Eagles Training Camp: BullDAWGS dominate on day 1

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Philadelphia Eagles Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith
Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles’ Nolan Smith, right, and Jalen Carter speak during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Training Camp is finally here. After months of anticipation, the Philadelphia Eagles took to the NovaCare Complex today for their first practice of the Summer. Here’s everything you need to know.

Eagles Injury report

The good news is that the Eagles are relatively healthy. Outside of a couple of minor injuries, the Eagles have a clean bill of health heading into the Summer which is music to the ears of just about everyone. The task for Nick Sirianni and co. will be maintaining that through the Summer.

Eagles Running backs ready to rotate

After Howie Roseman decided to replace Miles Sanders with Rashaad Penny and then trade for D’Andre Swift, there was naturally a lot of curiosity about this new-look backfield coming into today’s practice. Who would be the leader of the pack? Is it a full committee effort? We did get some kind of answer in today’s presser:

DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 02: Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny (20) runs with the ball during the third quarter of an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions on October 2, 2022 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire)

“Everybody has an opportunity to earn roles, and looking forward to watching that position group battle because there’s a lot of good options there, so they’ll rotate throughout [camp].

You’re going to see Boston [Scott] in with the ones, you’re going to see Kenny [Gainwell] in with the ones, you’re going to see [Rashaad] Penny in with the ones, you’re going to see D’Andre [Swift], and you’re going to see Trey Sermon in with the ones.

And you’re going to see him with the twos and you’re going to see him in with the threes, so there’s no set [order] with it because of the way they all need to get reps and we don’t care where those are happening. They all need to get reps and they will all get reps with different groups.”

Nick Sirianni

Well, the proof was in the pudding today. Rashaad Penny was seen working with all three units on the opening day of Camp, meaning that it really is open season at the running back position. It should also place some extra emphasis on preseason. I can’t imagine there being a single back sat without pads on by the time the third preseason game rolls around. Iron sharpens Iron, and the battle is heating up in Philadelphia.

Dallas Goedert starts out strong

Dallas Goedert has almost become the forgotten hero of this star-studded offense, but he reminded everyone of his talents on Wednesday.

Even in a year where he split targets with two all-star wideouts, Dallas Goedert put up 702 yards and a hat-trick of touchdowns. It will be interesting to see how he fares in 2023.

He wasn’t the only TE to put up a strong day. Tyree Jackson has claimed the crown of ‘Training Camp King’ once before but injuries have stood in the way between him and a full-time role in this offense. A big day at the office from the former QB at least put reinforced some positivity. He’s very much in the hunt to secure the vacant TE2 role and there are plenty of others breathing down his neck.

Secondary stands out at Eagles Training Camp

Maybe James Bradberry took being left off the NFL Top 100 Players list personally. If he did, then we could be in for one explosive season. The former Giants CB hit the ground running on Wednesday and made a couple of big-time plays down in the red zone.

He was backed up by ‘Ed’ Reed Blankenship, who rapidly became a fan-favorite last season. Blankenship figures to have a starting role in the Eagles secondary and if he can keep momentum rolling, there’s going to be very little standing in his way. He should be the full-time starter alongside Terrell Edmunds, although nothing is ever certain in the NFL. However, if he can continue to string together strong practices to build on an impressive rookie campaign, it won’t be a tough decision for Sean Desai to make.

Job’s not finished for Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts returned to the NovaCare Complex with a vengeance. His mission was simple – to focus on getting 1% better everyday and to keep the blinkers on. He told reporters that he declined to be on Netflix’s new show, Quarterback, which follows 3 NFL quarterbacks through an entire season in a ‘Drive to Survive’ like fashion. He declined for both 2022 and 2023, stating that his journey isn’t finished and his story will be told in due time.

You can’t help but love the maturity from a man who has just signed a $255M contract extension with the Eagles. Hurts went right back to work, not wanting to distract his teammates by putting more attention and pressure on him and those close by.

When he took to the field, it was a little shaky, but that was to be expected. He still threw a pair of touchdowns, flashed his athleticism, and threw some darts for good measure.


BullDAWGS steal the show at Eagles Camp

Perhaps the biggest takeaway of the day came from the Georgia BullDAWGS. The two rookies who were added in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, Nolan Smith & Jalen Carter, drew attention very early on.

Jalen Carter had a would-be sack on Jalen Hurts, while Nolan Smith flashed his incredible speed off the edge. It’s not yet clear if Smith will line up as an EDGE, or as an OLB like Reddick, or a mix of the two. The latter is probably the most likely.

As if fans weren’t excited enough to see the duo in action, they start ripping up the turf on the first day of camp.

This year’s summer sensation from Eagles Camp?

From Tyree Jackson to Paul Turner, there has been no shortage of underdogs stealing the spotlight over the past decade when it comes to Eagles Training Camp. If you want to place your bets early, Christian Elliss could be the man to snatch that title this year.

After picking off a pair of passes in OTA’s, he got right back to work on Wednesday, interception a wobbly Marcus Mariota. With a potential first-team role up for grabs, do not write this underdog off just yet. Keep an eye out for his name over the next few weeks.

Don’t forget to stay locked in to Philly Sports Network for all the latest from Eagles Training Camp, and to check out our DAILY LIVE BREAKFAST SHOW over at our YouTube channel!

AP Photo/Matt Slocum