Ten takeaways from day two of Eagles Mandatory Minicamp

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After the Eagles announced the extension of Jason Peters, the team took to the NovaCare Complex for the penultimate time before Training Camp. As always, we’ve condensed the very best of today’s action into one handy article.

 

Absentees:
Most of the gang were back in action today, with the exceptions still being Nick Foles and Jordan Matthews. Surprisingly, Dorial Green-Beckham missed today’s practice with what seems to be an injury. We’re still waiting on official confirmation as to what the injury is, but it’s a setback nonetheless.

*Update* Fletcher Cox reportedly walked off a little earlier than expected today and has picked up a neck strain.

“We’re from Philadelphia, we fight.”
Many of us associate that phrase with the goosebump inducing hype-video produced by the Eagles during the Chip Kelly era. Unfortunately, that mantra never really came to pass, instead the team appeared to “quit” at times when the outlook was bleak, eventually leading to his firing. But under Doug Pederson, that raw mentality Kelly once referenced appears to be burning brighter than ever.

From Pederson getting involved in drills, to what seem like daily scuffles and competitive exchanges, everyone is taking this part of the season extremely seriously. Competition levels are at a new high, and as Pederson once mentioned, it’s bringing the best out of everyone.

 

#GrowWithGroh
Arguably the most important offseason addition made by the Eagles is someone who won’t make a highlight play, nor will he put up incredible numbers. Instead, it’s the man behind the scenes of it all, WR coach Mike Groh.

Whether it’s the sheer difference in coaching styles and drills, “chip on the shoulder” mentality instilled in each player, or a surge in production, Groh’s handprint can be seen all over this wide receiver corps in such early days. It’s all very well having the talent to win championships, but if you don’t have the right person to nurture it and keep it on the right path, you’ll only get so far…and it’s Groh’s eye-popping resume that is being backed up during Minicamp.

 

Wentz gets hotter:
The Eagles quarterback appeared to hit his stride yesterday, and he’s only moving forward. Today has reportedly been the best day of the offseason workout program so far for Carson Wentz, as he continued to make huge plays.

Apart from a stray interception, Wentz was near perfect in today’s activities. A fancy move on Mychal Kendricks may have been the highlight of the day, but I think learning about Jimmy’s secret love life might be the most exciting takeaway. Although we’re still waiting on sources to verify just what pet name Mychal has for the PhillyVoice reporter…

Joking aside, it’s great to see Wentz continuously improve during this period, which is all anybody could really hope for out of a sophomore quarterback in an area of the offseason without pads.

 

Versatility goes beyond the outside positions:
We all know that Schwartz loves versatility at the cornerback spot and the Offense craves it, but DE isn’t really a spot many consider a position that requires such a trait. However, second year DE Alex McAlister could be looking to change that perception.

This observation immediately reminded me of the play last season where Cox dropped back into coverage on a dummy look. McAlister effectively took on a 3-4 OLB role as a DE, which brings a lot of value to a Defense with so many weapons.

 

Grymes Time:
By now, our admiration for Aaron Grymes has been well documented, and we’ve already reported that the Eagles coaching staff are incredibly high on the former Edmonton Eskimo. Just like last offseason, Grymes continues to flash.

The former CFL standout is looking to make up for lost time and cement his role on the roster…and if he continues to trend upward, it may be a lot more than a depth role he competes for.

 

Offensive line takes shape:
After Peters signed his extension, the shape of the O-Line look set for the short-term future in most regards, but one man who continues to only further embed hisself into those plans is Isaac Seumalo.

Whether he starts at Guard or at Center, it’s fair to say that the Eagles third round selection last year has a high ceiling with this unit and could be a vital piece for years to come. It’s no longer looking like a question of if and when he’ll contribute, it’s where.

 

#SuperSturgis
It’s been a while since we’ve heard an update on Caleb Sturgis, who cast aside his 2015 struggles with a VERY strong 2016 campaign. Well, here’s today’s kicker tracker!

Super Sturgis looks as fresh as ever, which could be great news for an Offense that seeks to end every drive with a kick.

 

The reTurner:
Everyone’s favorite preseason hero may have been forgotten by some, but Paul Turner is keen to make sure that his big plays last season aren’t the last we see of him. One year after leading the NFL in preseason receiving yards, he could be setting up to do the same as he again shows his athleticism.

Training Camp was Turner’s Turf last season and with only one day of Minicamp remaining, could we be set for another strong offseason from the former Louisiana Tech star?

 

Talking of returns:
We haven’t really talked much about kick returns this year, but so far it looks as though Donnel Pumphrey, Wendell Smallwood and Nelson Agholor who are taking the majority of reps at the spot…meaning Darren Sproles arguably has one less weight on his shoulders. Torrey Smith has also been one of the wideouts practicing the returns regularly, but I think that Smallwood has the extra incentive to carve a role on that front.

The former West Virginia running back has experience at the position, but after some hefty changes to the backfield, his role may have been marginalized, so shining on returns may be his key to digging his own niche.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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