The tents are down, the signage directing fans to and around the practice fields has been removed, and the ever-popular Rita's Water Ice and Philly Pretzel Factory trucks have motored off campus.
It's over. Training Camp, 2023, presented by Independence Blue Cross, is in the books.
There were many terrific moments, of course, the most prominent of which was the Public Practice held at Lincoln Financial Field, during which more than 50,000 fans attended and had a blast, watching a good football practice highlighted by an A.J. Brown touchdown grab on a Jalen Hurts pass, and really feeling the connection, the genuine "welcome-back" bond with a team that had such a tremendous 2022 season end in Super Bowl LVII.
The question is, really, what did we learn about the Eagles as they prepare for 2023? What did the coaches learn? How difficult did the new roster make it on Executive Vice President/General Manager Howie Roseman as he prepares to make the singular cut – from 90 players to 53 players – after Thursday night's preseason finale at Lincoln Financial Field against Indianapolis (8 PM, Amazon Prime nationally, FOX 29 in Philadelphia)?
Some thoughts on Training Camp and what we found out about the Eagles ...
1. The 2023 Draft Class is ready for the moment. Not sure how much this draft class will have the chance to contribute in the season ahead, but the kids showed that they are ready for this moment. First-round selections defensive tackle Jalen Carter and edge player Nolan Smith have worked hard to transition from Georgia to the NFL.
Third-round pick Tyler Steen has taken reps at right guard and left tackle in Training Camp and has shown he can play at this level, and don't underestimate just how difficult the task has been, going from inside on the right side to outside on the left side and back. Safety Sydney Brown plays like his hair is on fire and demonstrates a hunger, intelligence, and ability to have a fine NFL career and contribute in his rookie season. Cornerback Kelee Ringo has made steady progress learning from an experienced room and has a bright future. Quarterback Tanner McKee has been impressive with his accuracy and poise and decision-making. Defensive tackle Moro Ojomo, recovering from a concussion suffered in last week's preseason game, is going to benefit working in with such a talented front seven.
2. This running back room offers a lot of possibilities. If the idea is to keep a defense off balance with these running backs, this looks to be a perfect ensemble. Kenneth Gainwell is a slasher and a dasher, and also a weapon in the passing game. Rashaad Penny runs downhill with power and force. D'Andre Swift is explosive outside the tackles, a home-run threat as a receiver, and can line up anywhere in the formation. Boston Scott does Boston Scott things – a little bit of everything well. Can't wait to see how the Eagles employ the backs – and that includes Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks, both of whom are in the mix with a preseason game still to go.
3. Cam Jurgens didn't provide any chance for daily "who-is-starting?" questions at right guard. Jurgens has been in there the whole time, forcing Head Coach Nick Sirianni to acknowledge on Tuesday that the second-year lineman is indeed going to be the Week 1 starter at right guard.
4. There is still some sorting out to be done in terms of the depth chart, but one thing was clear in the safety room: Reed Blankenship has made a jump from Year 1 to Year 2 of his NFL career. A year ago, he was preparing for his third preseason game, very much on the roster bubble. Now, Blankenship has not played in the preseason and, if that means what everyone thinks it means, is in line to be a starter in the deep secondary for Sean Desai's defense. Shows what hard work, preparation, and absorbing learning lessons every day means.
5. This defensive front seven has depth and versatility. The Eagles had 70 sacks last season and didn't rest on their laurels and, from what Training Camp showed us, refortified the group. Can't wait to see this group attack.
6. Christian Elliss, on and off the active roster last season, has made himself into a factor at linebacker with a great work ethic, a no-nonsense approach, and a dogged mentality. Zach Cunningham has length, experience, and all the skills to help the Eagles. Nicholas Morrow has been steady throughout camp and picked up the system quickly. The Eagles will have the flexibility with these three players to find an answer to pair with Nakobe Dean in the middle or platoon the spot next to him situationally.
Check out the best images from Training Camp, presented by Independence Blue Cross, as the Eagles whittle the roster to 53 and prepare for the 2023 season.
7. Quarterback Jalen Hurts looked great from start to finish. In the summer of 2022, he worked on developing chemistry with his receiving corps. That has long since been on point, and Hurts was on the same page all summer with tight end Dallas Goedert and his receivers – notably DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, and Quez Watkins.
8. Joint practices really spice up the summer. There was some emotion, for sure, and that's part of what made the two practices with Cleveland and the one with Indianapolis so impactful. The benefits are obvious – after Eagles vs. Eagles for two weeks, the change of opposition made a difference for the players.
9. The second-year Eagles, as the team anticipated, made strong jumps. Included among those players are Blankenship, cornerback Josh Jobe, defensive tackle Jordan Davis, Jurgens, linebacker Nakobe Dean, and tight end Grant Calcaterra. This roster has a nice influx of young players from the three most recent draft classes and, as we focus on the very bright present, we must also understand that the future is promising as well.