The Eagles have officially started their OTA program today, with opening first practice being open to the media at the NovaCare Complex. Doug Pederson spoke with reporters prior to the action on the practice field, but here’s everything you need to know from the first day of an exciting spring program.
The Eagles are still dealing with a lot of injury hangover from a tumultuous 2018 campaign. The following players, according to various different reports, were absent due to injuries:
Brandon Brooks, Jalen Mills, Fletcher Cox, Josh Adams
Players who participated in warmups, but not team drills: Rodney McLeod, Ronald Darby, Corey Clement, Nigel Bradham, Mack Hollins.
Players skipping workouts: Malcolm Jenkins, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Brown (maybe?).
Both book-end tackles being absent means that there’s a huge window for names like Vaitai, Dillard, Mailata and even swing-guards like Matt Pryor, to step up and make an impact early on.
We know that Malcolm Jenkins absence could well be contract related, although there’s no way of knowing for sure. But here’s why that could be problematic for the Eagles.
What about the players who are present?
Corners steals the show…uh oh
Picking up right where he left off, Avonte Maddox seemed to hit the ground running as the team’s starting nickel cornerback.
The Pitt product proved to be a lifesaver for the Eagles last year, starting at Safety, on the outside, and in the nickel as a fourth-round selection playing in his first season.
There are plenty of battles raging around the Eagles roster right now, but perhaps none more intense than cornerback. To make things even spicier, with Darby and Mills sidelined, players like Maddox, and Douglas, both of whom appeared to shine in the first OTA practice, have increased exposure to first team reps.
The wildcard in all of this, Sidney Jones, also seemed to have a strong day at the office. Jones needs to have a strong offseason after a torrid, injury-plagued start to his NFL career. He seems to be doing just that, giving himself and the Eagles a strong sense of confidence early on.
Training Camp is going to be very juicy indeed, given that both Mills and Darby are essentially in their last contract year, albeit for different reasons. Establishing momentum early will be so important when it comes to deciding how the cornerbacks shake out.
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Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum