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July 26, 2016

Eagles Links: Cornerback appears wide open

Eagles NFL

The Eagles quarterback situation might be murky in Week 14, but it isn’t heading into the season. Doug Pederson laid down the law on the first day of training camp. Sam Bradford is 1 and Carson Wentz is 3.

Cornerback, on the other hand, could go in a number of directions. Free agent Leodis McKelvin appears to have one of the starting spots on the outside, but even JaCorey Shepherd thinks he has a shot for the other one. From the Inquirer’s Jeff McLane:

Shepherd isn't settling for the nickel corner role. He wants to start on the outside and said that he has as good a chance as any of the competitors.

"Hell, yeah. It's open, baby," Shepherd said. "No job is taken yet, and that's the way I'm going to attack it. Regardless of how many [defensive backs] we have in the room, I know I'm going for a starting spot."

Like Shepherd, Nolan Carroll is in the mix after returning from a season-ending injury. Unlike Shepherd, Carroll got the opportunity to play on the outside last season (and he played well), but he’s already 29 years old.

Defensive backs coach Cory Undlin is back, but he’s teaching a different system under Jim Schwartz. From the Daily News’ Les Bowen:

Under Schwartz, "it's about challenging (receivers) more," Carroll said. "Last year there was more emphasis on our zone, and there was a lot of gray area in what we were doing. This year it's simple. It's man-to-man, you've got to hold up on your own. Those front-four guys are going to rush . . . we've got a deep safety, the linebackers are going to clean up anything that comes their way, and the corners, we just have to get the job done at the line, mess up the timing of the routes."

The Eagles will play a different style, and Schwartz won't be a stickler for size at the cornerback position. Who will get to play in that new scheme still remains very much up in the air, though.

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice

We certainly produced a lot of #content on the first day of training camp. Here it is:

1.    Rowe’s hiccups: Pederson made it seem like the second-year corner is starting from behind.

2.    A look at Seumalo: The rookie wasn’t here for spring practices, but it seems like he’ll have every chance to beat out Allen Barbre for the left guard spot.

3.    Not a redshirt: Bradford is Pederson’s guy… for now.

4.    Good dude: Bradford, Wentz, and Chase Daniel talk about their recent trip to San Diego and the general dynamic in the quarterbacks room.

5.    Pederson transcript: All Doug, all the time.

6.    Jimmy’s practice notes: Undrafted rookie running back Byron Marshall was impressive as a receiver.

7.    The Green Goblin: How about Jalen Mills’ hair?

8.    Honeymoon over: Angelo Cataldi writes about the Eagles rookie head coach.

9.    A show about nothing: Wentz is already fluent in quarterback.

Other Eagles news, notes and analysis from around the web:

Issues for All 32 Teams: Peter King, The MMQB

In the words of King: Can someone play quarterback well enough, in a very winnable division, for the Eagles to win 11 games?

Sam Bradford is over his funk, and you’d assume he’d keep the job as long as he stays upright. But that’s always an issue. This camp will be a lot about Doug Pederson showing he’s up to such a big job in such a tough town, and about whether Carson Wentz can force his way into competition for playing time with a strong summer.

Biggest injury question mark on all 32 NFL teams: Phil Sheridan, ESPN.com

Not Bradford!

Left tackle Jason Peters missed two games last season and was limited in several other games because of a pinched nerve in his back that caused pain in his legs. Peters stands to benefit from new coach Doug Pederson's approach -- no more no-huddle offense, chances to rest up during the practice week -- but time is not on the 34-year-old's side. While the Eagles have their next left tackle in Lane Johnson, Peters' absence would disrupt the line by forcing a backup to play right tackle.

Josh Gordon reinstatement news is good for Eagles and bad for the Cowboys, Giants: Brandon Gowton, Bleeding Green Nation

Some expert schedule reading from Gowton (but seriously, it's a good point), as the Eagles face the Browns in Week 1 and will still avoid playing against Gordon:

It's also good news for the Eagles that Gordon will be back on the field in time for Cleveland's games against the Dallas Cowboys (Week 9) and New York Giants (Week 12). Even with Gordon, the Browns are expected to be a bad team this year, but his addition should make them at least a little better.

Sam Bradford: I Have A ‘Subtle’ Leadership Style: Josh Paunil, Birds 24/7

I thought this was an interesting back-and-forth from yesterday, as Bradford stuck up for himself:

“I think you guys expect a big rah-rah, someone who’s yelling at people every play, and that’s just not me,” Bradford said. “I think there’s a lot of subtle things that you guys probably aren’t privy to or can’t hear from where you guys are at. But like I said, I just try to be myself and take control when I need to.”


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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