July 28, 2017
Training camp at the NovaCare Complex will be ratcheted up a notch on Friday morning, as the full squad should go through a more competitive practice than the one on Thursday. And even after he played all 16 games last season, the one burning question remains the same as this time last year: What do the Eagles have in Carson Wentz?
A couple of writers believe that is the Eagles’ biggest question coming into training camp. First, ESPN’s Tim McManus:
Coach Doug Pederson described Wentz as "refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to go" this week as the Eagles kicked off training camp. Wentz added that he is in "a way better place" mentally than this time a year ago when he was dealing with the major transition from North Dakota State to the pros. Now armed with Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith at receiver and with a year in this system under his belt, the expectation is that Wentz will take his game to another level in 2017.
And next, NFL.com’s Pete Prisco:
He was thrown in right away as a rookie last year and got off to a great start. But then things leveled off. I think with an entire year in the system, he will be that much better. Wentz has to the tools to be a big-time passer, but the expectations were a little high after his fast start last season.
As much as we enjoy talking about the whole roster (Derek Barnett’s pass-rush moves, Alshon Jeffery’s deep-ball skills, etc.), this whole thing still boils down to Wentz. We’ll start to get a better look at if or how the Eagles QB is progressing today.
1. A Bird & the hand: After busting on Jimmy Kempski for reporting the story "before my freaking mom knew about it," Jordan Hicks said his broken hand will not cause him to miss any time.
2. "It's all about building that chemistry": Eagles coach Doug Pederson likes what's developing between Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery
3. Respect, not money: Jordan Matthews won’t say much about his knee, but he was adamant about not missing Eagles spring practices due to contractual concerns.
4. Training camp notes: Not much happened at Eagles practice yesterday, but Doug Pederson on the Kempski Periscope is some Grade-A #content.
5. The new guy: After getting rid of a few players on Wednesday, the Eagles added a linebacker to the roster.
6. Oops: Ranking the worst Eagles draft picks since 1999. Fun list!
NFL's best (and worst) arsenals: 32-1 offensive weapons ranking: Bill Barnwell, ESPN
In ranking the running back, receiver and tight end grouping around the NFL, Barnwell ranks the Eagles weapons 17th. That’s a lot better than where they would’ve been last season:
Carson Wentz needed wide receivers, so the Eagles went shopping and came away with an interesting buy-low tandem in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, each of whom should have plenty left in the tank. Suddenly, Wentz is spoiled for options given that he can turn to Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz or Darren Sproles when Jeffery and Smith are covered. LeGarrette Blount is coming off a career year (18 TDs) with the Patriots and should still be a useful back between the tackles, although Sproles will end up being the savior of the team for a stretch in September, as seems to be the case every season.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins believes he already has CTE: Geoff Mosher, FanRag Sports
In addition to a leader of the defense (not to mention a pretty darn good safety), Malcolm Jenkins might be the most thoughtful player on the Eagles roster. Here’s what he had to say about the most recent report on CTE in NFL players:
“At this point based on that study, CTE is probably inevitable,” he said. “I probably already have it. Although it’s scary because it’s new information and … it’s one of those things that everybody is focusing on, it’s easy to kind of get freaked out about, but at the end of the day it’s there, it’s unavoidable and it’s something we can’t measure.”
Busted: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
Lawlor puts a bow on the Marcus Smith era, and man, what an era of Eagles football it was:
Good defensive players play with anger or desperation. They attack the QB/RB/WR like a lion on the hunt. See prey. Attack prey. Kill prey. Smith never showed that edge. He was quick off the ball. He was athletic. But he didn’t play with a chip on his shoulder. He wasn’t desperate to get to the QB. If you could take the fire that burned inside of Trent Cole and put that in Smith, you’d have one heck of a pass rusher. Instead you had a tease. Smith would flash some athleticism and then disappear for a quarter or two.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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