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5 Things: A Different Look At Doug Pederson


After over 18,000 fans viewed the first Open Practice of 2016 on Sunday, the Eagles return to the NovaCare Complex for a 10-10-10 practice on Monday. It's the first of the month of August, which means that preseason action is now just 10 days away for the Eagles. We will recap all of the today's action on Inside Training Camp presented by Xfinity, but until then here are the 5 Things to Know for Monday, August 1 ...

1. Rookies Get Their First Taste Of The Linc

After signing autographs in the end zone following the Open Practice, quarterback Carson Wentz noticed along the sideline that a row of fans were sporting North Dakota State Bison (pronounced Bizon I've learned) gear and waving a giant banner. Wentz was being ushered off the field to return to the NovaCare Complex for meetings, but didn't want to disappoint the fans so he ran along the wall giving high-fives on the way to the locker room.

"It's exciting, without a doubt," said Wentz, who signed plenty of No. 11 jerseys (I'll assume they weren't repurposed Tim Tebow jerseys). "I was a little surprised to be honest how many people were here for a practice. I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm getting used to the craziness that this place is. It's special."

Cornerback Ron Brooks took selfies with fans and jumped onto the ledge of the wall to sit and chat while signing autographs. Rookie guard Isaac Seumalo said the experience was akin to Christmas in July.

"It's pretty freaking cool," Seumalo said. "As a kid, you always dream of being on an NFL field."

The Eagles open the preseason at the Linc on August 11 against Tampa Bay. On August 14, the Eagles host their final Open Practice of the summer, an evening affair honoring our nation's Armed Forces.

2. Week 1 Is In The Books. What Have We Learned?

Dave Spadaro offered his views from the first week of Training Camp in his latest On the Inside column. Here's what he thinks the offense will look like with head coach Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich at the helm.

"The offensive structure is interesting and varied as Doug Pederson and Frank Reich mesh their concepts. There are going to be a lot of high-percentage passes, for sure, as the Eagles move the chains. Darren Sproles, for example, should be much more involved in the passing game than he has been in the last two seasons. The tight ends, no question, are going to be heavily involved in the passing game," Spadaro wrote.

"The Eagles are going to take some shots down the field, and they need to have someone step up and become a reliable down-the-field threat in the passing game. Reich and Pederson are going to rely heavily on favorable matchups, so all of the advance scouting and gameplanning will be critical."

One of the storylines to watch as Training Camp evolves is who will be that big-play option?

Travel back to July 2016 to Eagles Camp Open Practice at Lincoln Financial Field, where the kids stole the show!

3. Will Ertz Be A Red Zone Threat?

Pederson lavished praise upon tight end Zach Ertz on Sunday, calling him "a great tight end" and as someone "coming into his own now."

Ertz was deadly at the end of 2015 with 450 yards in the final four games of the season, becoming only the second NFL tight end to do that in any four-game span since 2013. One area where it will be interesting to see if Ertz improves is in the red zone. He scored two touchdowns in 2015 and both of them came after the calendar turned to December.

"You're seeing a lot of teams drop eight and there are more guys into the pass coverage as opposed to the pass rush, because teams are trying to throw the football," Pederson said. "It just comes down to scheme and how you're trying to attack a defense in the red zone.

"But we fully expect to use his talent down there and his size and his ability to separate and make plays."

4. Pederson Featured In The MMQB

The MMQB's Peter King was at the Open Practice on Sunday after spent time with Pederson. King has been on the record as someone who is bullish about the Eagles in 2016. He argued that Pederson is "facing the most pressure" of all the NFL's new head coaches this season. One player who followed Pederson from Kansas City to Philadelphia explains why the players are on board with the new head coach.

"He's putting himself out there way more here," quarterback Chase Daniel said. "He's connecting with the guys. He's very much a player's coach and he's exciting. He's almost more exciting than some of the players, and guys have really bought into that."

5. Carroll Relishes A True Training Camp

Nolan Carroll was the team's best cornerback in 2015 until an ankle injury ended his year on Thanksgiving. A free agent this past offseason, Carroll returned on a one-year deal. The Eagles brought in a lot of veteran free agents at cornerback with former Jim Schwartz players in Leodis McKelvin and Ron Brooks.

"I'm not really worried about the competition," Carroll said. "I'm worried about my job and that's it."

While there's uncertainty about who will start, Carroll is sure that the defense will be "tremendously better" in 2016. The Eagles ranked 28th in points allowed, 30th in yards allotted and 31st in touchdown passes surrendered.

Why? Two reasons. Schwartz's defense makes it easier to communicate on the field. The other? Pederson's Training Camp structure.

"This is a true Training Camp. ... It's designed to make us tougher," Carroll said. "When it gets to December, January, we'll look back at these times and we know this is where the foundation started."

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