Today marks the beginning of Eagles Training Camp practices! The 38 rookies and selected veterans who will take part in the first three days of workouts arrived at the NovaCare Complex on Sunday. The players will hit the field at 8:40 AM and head coach Doug Pederson will address the media following practice at around 10:30 AM. You can watch his media briefing online or on the Eagles' app. Later this afternoon, Dave Spadaro and I will offer a rundown of the highlights, interviews and more on Inside Training Camp presented by Xfinity. Until then, here are the 5 Things to Know for this Monday, July 25.
1. What Is The Biggest Storyline Heading Into Camp?
One could make a strong case for how will quarterback Sam Bradford perform in his second year with the Eagles. Another might say that the defense under new coordinator Jim Schwartz should get top billing. Dave Spadaro weighed in with his opinion and argued that the most important thing to watch is the development of a person in the first year at his position - head coach Doug Pederson.
"A new era winds into uncharted territory as Pederson steers the Eagles through the rest of July and August and into September and the NFL's regular season," Spadaro wrote. "On a team of many plots and sidebars, Pederson is the macro story, the long-term key. A career as a player and an assistant coach, with a four-year pit stop as a high school head coach, Pederson has made the big step as the Eagles' face, the leader, the football CEO with the direct responsibility of restoring this franchise into a playoff team and a year-by-year Super Bowl contender."
2. Advice For The Rookie Quarterback
The Eagles' first-round pick, Carson Wentz, is set to begin his first NFL Training Camp. The No. 2 overall selection is the highest-drafted player by the Eagles since another quarterback, Donovan McNabb, in 1999. Wentz has the luxury of learning behind two veterans in Bradford and Chase Daniel. Another former top pick who played for the Eagles offered Wentz some advice.
"I think it's important for Carson to take his time and just take things one day at a time. Don't rush," said former No. 1 overall pick Michael Vick, who played for the Eagles from 2009-13. "He has guys in front of him that he can learn from and pick their brains - Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel - who are quarterbacks on the rise. Carson was brought here for that reason and at some point it will show, but I think everyone has to be patient with him and not rush him out there."
3. Six Keys To The Eagles' Success
The Eagles open the preseason at home against Tampa Bay on August 11 and one month later kick off the regular season at Lincoln Financial Field against the Cleveland Browns. Philadelphia has not made the playoffs since 2013. Pederson expects to win early as a head coach. He doesn't believe there is time for rebuilding. The Eagles invested in the young core of this team thinking the same thing. How will the Eagles win? Spadaro offered his six keys to the team's success. Fans might have forgotten about the last item.
4. A Special Trait Among Some Of Pederson's Assistants
It certainly wasn't a prerequisite, but eight of the coaches on this Eagles team played in the NFL. Pederson spent 12 years as a quarterback, and he learned the value of having assistant coaches with playing experience from the likes of Don Shula, Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid.
"I think it helps to have played at this level, being out there when the bullets are flying for real and putting the pads on and being in that locker room," Pederson said. "They understand the dynamic of the locker room. They understand what it means to be a teammate, a leader on the football team."
Julie Bacanskas has more on what could be one of the underrated strengths of this football team.
Several Eagles coaches have NFL roots long before their coaching careers began. Learn about their time as players in the league.
5. Will A Longshot Emerge To Make The Roster?
In the first few days of Training Camp, the young players will look to get the coaches' attention so that they can earn more reps once the veterans arrive. It's a critical few days for these Eagles, who are trying to get acclimated to the NFL.
Spadaro profiled one of these players, wide receiver Xavier Rush. An ACL injury prematurely ended his senior season at Tulane and kept him from working out for scouts prior to the NFL Draft in 2015. How did he spend the year away from football? How did he earn a spot on the team's 90-man roster? It's worth the read to see how this young man would not allow a setback to keep him from his dream.