Let the action begin! April 15 marks a significant day here (and not just because we've all finished our taxes and mailed them out!) The NovaCare Complex is buzzing on this Monday, for good reason. The offseason is about to kick into a new gear. Here are 10 Things You Need To Know About the Eagles …
1. Voluntary offseason conditioning program begins Monday
It's all voluntary, so nobody needs to be carried away with much at this point, but it's a start. The Eagles start their offseason conditioning program, Phase One, as players are permitted at team facilities for up to four hours per day and the program consists of two weeks of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. We aren't going to see any depth charts. However, it's the first time since the 2018 season ended that most of the team's roster will be on hand. To this point, only players rehabbing from injuries have been around a whole lot at the NovaCare Complex. The energy level ramps up to a higher level now.
2. Breaking down the current Eagles roster
There are 74 players on the current roster on the way to the maximum of 90 players. By position, the 74 players consist of three quarterbacks, six running backs, five tight ends, 12 wide receivers, 11 offensive linemen, 11 defensive linemen, eight linebackers, 15 defensive backs, and three specialists. What does all of that mean? Honestly, not much of anything. I just thought you'd like to know.
3. Jersey numbers of new Eagles
Because you care … I know you do … Some of the newest Eagles have new jersey numbers assigned – running back Jordan Howard is No. 24 and wide receiver DeSean Jackson is No. 10. But there is still no official jersey number for defensive tackle Malik Jackson or safety Andrew Sendejo or defensive end Vinny Curry, who most certainly wants his No. 75 back. When are the numbers officially assigned? Very soon, but understand that the players aren't even permitted on the field for two more weeks so … what's the rush?
4. NFL regular-season schedule coming soon
This is the week, historically, that the NFL schedule is released. I'm honestly telling you as I write this that no official word has been given, but let's just use history as a guide as say that this is the week. What would a perfect Eagles schedule look like? Buffalo on the road early in the season, Miami late. Green Bay and Lambeau Field sometime early in November. Road games in Minnesota and Atlanta? Both are domes, so who really cares? I know Eagles fans are trembling with anticipation and we're right there with ya. Can't wait to see how many Eagles fans we see on the road this season, especially for the trip to Miami. Can you say "home game on the road," anyone?
5. Eagles have seven draft picks
The NFL Draft begins on Thursday, April 25 and concludes on Saturday, April 27. The Eagles have a total of seven selections, including No. 25 in the first round, 53rd overall and 57th overall in Round 2, 127th and 138th overall in Round 4, a single pick in the fifth round (163th overall), and a pick in Round 6, the 197th overall pick. Using history as an indicator, all of that is subject to change. We all know how much Howie Roseman likes to have conversations with his counterparts around the league. Anything is possible.
6. What happens in Nashville/Philadelphia
The NovaCare Complex is the central nervous system for the Eagles as far as their football decision-making related to the draft. Lincoln Financial Field, of course, will be rocking with the Draft Party, presented by SportsRadio 94WIP, Coca-Cola, Dietz & Watson, and Lincoln Financial Group. In Nashville, the Eagles will have former players Mike Quick and Brent Celek announcing picks (more on that below). The Eagles make their picks at the NovaCare Complex and relay the names to their representatives stationed in Nashville, who then communicate to the league to make the official announcement. How many Eagles fans will be in Nashville? Let me know on the Discussion Boards.
7. Game of Thrones season premiere analysis
Defensive end Chris Long is a Game of Thrones devotee, and he's providing day-after commentary on the final season of the HBO hit show each week on SI.com. Long is, like many of us, totally into the show. He's commented on GOT many times and had this to say about the series to NBC Sports Philly following Season 7 of GOT: "The show is gripping, man. It's almost like you're mad at the show for leaving it where they leave it each week. They have a really good 'cliffhanger' way of doing things." Has there ever been a football player who is so invested in so many things – family, friends, the environment, education, Game Of Thrones – like Chris Long? Brandon Brooks provided his preview of the final season on this week's Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast with Fran Duffy.
8. Preseason schedule recap
You saw the preseason schedule and certainly noted the road trip to Jacksonville to play the Jaguars and former Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, right? Everybody is amped for the preseason. Always. And the fact that the Eagles are hosting Baltimore for some joint practices breaks up the monotony and adds some fresh faces to the summer. The preseason opens with a testing home game against Tennessee and ends with the road game at the New York Jets. Can't wait!
9. Insight into the latest roster moves
The Eagles added three players last week in quarterback Luis Perez and wide receivers Charles Johnson and Greg Ward. There's no telling how they are going to work into the roster picture, but Ward is someone who bears a mention. We saw him for a couple of Training Camps and preseasons and Ward looked like he was making progress and then just didn't seem to take the next step. Remember this about Greg Ward: He played quarterback at the University of Houston. To do what he's done, actually, is amazing. It's going to be interesting to see how far he's developed as a receiver and a return man in his third summer with the Eagles.
10. Quick's draft weekend strategy
Back to Nashville and the Eagles Legends doing the announcing of draft picks. Quick is in for a second-round announcement and Celek is scheduled for a third-round announcement. The Eagles don't currently have a third-round pick so the expectation is that Celek would announce pick No. 57. All of this is subject to the Eagles actually picking in rounds two and three. Anyway, Quick knows he's following the footsteps of former Eagles placekicker David Akers, who delivered the goods in Dallas last year when he announced the selection of tight end Dallas Goedert. What a draft moment to remember! What is Quick's strategy? He knows he's no David Akers. "I can't do that," Quick said. "I'm not good with the rah-rah stuff. I haven't scripted anything as of yet. I don't think I can do what David did. He was exceptional. At this point, I'm just going to announce the pick and then turn around and go sit down."