I learned that patience is a virtue for the greater good. I learned that social media makes twits out of those who Twitter too quickly. I learned that it's really hard to create content every day when there are no players. I learned that coaches are very creative when it comes to putting in time and scouting and keeping themselves as much ahead of the curve as possible.
I learned that Eagles fans can show remarkable understanding and sympathy in critical times, and that they are not interested in taking sides in disputes like the one that shut down NFL business for 136 days.
And I learned that the Eagles organization stays mighty busy even without football, although I don't want to again go through the kind of offseason we just had.
Fortunately, the new Collective Bargaining Agreement covers 10 years, so we can enjoy the tempo of the year-round game we love without disruption for a full decade.
Everything here -- with the Eagles, that is -- moves forward. I just checked the traffic numbers for our Message Boards and we have a record number of fans online. You are expecting big things from the Eagles. I am expecting big things from the Eagles. Some items the Eagles may check off in the next few days ...
- Training camp is going to happen. The players report on Wednesday and Andy Reid holds his annual kickoff press conference at 5 p.m. on Wednesday from the practice fields at Lehigh University (carried live on PhiladelphiaEagles.com). The Eagles have been working on the operational part of training camp for a little while and you will have a great experience when you arrive. The Eagles have not announced the first day of practice that the public can attend. That information will come on Tuesday. The final day of training camp is Wednesday, August 17, as the Eagles break camp and leave for Pittsburgh and preseason game No. 2.
- Players can report to the NovaCare Complex at 10 a.m. on Tuesday for conditioning work. It is strictly voluntary. I expect to see a few of the fellows on Tuesday.
- Trades are on the table as early as Tuesday, so all eyes will be on quarterback Kevin Kolb. According to reports, teams can make trades as early as 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Will Kolb be traded? Reports indicate that the market is a good one to deal Kolb, and that teams like Arizona and Seattle are very interested. Should Kolb move on, the next question is who the Eagles add at quarterback. Do they go with second-year man Mike Kafka at the No. 2 position behind Michael Vick? Do they go out and sign a veteran? Can't wait to find out.
- Signing draft picks and non-drafted rookies is a huge, huge priority. The expectation is that the process will be more streamlined than in the past, but who knows with these uncharted waters? League general managers are learning the nuances of the new CBA as we speak. Clearly, coaches want the rookies in as soon as possible. These kids have a lot to learn in a short period of time. Good luck to the late-round draft picks and the non-drafted rookies. They are going to have a tough time making 53-man rosters. Those practice squads will never be more valuable, and you may see a revolving door there for quite a bit of the season.
- Which current Eagles who are due to be unrestricted free agents will the team retain? There is no exclusive window of opportunity to negotiate with those players, so this is going to be really tricky. The Eagles used high tenders on players like linebacker Stewart Bradley and running back Jerome Harrison. Do they keep those players? How about punter Sav Rocca? Does he come back? Of course, veterans like placekicker David Akers and safety Quintin Mikell are in the position where, well, they could very well enter free agency and find new teams. Or not. Maybe they stay.
- Of course, the featured attraction is unrestricted free agency and the plan the Eagles have in plan. Whom do they pursue? The Eagles are said to be in excellent salary-cap position and they have indicated they will be aggressive in acquiring players. What does that mean? How do the Eagles help a defense that struggled so much in the red zone last season? Which players do the Eagles look to bring in to make a difference? Doesn't this team need two difference makers on defense, at least?
- Down the line, and I don't expect this to be an early priority, the Eagles have to decide which players on the current roster they want to extend contractually. I'm not going to name names here. You know who they are. It's going to be fascinating to see.
- The coaches have a lot of work to do in a shorter period of time, and this is the essence of which teams are going to move forward after the long work stoppage. To think a coach can teach an entire playbook to a rookie is foolish. This is going to be done in bits and pieces. Technique work is going to be the first order of business in practice. Players new to the Eagles will learn how efficient Andy Reid is. They will learn that his tempo is not like most teams' tempos. You get here, you work, and you don't let distractions bother you.
There is so much to look forward to here, and around the league. Football is back, yes it is, and with it comes an endless sea of possibilities for this football team.