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5 Things: Enough Juice At Wide Receiver?


Tuesday marks the first day off for the Eagles' players during Training Camp. Practice resumes on Wednesday, but there's plenty of great stuff coming up on and our app throughout the day including a one-on-one interview with linebacker Jordan Hicks as well as a detailed look at the wide receiver position through the eyes of position coach Greg Lewis. Until then, here are the 5 Things to Know for Tuesday, August 2 ...

1. Is This The Year For Zach Ertz?

It's a familiar refrain. Will this be the breakout season for fourth-year tight end Zach Ertz? He "only" had career highs with 75 catches for 853 yards last season despite missing nearly all of two games due to a concussion. He also missed the entire preseason after undergoing core muscle surgery.

But after signing a five-year contract extension in the offseason, Ertz knows that he hasn't reached his full potential. Julie Bacanskas has more.

"I don’t understand what a breakout (season) really means," Ertz said. "I thought I had a good year last year. Obviously, I think there's room for improvement. I'm going into this season as healthy as I've ever been since I've been in the NFL. I'm really excited about this year. I think a lot of guys are excited about the opportunity that's presented in front of us this year. I'm just going out there, not trying to impress anyone in particular – just my teammates."

2. One Week In, Position Battles Update

As the players take a break Tuesday, Dave Spadaro reviewed his notes from the first week of Training Camp and provided an update on five key position battles. What's going on at cornerback?

"Leodis McKelvin seems to have a firm handle on one starting job," Spadaro wrote. "Eric Rowe has been on track in the last few days after an up-and-down spring. Ron Brooks is pushing for playing time outside and in the slot. Nolan Carroll has come back and is showing tenacity after his injury last season. Rookie Jalen Mills is pushing and showing consistency every day. JaCorey Shepherd, Denzel Rice, Randall Evans, Aaron Grymes and C.J. Smith are flashing for the coaching staff."

Click here to read the full position battles recap.

3. Can Nelson Agholor Make The Leap In 2016?

Spadaro's column also touches on the wide receiver position. Will Nelson Agholor make the big jump from Year 1 to Year 2? The 2015 first-round pick had 23 catches for 283 yards and a touchdown as a rookie. He missed three games with a high-ankle sprain that plagued him throughout the season. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said that he saw "flashes" of potential from Agholor when reviewing the tape from last season. The key is now getting that to appear on a week-in, week-out basis.

"He's got a quickness off the line of scrimmage, he has some vertical speed to challenge it deep, and he just has very good footwork," Reich said. "In this league, you have to be able to beat press coverage. You have to, have to, have to beat press coverage. And he has a natural ability to get off the line versus press, and he's got to be able to use that to his advantage to help our team."

4. Taking Advantage Of Bradford's Strengths

Quarterback Sam Bradford likes to keep it simple in the words of his offensive coordinator. That's been a must for Bradford, who has not been able to remain in the same offense year in and year out due to coaching changes throughout his career. The Eagles hope to take advantage of that trait in 2016. Last year, Bradford didn't have time to change up the play at the line of scrimmage because of the Eagles' penchant for using tempo. This year, the Eagles want to streamline the communication so Bradford can survey the defense before the snap.

"If you can keep it as simple as possible when you get to the line of scrimmage and not overcomplicate things and put a million thoughts in your hand, I think it kind of frees you up to react," Bradford said.

One area where Bradford has evolved over the years is the willingness to take what the defense gives him. As a rookie in St. Louis in 2010, Bradford said that he would try to make the perfect play on first down. But an incompletion would lead to second-and-long, where any sort of gain would put the offense in a much more favorable position. With the running backs' ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and strong depth at tight end, the Eagles should be able to convert more third-and-medium situations to keep moving the chains in 2016.

5. Who's Next For The Hall Of Fame?'s Elliot Harrison laid out his case for the player from each franchise who should be the next to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The chalk answer for the Eagles is safety Brian Dawkins, who will be eligible for the first time in 2017.

"With apologies to John Lynch, Steve Atwater and Darren Woodson, there was no better safety in pro football from the late 1990s through the late 2000s," Harrison wrote. "Dawkins patterned his game after Woodson, trying to be the most complete safety possible: stopping the run, making impact plays and, perhaps most importantly, being able to cover."

However, what happened to the candidacy for wide receiver Harold Carmichael.

One of the tallest players to ever suit up in the NFL at 6-8, Carmichael earned Pro Bowl honors four times and finished his 14-year NFL career sixth on the NFL's all-time receptions list with 590. He is still to this day the franchise's leader in receptions (589), receiving yards (8,978) and touchdowns (79).

In 1980, Carmichael won the NFL's Man of the Year Award and helped guide the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance. Carmichael was named to the NFL's 1970s All-Decade Team. He also once owned the NFL record for most consecutive games with a catch (127).

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