Ten takeaways from Eagles first day of Mandatory Minicamp

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Mandatory Minicamp is now officially underway for the Philadelphia Eagles which in itself brings with it plenty to talk about. From the return of Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles to the competition at just about every position on the field, the next few days promise to be very exciting. Here are ten things to take away from the first day of Mandatory Minicamp.

Kicking out the competition:
The battle at the kicker position is something that has largely gone under the radar until recently. While many presume Cody Parkey will resume his role as the team’s starting kicker, Caleb Sturgis isn’t going down without a fight. Today, both kickers looked good..but one had a slight edge.

This is the second time that Sturgis has outshined Parkey ever so slightly..but it’s those small margins that can make the biggest differences come both the final roster decision and kicking in the regular season.

 

Adding fuel to the fire:
It wasn’t too long ago that Mike Martin got up close and personal with Allen Barbre..today, he acquired a new target, Connor Barwin.

Perhaps it’s not the wisest decision to start shoving someone as well respected as Barwin..but Mike Martin seems very intent on making a point. He fears nobody and he’s here to be the dominant athlete at his position. With Fletcher Cox taking limited snaps (more on that later), he’s really trying to make the most of the opportunity.

 

Ruthless aggression:
We know the theme of Schwartz’s Defense is aggression..and it’s something that’s being cemented in the mindsets of the players as we speak. Last week we began to see how fired up Schwartz was on the sidelines, today..the defensive backs got a taste.

It may not sound like much..but having that kind of pressure and aggression implemented from such an early stage is crucial for a Defense that thrives on it.

 

Rookie progress:
Carson Wentz started the day a little shaky..but that didn’t stop him from heating up and bouncing back to end the day on a high.

So as the day wore on, Wentz got hotter. Pederson said today that the equal snap division would likely be a constant factor until late pre-season..meaning that the development of Carson Wentz will be even more exciting to watch.

 

ALERT, A WILD MARCUS SMITH HAS BEEN SPOTTED:

Marcus Smith made a positional change this offseason in what could be his last attempt to salvage a career in Philadelphia. With Jim Schwartz tutoring him, it seems as though things are moving in the right direction..baby steps guys, baby steps! Regardless of how fans feel about Smith, I think we can all agree that we would love to see him have a huge year. Hopefully this early spark could be a sign of things to come.

 

Bradford breezes through day one:
It may have taken Wentz a while to find his stride..but the Eagles starting quarterback started the week with a bang.

The best case scenario for the Eagles is that Bradford starts the year in the same fashion. The former number one overall pick has only really had one day since his return to the NovaCare Complex..but if this were to be considered a rebound, it might as well be a slingshot.

 

A Cox conspiracy?
Both Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles returned to work today after two very different holdouts, but Doug Pederson insisted that both would be eased back into their routines slowly to avoid any risk of injury. What we saw however, were two very different practice sessions.

From fielding punts to catching passes to taking reps with the first team, Sproles was very busy for someone who is supposed to be starting out slow. Fletcher Cox on the other-hand didn’t seem to be doing much at all..

Maybe I’m reading too much into this..but it’s a big coincidence that the holdout of Sproles had nothing to do with money, yet the holdout of Fletcher Cox had everything to do with it when you consider how active both were today..

 

Fullback in action:
There haven’t been any updates on the fullback front in the last few days other than former Jets TE Chris Pantale is the man who the Eagles seem to favor at the position. That hasn’t changed as Pantale continues to get looks as the first team fullback.

If Pantale can make the most of this opportunity, there’s no reason why he can’t make the final 53-man roster.

 

Receivers struggle:
It wasn’t a good day for a couple of the Eagles receivers, Josh Huff and Nelson Agholor were among the names that struggled on the opening day of mandatory minicamp.

Huff has struggled throughout OTA’s and is yet to show signs of improvement. Agholor on the other hand has been reasonably impressive until this point..it will be interesting to see if either can have a better day tomorrow.

 

Participation update:
While everyone on the roster is accounted for (except the two Oregon rookies due to college schedules), not everyone will be participating fully just yet. Reuben Randle has been cleared to practice in a limited fashion after undergoing a gallbladder surgery while JaCorey Shepherd and Nolan Carroll have also been given the same status.

The time missed by Shepherd could prove to be hugely detrimental in a competition as vicious as the one at cornerback. Carroll’s role shouldn’t really be in jeopardy after resigning with the team during the offseason, but with 11 defensive backs on the roster..nothing is certain.

 

Photo credit: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

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