What a day it was Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field as over 23,000 fans came to the Open Practice, the first opportunity to see the team in the 2017 season. To top it all off, the chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.!" rained down on the field as it was Military Appreciation Day and the players handed their jerseys to men and women from the Armed Forces. Here's what else you need to know for Monday, July 31.
1. Lane Johnson Is A Man On A Mission
Lane Johnson is in search of redemption.
He knows what has been said about him after he was suspended for 10 games last season for a second violation of the league's policy regarding performance-enhancing drugs. He wants to prove that he's one of the elite tackles, no matter right or left, in the game, and take the Eagles along for the ride.
“I know I’m feeling good about this team and for me, the offense,” Johnson said. “I’ve been around the fans a long time. I’m just like them – I’m sick of not making the playoffs since 2013. It’s time to get to the next level. I want to see us take that next step, and I think we’re heading in the right direction.
“We’ve got a lot of talent here. We’ve gotten a lot better in a year’s time. We just have to keep working hard and put it all together.”
The Eagles were 5-1 with Johnson, the team's first-round pick (No. 4 overall) in 2013, in the lineup a year ago.
The first of two Eagles Camp Open Practices took place on Sunday. The practice recognized former and current military members for their service.
2. Jon Dorenbos: Man Of The People
Longsnapper Jon Dorenbos usually has to find unique ways to keep busy during practice when the special teams unit isn't involved. It wasn't an issue on Sunday. He made a couple thousand new friends, interacting with fans on the sideline and in the stands.
3. Alshon Jeffery Gets First Taste Of Philly Fans ... And Loves Them
If Alshon Jeffery returns to Pro Bowl form in 2017 and the Eagles want to do a long-term deal, the fans might help keep the wide receiver in Philadelphia.
Jeffery, the top pass catcher on the free agent market who signed a one-year deal in March, enjoyed the love from the Philly faithful Sunday.
“It was great to see all this, to experience all of this,” Jeffery said. “I can’t wait until we get here on gamedays and we’ve got 70,000 of ‘em here. It’s going to be amazing.”
4. Has Nelson Agholor Turned The Corner?
One of the players who received the biggest applause from the fans on Sunday was former first-round pick Nelson Agholor, who mightily struggled through his first two NFL seasons. In our Practice Notes, Agholor was impressive both as a kick returner and receiver. He's done a much better job of catching the ball away from his body. And the fans showed their support, hoping the third year is the charm for the wideout.
5. If You've Ever Wanted To See A Beat Writer Run The 40, Here You Go
Safety Malcolm Jenkins had a very impressive showing at the 2009 NFL Combine, which led him to being a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints. Part of that workout was the 40-yard dash, which Jenkins clocked in at 4.54 seconds.
Sure, he's a little older but is one of the preeminent safeties in the game. Well, Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice raced Jenkins in a 40-yard dash on Sunday at the Open Practice. It didn't go well for Kempski. Vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas clocked Kempski at 6.1 seconds. Kempski should hope that Microsoft Paint doesn't go away any time soon.
6. The Summer Of Malcolm Jenkins
Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer documented Jenkins' busy offseason which included 70 events that did not involve the Eagles' offseason program.
“I realize at the age of 29, going into my ninth season, it might not be next year or the year after, but I’m closer to the end than I am the beginning,” Jenkins told Berman. “So just starting to prepare for it and seeing what opportunities are out there now that I can manage.”
7. Zach Ertz Had Plenty Of Reason To Celebrate
While tight end Zach Ertz is getting ready for the season, his wife, Julie, scored the game-winning goal for the U.S. Women's Soccer Team in a 4-3 victory over Brazil at the Tournament of Nations in San Diego. Ertz's goal came in the 89th minute and capped off a stunning comeback from a 3-1 deficit.
8. A Special Thank You From The Eagles Cheerleaders