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5 Things To Know Today: August 18

Posted Aug 18, 2014

It's a busy Monday at the NovaCare Complex as the team hosts another training session to prep for Thursday's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 11 AM, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur and defensive coordinator Bill Davis meet the media. Following the training session at around 1:45, running back LeSean McCoy and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will host press conferences. All of them will be streamed online or on our app. Until then, here are the 5 Things To Know Today to get your week started ...

1. Foles Isn't Concerned About Chemistry

The silver lining to the injuries that the Eagles have incurred at the wide receiver position is that quarterback Nick Foles has had plenty of time and reps to develop chemistry with all of the receivers. However, Riley Cooper returned to practice Sunday and Jeremy Maclin could return today. Rookie Jordan Matthews has worked all summer with the second-team unit at slot receiver, but is expected to be an integral part of the offense. Even though Foles has not been able to work with the starting receivers for much of Training Camp, he is confident that he will be on the same page as them once the season kicks off.

"It's one of those things where when I'm not in, I'm watching them. I'm watching their routes, I'm talking to them and I'm able to see film on them so I get a feel for them, and I know their personalities and where they like the ball so if they go out there and play together I'll feel comfortable. I trust each and every one of those guys," Foles said.

2. Ryans: Game Must Slow Down For Marcus Smith II

Head coach Chip Kelly assessed first-round pick Marcus Smith II's performance Friday night against New England and said that he wanted more production out of the rookie linebacker. Smith was on the field for 73 defensive snaps and another eight on special teams. Linebacker DeMeco Ryans said the extensive snaps were good because it'll help the game slow down for Smith.

"I think he has all the ability. He has all the size, ability and talent. The game has to slow down for him. There's a lot going on being it's his first year and we run a lot of different things on defense," Ryans said. "He has a lot on his plate right now and it's kind of tough for any rookie. He just has to take it one day at a time. I see Marcus becoming a really good player once the game slows down for him."

3. Nolan Carroll II Practices, Could Play Thursday

After missing the first two preseason games with a groin injury, cornerback Nolan Carroll II said that he practiced fully on Sunday and hopes to make his debut Thursday night against Pittsburgh. "That's what I'm shooting for," Carroll said.

Signed as a free agent this offseason, Carroll had an impressive Training Camp before suffering the injury. Carroll will be featured in the Eagles' dime package, but was also pushing for a starting spot as well. Even though he's a five-year veteran, Carroll would prefer to get some additional in-game work before the regular season kicks off.

"It's more of a communication thing for me and the safeties, me and the linebackers or me being in another position in the dime. Mychal Kendricks and I have to communicate a lot in that situation. Those are the biggest things missing for me when I was out," Carroll said. "I've got to get mental reps, but I'm more of a guy who has to be out there to do those things. I'm back now and I'll just take it day by day."

4. Ertz: I Want To Be One Of The Best

Tight end Zach Ertz has looked flat out dominant in this year's Training Camp. In the two preseason games, Ertz has six catches for 86 yards and a touchdown. His combination of size and athleticism provides the Eagles' offense a lot of flexibility. After finishing his rookie season with 36 receptions for 469 yards and four touchdowns, Ertz is looking to take his game to another level in 2014.

"I expect myself to get better each and every day. I want to be one of the best tight ends in the game. I want to develop my game at that standard. That's the goal I set for myself and I hopefully I just continue to go to that level," Ertz said. "This Training Camp's been another step in the right direction. I'm not settled with where I'm at now. I'm trying to improve each and every day and continue to get better."

5. Jenkins Encouraged By Turnovers

Veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins understands there are areas of the defense that need to be ironed out before the regular season opener against Jacksonville from the third-down defense to the communication. One aspect of the defense he's pleased with is the ability to generate turnovers. The Eagles had 31 takeaways last season, which tied for third most in the league. They have three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, in this preseason.

"I think the one encouraging thing is that we've had three interceptions in the two games. Getting around the ball has been a positive for us. We still have to keep the ball in front of us. We've had a few big plays kind of go over our heads, but it's encouraging to have those turnovers early," Jenkins said. "That's one thing we've done well in Training Camp that's transitioned to the game."

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