A taste of what’s to come: Ten takeaways from today’s Eagles OTA action

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The Eagles began their third week of OTA’s today with rain once again looming over the NovaCare Complex. Media members were able to attend the practice once again, as they will be able to on Friday. Many noted their observations from the action today, so here’s a breakdown of everything you need to know.

 

Absentees:
Notably, Jason Peters, Donnie Jones, and the elusive Marcus Smith were all still missing as the Eagles kicked off week three of their OTA program. Newly signed RB LeGarrette Blount was absent due to sickness, while the knee injury sustained by Jordan Matthews kept him sidelined once again. Tim Jernigan reportedly limped off the field at the end of practice, following what looked like an injury to his right ankle that was heavily taped during the days activities. Mychal Kendricks was limited with hamstring related setbacks carrying over from last week. To round off the list, both Washington products Sidney Jones, and Elijah Qualls were absent due to academic reasons.

 

Up and down day for Wentz:
It’s been an interesting two weeks for Carson Wentz and his third has started off in the same fashion. While he reportedly seemed comfortable showing off his arm strength and touch on the deep ball, (something he lacked at times in his rookie season), there were still some rollercoaster moments including back-to-back picks.

Of course, it’s still incredibly early days, but it seems as though things are gradually beginning to click for the future of the franchise, who is building up quite the rapport with his new corps of wide receivers.

 

A taste of the tandem:
Today was the first day that the injection of Jernigan into the Defense was felt. The former Ravens defensive tackle missed last Monday’s practice due to the birth of his child…meaning that this was the first time that the newly reinvented Eagles front four wasย showcased to the media.

The takeaway here? This season is going to be a LOT of fun once Cox and Jernigan begin feasting on offensive linemen. While Jernigan did limp off at the end of practice in the company of a trainer, there will be plenty moreย opportunities to see just how dominant the duo can be as Training Camp draws closer.

 

The LG war begins:
With Allen Barbre back into the starting rotation, Seumalo dropped to second-team left guard duties. It will be interesting to now see whether or not Barbre can make a strong impression on the coaching staff after Seumalo’s recent reps with the first team. OTA’s are crucial for the left guards, with Chance Warmack also being a name to watch out for as the group try to scrap for first team reps.

 

Nate Gerry’s role:
I wrote an article yesterday detailing how the Eagles may be looking to utilize the versatility of fifth round pick, Nate Gerry.ย Today, that article appeared to see some validation. The former Nebraska captain lined up as the WILL linebacker in the absence of a limited Mychal Kendricks, before going on to make a hit on Bryce Treggs and then picking off a pass to end a strong day.

His skill-set is becoming crystal clear and his role in the Defense will only grow as his talent continues to flash during the offseason. Gerry is one name you will want to keep an eye on this Summer.

 

The need for speed:
The Eagles have craved a deep threat for quite some time, and the battle to start alongside Alshon Jeffery appears to be between two candidates. One of whom is looking to bounce back with a newly lit fire under his belly, and the other is a receiver trying to prove a point after a down year in San Francisco. The latter, just so happens to be a dominant deep threat…something he showed at OTA’s today.

Well, the battle at WR2 is going to be enticing to watch, but could Torrey Smith be a breakout candidate in 2017? Only time will tell, but the early signs are promising.

 

The over-glorified drops:
If there’s one thing that defines beating a dead horse, it’s drops. It’s like expecting builders to never damage bricks when constructing a house, it happens to the best of us. Unfortunately though given the extent of the issue, it’s a topic that will simply never be buried until Carson Wentz has a 100% completion rate.

The takeaway here is simply DON’T PANIC. Look at the structure in place and how the wideouts have turned heads so far. It’s June, the pads aren’t even on yet and the rain certainly wouldn’t have helped things. Let’s just R-E-L-A-X and let Mike Groh work his magic.

 

Insurance policy?
With Jordan Matthews sidelined, it was once again Nelson Agholor who took the slot reps…something that fans have been piningย to see for a while after his success over the middle during his USC days. Whether or not Agholor could emerge as a potential successor to Jordan Matthews given that it’s the Vanderbilt star’s final year or not is a HUGE question and a premature one. But it’s interesting that it’s Aggy taking the slot reps as opposed to someone such as Shelton Gibson.

 

 

An offseason hero bounces back:
Alex McCalister was a name who turned heads in 2016 before an injury cut his rookie season short before it even started. With a little more weight to his frame, McCalister will be looking to build on his experience from last season and that’s exactly what he’s doing so far.

There’s a lot of room for growth at DE…and the more practices Marcus Smith misses just mean there is more to go around for the likes of Steven Means and Alex McCalister. The question becomes, can they make the most of it?

 

A teeny-weeny note that could mean nothing…but at the same time carries weight:
So this one is entirely subjective, but Ed Kracz posted a great video of Alshon Jeffery and Dorial Green-Beckham running through individual drills. If you watch Alshon Jeffery, he makes the reception and takes the ball to the house. DGB on the other hand, stops after a few steps once the ball has been caught.

It would be a HUGE reach to criticize the effort of DGB based off of one rep in May, but Alshon Jeffery’s work ethic has been present in each and every practice so far, and it’s not the first time we’ve heard character concerns connected with DGB. I just found the difference in mentality interesting.

It could be nothing, after all Frank Reich spoke glowingly of the former Titans wideout today…but it was something that caught my eye.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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