Eagles Training Camp Notebook: First full-team practice adds fuel to competitive fire

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The first full team practice of Eagles Training Camp has been and gone. A 10/10/10 practice was implemented on day-one, giving the Birds plenty of situational looks with pre-dertimned outcomes to ease back into the swing of things. That doesn’t mean competition was light however. With the Vets now back in the mix, the real war has just begun.

 

 

Positional battle formations are set:
It’s always interesting to look at how the depth chart looks coming into Training Camp, especially at positions where the starting roles are up for grabs. Here’s what we know so far:

O-Line: With Barbre traded to the Broncos and Seumalo elevated to the starting role, it’s interesting that Chance Warmack is now the backup at left guard, with Josh Andrews on the right. Wisniewski still backs up Kelce, but there is probably going to be a lot of rotation in the coming weeks which should only enhance the battles in the depth of the O-line.

DE: The second-team Defense is lining up against the first-team Offense, which is really interesting. While the Defense may appear to be on the back foot, some key showdowns took place today. Derek Barnett was able to work exclusively on Jason Peters for instance, which will only help his development. The team are still intent on riding Curry as a starter for now it seems, but one has to wonder how long it will be before Barnett works his way into the first team.

WR: We’ve heard for a while just how high the team are on Marcus Johnson, so to see him getting second team reps alongside Nelson Agholor is HUGE. Especially considering that the likes of Hollins and Gibson will be among those working slot or third team duties. Aggy starts behind Smith to begin with…let the competition for WR2 begin.

CB: The most experienced corners on the roster open camp as the starters, with Mills and Robinson working outside. The outside tandem keeps the same shape it had during the start of OTA’s before Rasul Douglas earned a shot with the one’s. It will be interesting to see whether the Eagles view Robinson as a slot corner or someone who can hold his own outside…but only time will tell.

 

 

The Wentz to Alshon connection:
It’s been hyped up for months, and for good reason. The Eagles not only have a number one receiver, but one who will contest every 50/50 ball.

It’s going to be a fun Training Camp, that goes without saying. But seeing Jeffery working so hard after practice, during special teams drills, and speaking so highly of the Offense sends chills down the spine of every Eagles fan. Wentz has his go-to receiver if all else fails. He has his receiver who can change the outcome of a game in a heartbeat. Now, the fun begins.

 

 

The return of the Mack:
OTA darling, Mack Hollins, started Training Camp impressively enough, but his athleticism was on full display once again earlier today, as he made a highlight reel catch.

Whether Hollins works out of the slot or could potentially move up to compete for WR 3/4 reps will be something worth keeping an eye on if you’re attending open practices, but the early signs are promising.

 

 

Matthews appears fully healthy…so what next?
One of the big headlines today was Jordan Matthews and whether or not he really is fully healthy. Well, we may have gotten our answer in a way only JMatt could provide, by displaying the work ethic he’s become renowned for and making a big play in the process.

If you’re Jordan Matthews, it’s sunny in Philadelphia….for now. Trade rumors have began to circulate and with Agholor actually taking first team slot reps today, they’re likely only to spice up in the future. All Matthews can do is go all in and ball out…something he’s clearly intent on doing.

 

 

Versatility is key:
We know that Pederson loves to shake things up offensively, and this training camp appears to be no different.

From pistol formations and split backfields, to fullbacks and plays like the one above, the Eagles Head Coach has become renowned for trying new things. Let’s see how many of those sneak into the playbook come week one. The Eagles have an abundance of versatile talent on the roster, so harnessing that potential has to be a priority.

 

 

A wildcard at linebacker:
When we talk about the battles at linebacker, many point to Nate Gerry and Joe Walker, but few recognize former Patriots special teamer, Kamu Grugier-Hill.

Filling the same role as an Eagle so far, KGH had some big moments last offseason and had a very strong preseason. Now, with a lack of depth on his side, who knows what the future holds if he can demonstrate that tenacity that Schwartz lvoes?

 

 

Brooks takes an early lead in Safety battle:
The battle for the backup Safety spot is set to be contested between Jaylen Watkins and Terrence Brooks, but it looks as though the former Raven has taken an early lead.

After a big interception against the Giants last year, Brooks made a name for himself in the locker room after joining the team during the heart of the season. Now, with a full offseason to get acquainted with the scheme and get his nose to the grind-stone, it looks as though Brooks is flashing some of the potential he showed as a Raven and during his days as a Seminole.

 

 

A inter-team rivalry continues to build:
One of the big rivalries that built up during OTA’s was Alshon Jeffery vs Rasul Douglas. A competitive rapport saw the two sharpen each other throughout the camp, with a flurry of big plays from both parties, ultimately leading Jeffery to take the upper hand but speak highly of his competition. Well now, that rivalry looks to be re-ignited for training camp.

Iron sharpens Iron, and for a rookie corner to be learning from a receiver so physically dominant, it can only mean good things. But this is going to be one of the big things to keep an eye on as camp progresses.

 

 

Barnett vs Peters:
Arguably the most interesting narrative of the day was how the man who broke Reggie White’s sack record as a Tennessee Volunteer, and was drafted in the first round by the Eagles, would match up against a future hall of famer in Jason Peters. Well, according to Turron Davenport noted, there was a lot of back and forth.

Seeing Barnett physically have to be at his best and use that ankle flexion to get to Wentz is impressive, but knowing that Peters is going to force him to get creative and use inside moves is just as exciting, it’s what camp is all about. Barnett has a huge upside, and if anybody can help him push toward that, it’s one of the greatest offensive linemen in Eagles history.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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