And now we can talk about … football. What we all want to talk about and focus on and dig deep into. Every player was present and accounted for and the first of three mandatory minicamp practices went off without a hitch and, well, it was a beautiful scene at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday.
OK, so the players didn’t wear pads and they didn’t tackle, but the practice was crisp and it was competitive and the Eagles emerged with no injuries – keep fingers crossed for two more days. It was what we wanted it to be.
“It was fun out there,” right tackle Lane Johnson said. “It’s always good to get with the whole team and get after it. We know this is just a minicamp, but I felt there was a lot of energy in the building and on the field.”
There is no depth chart at this point and there won’t be one until the Eagles put together something tentative prior to the open of the preseason. So, that’s not even part of the conversation.
What matters is that when you look out on the field, you see competition everywhere. A safety position that is so solid with starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod is bolstered by the arrival of Andrew Sendejo, who was everywhere on the field on Tuesday. You see linebacker Zach Brown fitting in as young veterans Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nathan Gerry grow with confidence. You see a defensive line that is hungry and firing off the football, and you see a defense that is in constant attack mode.
On offense, you see Jordan Howard getting his touches in a variety of ways. You see a deep playbook that hopes to carve up a defense with the running game and a passing game that features four and five legitimate threats on every play.
You see a hungry team looking to finish the spring strong.
This is the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles.
“I think everybody feels like we can have something special but we have to keep working at it,” wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said. “It’s going to be fun seeing it all come together.”
What are the objectives for this mandatory camp? One, obviously, the Eagles want to come out healthy and head to Training Camp with everyone on board and ready to compete. Two, the coaches want to see that they’ve got legitimately tough decisions to make as far as the competitive nature of the depth chart. The idea is that every position is pushed and that when it comes down to making the cut to reduce the roster to 53 players, it’s going to be a very difficult thing for Howie Roseman to do.
Tuesday, the Eagles played with speed on offense and aggressiveness on defense. The energy level was terrific. The crispness of the work added to the feeling that Training Camp is going to be a whole lot of fun to watch and that, truly, the end-to-end competition on the roster is going to be exactly as the coaching staff and front office wants.
“Just keep pushing,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re doing here. This is the next step for us this spring. Then we move on to Training Camp.”
What happened on the field on Tuesday has been evaluated and corrections have been made the Eagles are on to Wednesday, and then Thursday, and then it’s vacation time for the players and coaches.
Tuesday was just a reminder that, with the full team here, with every veteran present and accounted for, 2019 is coming along just as the Eagles drew it up. Even without the pads and the tackling and the “live” periods, it was a refreshing afternoon of football, of watching the players competing, of getting a taste of the X’s and O’s.
It was Eagles football, and it felt darn good.