Friday might be the end of your work week, but there's plenty to be done around the NovaCare Complex with the first preseason game coming up next Thursday. That's not the only good news for the Eagles. Learn more in today's 5 Things to Know for Friday, August 5. Make sure to join us at 11 AM when head coach Doug Pederson addresses the media. You can watch online and on our app ...
1. Brooks, Mathews Make Their Training Camp Debut
Guard Brandon Brooks and running back Ryan Mathews are out on the practice field for the first time during Training Camp on Friday. Brooks was sidelined due to a hamstring injury. Mathews was placed on the active/non-football injury list with an ankle injury suffered during training ahead of camp.
The news is welcome because safety Malcolm Jenkins (hamstring) and tackle Jason Peters (quad) were injured during Thursday's practice. Neither player was on the field Friday.
2. Injuries Open Up Opportunities
Injury is the last thing the Eagles need during Training Camp, but it will help sort out some of the position battles.
There is no question who will start at safety with Jenkins and Rodney McLeod in place. With Jenkins injured, Ed Reynolds got the chance to work with the first-team unit alongside McLeod on Thursday. Jaylen Watkins and Chris Maragos had the opportunity in the early portion of Friday's practice.
Reynolds finally cracked the 53-man roster last year and started the final three games of the season. He had 20 tackles and added his first career interception in the win over Buffalo. He's had a taste of getting playing time and doesn't want to relinquish it.
"It was a focus for me this offseason to put myself in any situation and feel comfortable," Reynolds said. "As a safety in this defense, you have to do it all."
3. Outside Of The Safety Position, Schwartz Not Pleased
After a dominant day on Wednesday, the Eagles' defense had its share of struggles on Thursday. And defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was not happy about it.
"You saw what happened. We'd make a play, give up a play. Make a play, give up a play. That's not a way to play defense; that's not a way to play football," Schwartz said. "We've got to be consistent and that's our challenge. Our challenge is ironing that out … as a unit, we have to be more consistent. And that goes for everybody.
Following the comment, Schwartz made sure to excuse the safety duo of Jenkins and McLeod from the "everybody" group.
"Everybody's going to make a mistake. I make a lot, players make a lot," he said. "The key is don't make the same one twice. Learn from your mistake. That's where our challenge is, and we're probably like 31 other teams in the NFL this time in Training Camp. Everybody's striving for the same thing – to be consistent from front to back, to have everybody on the same page, and then that allows the guys' talent to show."
4. Curry Loves Playing For Schwartz
Defensive end Vinny Curry is looking forward to the middle of the season when he won't be asked anymore if he's worried about being traded to another team. Over the last three years, Curry was a valuable pass-rush asset to the team, but wasn't a natural fit for the team's 3-4 scheme. He had to line up directly across from an offensive lineman which would negate his ability to fly off the edge and get to the quarterback.
Curry was signed to a long-term contract this offseason with the intent of incorporating that speed into the new defense. Even though he was miscast for the previous front, he still posted 12.5 sacks while playing roughly a third of the defensive snaps. Curry has embraced new coordinator Jim Schwartz's aggressive approach to the defense.
"You got to have coaches like that," Curry said. "It's old-school, hard-nosed football. Just attack."
Take a look at today's practice as the Eagles prepare for their preseason opener next Thursday.
5. Repeat After Me: Watch On Comcast SportsNet
The first two Eagles preseason games will be on Comcast SportsNet and Cozi due to the Olympics before shifting over to NBC10. Kickoff against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is set for next Thursday night at 7 PM. Before checking out Scott Graham, Mike Mayock and Dave Spadaro, we will have a live 30-minute Kickoff Show presented by Axalta online and our app.