Another week has passed which means we’re seven days closer to Football. This period may be regarded as ‘the calm before the storm’, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t topics to talk about. Here are a few takeaways from the second week of OTA practices.
The Eagles added Joe Callahan to their roster this offseason with the intent of building a complete quarterback picture for the 90-man roster. Unquestionably, this has put a lot of pressure on the team’s current quarterback, Nate Sudfeld, who will have the former Green Bay Packer breathing down his neck.
So far however, Sudfeld has been on a surge. Mack Hollins went out of his way to say that Sudfeld could be a potential future MVP and in the two OTA sessions available to the media, there has been nothing but glowing praise for the former Indiana Signal caller.
This will be a battle that will be fought deep into training camp and preseason, but with a season of experience under Doug Pederson already, it’s safe to say that he isn’t taking this offseason lightly.
There is a scenario in which after this season, Nick Foles departs for a starting role, leaving the QB2 vacancy wide open for Sudfeld to step into. In order to fill those boots in this hypothetical scenario, beating out a former Gagliardi Trophy winner in order to cement his current role is an absolute must.
Much has been said of DeVante Bausby this week and with good reason. As the battle for the recently vacated nickel role unfolds, Bausby has seen plenty of time inside. Surprisingly, at just 25-years old, he’s also the oldest cornerback on the Eagles roster.
After lighting up two sessions of OTA’s, the former scout-team standout is looking to capitalize on the opening in the slot while the day is still young. Having spent most of his NFL career on practice squads, this may be one of his last opportunities to carve out a special teams role and beyond. So far, so good.
Rotation is key during any offseason and it’s a word for many underdogs, that embodies an opportunity to turn heads with the starters on the sideline. It’s still very early days and we haven’t seen the players with pads on just yet, but Bausby has already tossed his hat into the equation as one of the names that many fans will have circled in red for Training Camp.
The waiting begins:
OTA’s can only present us so much, especially with media members only able to attend one session per week as of right now. Without pads and with so much rotation, it’s hard to really take anything overly substantial away. The one thing we can say with confidence however is that we’re in for much of the same when Training Camp begins. A tough, hard-fought, competitive camp that will bring the best out of every position, lies on the horizon. There are so many positional duels that will take place and we could well be in for some big shocks too. The more we see from OTA’s, the more suspense builds over how the roster will shake out in order to build the best team to defend their title.
Rasul Douglas at Safety?
I’ve been banging this drum for a few weeks now, having referenced it in several articles before writing a feature on the topic. However, I wanted to see just how likely this move could be. I broke down the game film of the cornerback’s rookie season, to look at the strengths and weaknesses in his game. The result?
Eagles culture receives warm praise
After an offseason of slander for the Patriots culture, with several players stepping forward to describe the often hostile work environments that sucked all the fun out of the room, it’s led to a series of players speaking incredibly positively about the Eagles culture. Brandon Brooks has been the latest to do so, following in the trend of Lane Johnson, stating the following via Bleeding Green Nation:
“It’s crazy that people haven’t known this,” said Brooks. “It’s been this way for like a decade. You’ve seen— Reggie Wayne did it. He retired. He went there [to the Patriots] for a training camp and retired. Shit is not fun there. I was under the same regime in Houston [with O’Brien]. I almost retired. Shit was miserable, every day. Every day.”
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When talking with Trey Burton ahead of his final season as an Eagle, he told me just how unique the vibe in the Eagles locker room really is.
“One of my favorite things about Doug is one of his biggest mottos, “let your personality show”. You don’t hear coaches say that very often. They don’t want crazy things to happen. Doug used to say that all the time and everytime he would say that, to me personally it gave me peace. It would calm me down and let me be who I am, instead of being like a robot and trying to impress a coach who likes a tighter ship.”
Another endorsement for the emotional intelligence of Doug Pederson is music to the ears of most Eagles fans, but I can’t help but feel like this narrative is being pushed in the wrong way. Not many people in the world find work ‘fun’, especially when you’re working as hard as you can to achieve the ultimate goal in your profession. If you’re consistently achieving that, or working under someone who has, then that tighter ship is bound to be restrictive and tough. The Eagles have attacked a Footballing culture with a fresh approach that has led several NFL players to compare that to their own, in turn presenting a complete contrast and questioning just how ‘fun’ their job really is. I wouldn’t put a lot of value on work being fun or miserable, but if you work under a boss who lets you be yourself, then you’re undoubtedly going to feel more comfortable and confident and I think that’s what it boils down to.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports