It's that time of the year when, for gits and shiggles, media folks will put out their It's-Early-But-Let's-Have-Some-Fun Power Rankings for the 2023 regular season and Peter King from NBC Sports had the Eagles No. 1 in his Football Morning in America column. He wrote glowingly about the team in his offseason rankings under the category Can't Find A Weakness: "The Eagles averaged 34.7 points per game in the playoffs, have adequately compensated for losses of both coordinators, are not worse at any position (amazing on the defensive line, considering they had a 69-sack year last year and lost Javon Hargrave), have an offensive line that should keep upright a rising superstar QB-of-the-future at the top of his game, and will field two top-15 NFL wideouts entering their age-25 (DeVonta Smith) and age-26 (A.J. Brown) seasons."
All of that is fun to read and it engages the fans, one way or the other, but what I look for after that kind of praise – or criticism – is the reaction inside the NovaCare Complex. I'm still looking.
Really, there hasn't been a reaction, not a mention, and that is always a good thing. A team that listens to the outside noise is a team that loses to distractions. And this Eagles team is focused instead on the step-by-step process of the NFL season. The Eagles are at the bottom of the mountain, as Head Coach Nick Sirianni likes to say, they are gradually working their way on the trek to the top.
Nothing is skipped. This is the first part of the process put in place long before the players put on the pads and start Training Camp.
"It's just completely setting the standard of every little detail of how you want it right, and that's just not in plays," Sirianni said on Friday with the team's Rookie Minicamp underway. "But again, it's how we practice, it's how I want the coaches to run practice and different things like that, so it's every portion of the building."
Step by step. That's where attention is being paid at the NovaCare Complex. The Power Rankings have no impact.
Some news, notes, and otherwise with a new week in front of us ...
1. Just so you know, the Eagles are still in Phase One of their offseason program. Technically, the team is in its third week of the program, which would constitute Phase Two, but the Eagles are keeping things the same this week as Phase One conditions. Here is the explanation of Phases One and Two of the NFL offseason: Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to meetings, strength and conditioning, and physical rehabilitation only. Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual or group instruction and drills, as well as "perfect play drills," and drills and plays with offensive players lining up across from offensive players and defensive players lining up across from defensive players, conducted at a walkthrough pace. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
2. D'Andre Swift will be the first Eagle to wear jersey No. 0. Some thoughts on the fit. Seems to be a perfect match …
3. The expectation is that the 2023 regular-season schedule will be out on Thursday evening. That's nothing official, of course. (UPDATE: It is official!) The league hasn't directly announced that, but enough national media have talked about it and mentioned that date and it makes sense. How many primetime games will the Eagles get this season? Where will the season open – at Kansas City in Week 1 seems like a reasonable expectation. How does the end of the season look as the team hopefully is making a playoff push? Many questions. We will have the answers soon.
The Eagles held their Rookie Minicamp this past weekend at the NovaCare Complex. Check out the best photos of the 2023 class of Eagles on the field!
4. So, there really has been no news from the Rookie Minicamp, and that's a good thing. In these instances, no news is the best news. This was an introduction to the basics for the 2023 rookies, a very first step. Now the rookies are out of town and will return next Monday, May 15, when most of the college graduations have taken place.
5. Three Eagles draft picks have signed their contracts and there are four more draft picks still to be signed: linebacker Nolan Smith, offensive lineman Tyler Steen, safety Sydney Brown, and cornerback Kelee Ringo. Great start in this department.