On Wednesday evening, head coach Doug Pederson gathered the entire Eagles team together for the first time since spring practices ended in June. This morning, the players will undergo conditioning tests ahead of the first full-team practice later this afternoon. We will have complete coverage throughout the day as well as a wrap-up on Inside Training Camp presented by Xfinity. Until then, here are the 5 Things to Know for Thursday, July 28 ...
1. Jon Dorenbos: A National Phenomenon
The only player to not report to the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday was long snapper Jon Dorenbos. He had a pretty good excuse.
Dorenbos advanced to the semifinals of the network television reality show America's Got Talent after a fan vote helped him survive a roster cutdown of sorts.
For years, Eagles fans have known about Dorenbos' talent as a magician both on and off the field, but now the entire country knows how special he is.
"He represents us, the organization, this city on that show like a professional," Pederson said on Wednesday. "Obviously his talent is something I think that when football is said and done for him, I think he's definitely got a career in Las Vegas or Atlantic City or wherever. But yeah, I'm pulling for him and excited for where he could go."
2. Paolantonio: All Eyes Are On The Eagles
On this week's edition of the Eagles Live podcast with Dave Spadaro, ESPN's Sal Paolantonio offered his thoughts on what he thinks is the biggest storyline heading into the start of full-team practices at Eagles Training Camp.
"One of the most complex, complicated, compelling quarterback situations in the National Football League," Paolantonio said. "I think a lot of people around the league are interested in how this will play out."
Pederson reiterated this week that Sam Bradford is the starter, Chase Daniel is the backup and Carson Wentz is No. 3. Paolantonio believes that it would be "shocking" if Bradford is not taking the first offensive snap when the Eagles open the regular season at home against the Cleveland Browns. Furthermore, he believes Pederson is truly "committed to this plan" and that there "will be a long leash" for Bradford.
Paolantonio gave credit to Bradford for how the quarterback has handled the situation since his two-week hiatus early in the offseason program after first learning of the trade to acquire the No. 2 overall pick which was used on Wentz.
"I think he's handled it pretty well coming back from his AWOL stint. ... Sense of maturity and calmness about it," Paolantonio said.
3. Early Winners In Training Camp
On Wednesday's Inside Training Camp presented by Xfinity, Dave Spadaro and I discussed which players stood out during the rookie and selected veteran practices, as well as what these players need to prove now.
On offense, we went with running back Wendell Smallwood, the fifth-round pick out of West Virginia. He has looked smooth as a route runner, catching the ball cleanly out of the backfield. The one question moving forward is how well does he pass protect? It's a prerequisite in the West Coast-type offenses. You need your backs to be proficient in pass protection.
Defensively, cornerback Jalen Mills has been all around the football. He's versatile, smart and athletic. He was a four-year starter at LSU, no small feat. Mills must now be able to be this type of player with the pads on. Jim Schwartz wants his cornerbacks to be physical and tough. We don't need to see cornerbacks being dragged 30 yards down the field this season.
4. A Different Perspective
Safety Blake Countess sported a helmet cam during Wednesday's practice so the coaches can see what he's looking at before and during a play. The tape could also be shown to an opposing wide receiver to find out what the man lining up across from him is attempting to glean prior to the snap of the ball.
"Those are great devices to have. In fact, we used them in the Kansas City with the quarterbacks," Pederson said. "We've had them on their helmets before. It gives you an opportunity to kind of see from the players' vantage point where they're looking, where their eyes are. Are they in the right direction? Are they on the right reads? And defensively are (they) in the right spots? And then you can evaluate and help correct the player."
Pederson added that depending on how the film from the camera looks they will use it to help develop positions.
5. Make Plans To Join Us This Sunday
The first Open Practice, themed "Kids Run the Show Day," takes place this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Parking is free. Admission is free. This is your initial opportunity to see the 2016 Philadelphia Eagles in action. Gates open at 8 AM and practice kicks off at 10 AM. Before, during and after practice there are tons of fun activities for all ages. Click here for more details.