Ron Brooks tipped a pass for new safety Rodney McLeod to return for a pick six. Jaylen Watkins was able to make a catch at the back of the endzone as well which was fantastic to hear considering just 24 hours ago I posted an all-22 claiming that he could well be the Eagles answer to deep threat NFC East receivers. After the struggles documented last week, it’s great to hear the Defense firing on all cylinders.

 

Attendance: 
Our final note is just a clarification of who was and who wasn’t at practice today:

Fletcher Cox: Absent (holdout)
Reuben Randle: Absent (Gallbladder)
Darren Sproles: Absent (personal)
Ryan Mathews: Returned after illness last week
Jordan Hicks: Limited
Nolan Carroll: Limited
JaCorey Shepherd: Limited

Photo credit: MATT ROURKE/AP

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