As the Eagles got ready for their initial method of training school Thursday, they revealed that defensive end Brandon Graham, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery as well as safety/special teams ace Chris Maragos are starting camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list.All 3
players are coming off surgical procedures– Graham to an ankle joint, Jeffery to a shoulder and also Maragos to a knee. They can come off the listing any time when they are ready to practice. However if they are incapable to exercise all through the preseason, placing them on PUP currently guarantees the option of permitting them to begin the routine period there, which means they would certainly not count toward the 53-man roster.The team likewise claimed wide receiver Bryce Treggs and defensive take on Tim Jernigan will certainly start camp on the non-football injury checklist, which means they were injured in the offseason, not while working at the team facility. Jernigan had surgical treatment for a herniated disk. It isn’t clear what happened to Treggs, that seemed healthy and balanced through the June minicamp. DAVID MAIALETTI/ Personnel Professional Photographer Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, right, watches over the field as the Eagles open training school Thursday.
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Carson Wentz took part in 11-on-11 drills on the first day of training school, a significant action in his want to play Week 1 of the NFL period. The Eagles open 6 weeks from Thursday, and also the clock is ticking on Wentz. His next difficulty is being gotten rid of for call.
“Six weeks is a great deal of time,” instructor Doug Pederson said. “Him and I are married to this bargain. You recognize what I’m claiming? His lasting health, certainly, I desire him to have success for a long period of time. I wish to make sure it’s right. It’s hard to claim when that time is.”
Wentz was gotten rid of for 11-on-11 deal with Wednesday. He practiced with the second-team infraction in Thursday’s session, although Pederson said it’s “prematurely” to get caught up in representatives and also there will be a point when Wentz takes the first-team snaps.
“We’ve obtained an excellent plan,” Wentz claimed. “It’s not simply me making a decision. It’s not just trainer. It’s not just the docs. It’s a [mix] of everybody. … I like where I go to today.”
>>> > EAGLES TRAINING CAMP: Nigel Bradham claims suspension can have been a lot worse
Midway through Mike Groh’s scheduled press conference Saturday, a tall man wearing an Eagles visor stepped up from the rear of the tent that adjoins the NovaCare practice fields. Holding a half-eaten cup of water ice like a microphone, the man asked the Eagles’ offensive coordinator a question about quarterback Carson Wentz.
“Coach, I know you don’t really want to put a timetable on Carson, but what’s the timetable?”
“That’s a really good question. I’d just defer to Doug Pederson on that,” Groh said.
Cue laughter, because the guy with the visor and the water ice was, in fact, Doug Pederson.
But it is the question, made even more relevant by Wentz’s full participation Saturday in the first day of padded training camp practice, featuring “thud” contact – hitting but no tackling to the ground. A few times, traffic swirled around Wentz’s feet. He neatly stepped out of the fray, then sprinted away from defenders. Sprinted the way we saw him sprint this time a year ago.
People who follow the team knew the NFL Network report early in the week about Wentz possibly starting camp on PUP seemed unlikely, because he was already working seven-on-seven when spring workouts ended. But the assumption was that Wentz would be limited, that he wouldn’t be able to do everything, and that when he did take the field, wearing that black brace on his repaired left knee, observers would have to take into account that Wentz was only seven months removed from surgery to his ACL and LCL ligaments, Wentz’s season having ended on Dec. 10 against the Rams.
No and no.
Asked if there was anything, in terms of practice, that Wentz can’t do now, Groh said there was not. “He’s been in everything. You’re exactly right.”
“He looks comfortable,” Groh said. “Just settled right back into the saddle … to have Carson there — in some people’s minds ahead of schedule, but I know that was his target date — we’re excited to have him out there and working. It’s only going to make everybody better.”
Carson Wentz, 5 weeks and 5 days until opener: pic.twitter.com/8yVGM8ELcd
— Zach Berman (@ZBerm) July 28, 2018
Four days ago, Wentz’s goal of starting the season opener, Sept. 6 against the Falcons, seemed ambitious. Now it seems almost inevitable.
Groh said defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has talked to his players about being careful around Wentz, who has not been cleared for contact; contact with red-jerseyed quarterbacks is never allowed, but 11-on-11, in pads, with hitting, somebody could fall into somebody, and so on.
“We’ve got a veteran team that knows how to practice,” Groh said.
Wentz is next scheduled to speak with reporters on Tuesday. Teammates said they are encouraged by his strong start, and they aren’t too worried about anything terrible happening.
Center Jason Kelce agreed that Wentz “looks great.”
“He’s running around, throwing on the move, doing all the things that … I don’t know if the coaches are designing it this way, but it doesn’t look like they’re holding him back. They’re doing plays of movement, having him test out that leg. It’s good,” Kelce said.
“Right now, it’s in a very controlled environment. It’s not tackle to the ground, even though there might be some plays where guys are falling down, that’s very few and far between. Not only is it good for us to get some reps with him to maintain that chemistry, it’s also good for him to go out there and begin that process of feeling more comfortable, feeling stronger on the leg, and all that stuff.”
Right tackle Lane Johnson said that Wentz “has got an edge to him right now.”
Carson Wentz during training camp.
“The way he’s moving, he’s not favoring that leg, he’s mobile, he’s throwing on the run,” Johnson said. “It’s really impressive to watch.”
Before camp began, one of the questions was whether Wentz would be able to work much with the first team, and develop, say, timing with new wide receiver Mike Wallace. Wentz worked extensively with the first team on Saturday.
“It was good to see that the pocket collapsed one time, and him get out of there, scramble and run. He looked good,” Wallace said. “Obviously, he has some rust to knock off, just like the rest of us, but he made some great throws today, too … I think he’s thinking free, like he’s not worried about his knee.”
Wentz walked off the practice field with one of his closest friends, tight end Zach Ertz.
“I’m not surprised. I’ve seen him train all summer, the way he attacked the summer, the way he attacked the entire offseason,” Ertz said.
Though fans might be tempted to want to swaddle Wentz in Bubble Wrap until September, Ertz said the QB, even if he can’t take hits yet, needs to see pressure in his face, can’t get ready for the season without work that feels like real football.
“Those guys are in a red shirt for a reason. But, at the same time, the pocket’s not always going to be clean. It rarely is,” Ertz said. “There’s going to be times you’ve got to move off your spot, off your line.”
Defensive end Michael Bennett speculated (facetiously) that Wentz must have taken a long trip to get the blood platelet therapy made famous several years ago by a basketball star recovering from a knee injury.
“Obviously he’s probably got some of that Kobe Bryant [stuff] in his knee, so he’s probably feeling pretty good,” Bennett said. “He probably went to Germany or Switzerland … because he’s looking really good out there.”
Coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons, Penn State will start training camp Friday to launch Year 5 of the James Franklin era.
Not only do the Nittany Lions have to deal with the meat grinder that is the Big Ten East, arguably the toughest FBS division in the country, but they also will have to play Wisconsin, one of the favorites to win the conference, as well as always-tough Iowa. And don’t forget their trip to archrival Pittsburgh in Week 2.
The Lions will open the season Sept. 1 against Appalachian State at Beaver Stadium and begin their Big Ten Conference schedule on Sept. 21, a Friday night, at Illinois.
Here are five things to watch as camp opens:
Trace McSorley enters the season in the Heisman Trophy conversation.
1. Trace McSorley and the preseason hype
With Saquon Barkley wearing the blue of the New York Giants and not Penn State, Trace McSorley has all the eyeballs on him. The fifth-year senior quarterback finds himself in the preseason Heisman Trophy conversation, but he’s aware how fleeting that kind of consideration can be. Barkley was a consensus Heisman favorite before he even carried the ball for the first time last season, and he wound up not even receiving an invitation to New York as a finalist.
McSorley says that he’s “thankful and blessed” to be mentioned on a national scale but that his full attention will be on leading the Nittany Lions offense. With Barkley and offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead (now the head coach at Mississippi State), the attack was one of the best in the nation the last two seasons. So it’s up to McSorley and new OC Ricky Rahne to keep the level of play high, and do it without a play-making trio who were high-round draft choices: Barkley, wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, and tight end Mike Gesicki.
Miles Sanders carried the ball 56 times in his first two seasons.
2. Finding playmakers on offense
So without Barkley, Hamilton and Gesicki, who combined to catch 21 of the team’s 32 touchdown passes last year, who will step up in their place?
Junior Miles Sanders, the likely successor to Barkley, was the nation’s No. 1 high school running back when Penn State signed him in 2016. He averaged 6.7 yards on 56 carries in his first two seasons. Redshirt junior Juwan Johnson (Glassboro) finally hit his stride last season with 54 catches, and fifth-year senior DeAndre Thompkins has a career average of nearly 16 yards per reception. Returning tight ends Jonathan Holland and Nick Bowers accounted for just four catches last year.
Newcomers out to impress in camp include four freshmen — running back Ricky Slade, wide receiver Justin Shorter, and tight ends Zack Kuntz and Pat Freiermuth — and three redshirt freshmen — wide receivers K.J. Hamler and Mac Hippenhammer and running back Journey Brown.
Micah Parsons is a promising freshman for the Nittany Lions.
3. Uncertainty at middle linebacker
If there’s one area of particular concern for Franklin, it’s at middle linebacker, perennially a strength for the Nittany Lions, where Jason Cabinda is gone after having quarterbacked the defense for the better part of three seasons. The coach said he wants to find the starter in the middle to allow him to have “some moving parts” at the other positions, but he added, “I don’t know how quickly we’ll figure that out.”
Redshirt junior Jan Johnson, who has seen some action at middle linebacker, is “freakishly smart,” Franklin said, and has improved his athleticism. Freshman Micah Parsons, one of the nation’s top players in the 2018 recruiting class, played some there in the spring and could get a more extended look. Two more candidates are senior Jake Cooper (Archbishop Wood), whose career has been hampered by injuries, and another freshman, Jesse Luketa.
Jake Cooper (right) is in the mix at middle linebacker.
4. Freshmen and the new redshirt rule
Like his colleagues, Franklin loves the new rule that allows a player to compete in up to four games in a season without losing a year of eligibility. This certainly will give him a chance to give more freshmen the “green light,” meaning play right away, which in turn helps the team’s depth. This will benefit not only rookies who will compete at middle linebacker such as Parsons and Luketa, but also at defensive tackle, where the numbers are lacking a bit.
Judge Culpepper and P.J. Mustipher, each of whom tips the scales at around 300 pounds, will be given a chance to compete. That also will happen at tight end, where Kuntz and Freiermuth come in as highly regarded signees.
“We’re probably going to rely on some freshmen that we normally wouldn’t, and specifically at some positions where we normally wouldn’t, like at linebacker,” Franklin said.
5. Finding a new kicker
This could be the scariest task of all for Franklin, whose team went just 9 for 17 on field goals last season. The only scholarship kicker is incoming freshman Jake Pinegar, who made two field goals from 60 yards last year as a high school senior. He will be pushed by redshirt freshman walk-on Carson Landis, who did kick a 34-yard field goal in April’s Blue-White Game and boomed nearly all his kickoffs into the end zone. Then there’s junior Blake Gillikin, the Lions’ outstanding punter, whom Franklin does not want handling double duty but would be available in a pinch on kickoffs.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.– Here essentially is the stressful previous seven months in the life of Saquon Barkley.He closed a spectacular career at Penn State by aiding lead his team to a Fiesta Dish triumph and also revealed the following day he was leaving for the NFL. He wowed precursors at the NFL searching integrate, came to be a dad, was composed No. 2 general by the New York Giants and also authorized an assured four-year, $31.2 million contract.Now worked out in
at training camp, the 5-foot-11, 233-pound Barkley is functioning to hone his craft at the highest degree he can. To assist him do that, he commonly has questions at the ready for Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who was the No. 1 overall choice in the 2004 draft when Barkley was simply 7 years of ages.
“Whenever I have a question of something I’m uncertain about, he exists on the area as well as I ask him,” the 21-year-old Barkley said Monday. “I try to prepare myself as high as I can, whether it’s in the pass [protection], the running video game or the pass game, so I can be as prepared as feasible to help the team as high as I can.”
Manning, entering his 15th season, all with the Giants, is OKAY with the concerns.
“Our partnership’s working out,” he stated. “He’s asking questions. I’m asking him concerns and testing him and obtaining him to sort of comprehend to see insurance coverages and see defenses and safety and security turnings, things like that, so that he understands his defenses as well as what’s taking place.
“However I have actually been satisfied. He’s a clever youngster. He’s discovered the crime well. I’ve been excited on the area, the method he sees points, the way he reacts after capturing the sphere, making steps. So I’m thrilled to see him in a full-speed scenario.”
The expectations for Barkley are high, as well as he has actually revealed flashes that he can living up to them. He has actually excited with his willingness to stick his nose in the middle of a strike and also stop a linebacker in his tracks. He revealed he can make an influence in the death video game, capturing a screen pass in Monday’s overbearing warm as well as making a wonderful step at the sideline for a lengthy gain.First-year head instructor
Pat Shurmur, who invested 13 periods on the Eagles’coaching staff, is not ready to bless Barkley as the 2nd coming of Tiki Barber just yet. Yet he shows up hopeful that the novice can make a significant contribution.”He plays extremely well, so it doesn’t resemble … at
the very least in the training sessions, he doesn’t resemble a rookie to me,”he said.”To make sure that’s good.” Shurmur elevated some eyebrows recently when he restricted Barkley’s associates
on Thursday and also kept him out of all online drills on Saturday. He clarified Monday that Barkley was great which he was” handling his workload. “While confessing”I wish to be available each and every single representative as well as every play,”
Barkley said he has no worry with his practice breaks, saying he remains locked in with” psychological representatives,” studying what needs to be done for a play to be successful.At running back, the Giants have proficient Jonathan Stewart and second-year guy Wayne Gallman to push Barkley.
Shurmur said he hasn’t yet chosen playing time in Thursday’s preseason opener versus Cleveland, however Barkley claimed,” I’m greater than with the ability of playing today.”In the postgame assessments, Manning likely will take much more inquiries from Barkley. The 37-year-old quarterback says he’s delighted to see Barkley dip into game pace, as well as has actually talked with him concerning taking what the protection provides him rather than attempting to damage every run to the house. “You can’t attempt to rack up a goal on every play,”Manning stated.”Sometimes you’ve reached take the three-yard gain. Understand that assumptions are probably exceptionally high. Do not worry about that. That’s what you have a team for. “When the opportunity comes and also there is a hole as well as you get to the securities, then that’s your chance to make a man miss and also make something unique take place.”< time datetime="Mon Aug 06 15:02:00 PDT 2018"pubdate > August 6, 2018– 6:55 PM EDT
To Kamu Grugier-Hill, winning the Eagles’ starting weakside linebacker job in his third NFL season would represent a sort of natural progression.
“First year, played special teams. Second year, was a really good special-teamer. This year, I want to move it on to defense. Every year I want to grow,” Grugier-Hill said Friday.
Grugier-Hill’s quest to replace Mychal Kendricks as an Eagles starter is a familiar one to special teams stars leaguewide. Nobody wants to be “just” a special teams guy. There’s a limited upside to that. Just ask Bryan Braman, who did it well for six years in Houston and Philadelphia, but after being released by the Saints last September, sat until Dec. 12 when the Eagles brought him back to the role he had played here the previous three years.
Braman got a Super Bowl ring out of it, but now he is again without a team. Braman also is listed as a linebacker, but at age 31, he has never proven himself to be a solid asset at that position.
Grugier-Hill acknowledges that “I kind of put myself in that situation,” of being known for special teams, after leading the Eagles with 19 special teams tackles in 2017. But at 24, he feels he is still young enough to prove he can do more.
Chris Maragos, still rehabbing a serious knee injury suffered last October, knows Grugier-Hill’s fight very well. This is Maragos’ eighth NFL season, at 31. He’s a safety, but only once in his career – 2015 with the Eagles – has Maragos ever played as many as 10 percent of his team’s defensive snaps. That year, as the Chip Kelly era crumbled, Maragos got up to 25 percent.
Maragos noted that Grugier-Hill was a soccer player until his final two years of high school in Hawaii, then was a hybrid safety-linebacker at Eastern Illinois. He is still defining what he can be. It’s too early to typecast him.
“You look at a guy like Kamu, he’s real raw, and he has a lot of things he needs to develop. I think he’s in that zone, man, to really make a run,” Maragos said. “He’s got tremendous ability … He made great strides from Year 1 to Year 2.”
Grugier-Hill said he had never left Hawaii until he got a scholarship offer from Eastern Illinois, on the strength of the recommendation of a high school teammate who’d been recruited by the Panthers.
“From the beach to the cornfields,” he said.
Grugier-Hill was a sixth-round pick of the Patriots in 2016, based on the startling 4.45-second 40 he ran at his school’s pro day. New England cut him just before the season, hoping to develop him on the practice squad, but the Eagles claimed him, and activated him for a dozen games, as a special-teamer. Grugier-Hill played just one defensive snap all season.
Obviously, beating the team that drafted and cut him made Super Bowl LII that much sweeter. Along the way, Grugier-Hill blocked a punt against the Giants and kicked off four times at Dallas, after Jake Elliott suffered a concussion. He was named a Pro Bowl alternate, but had other things to do the weekend before the Super Bowl.
“Anyone who gets released is going to be upset. I wouldn’t have it any other way now; I’d rather be here, for sure,” Grugier-Hill said.
Grugier-Hill played 85 defensive snaps last season, but to truly be taken seriously as a linebacker, he had to add muscle. He said he played last season at 6-2, 215. He said he reported this spring at 230 and has been able to keep the weight on.
There was a time not too long ago when even 230 would have been a tad light for an Eagles linebacker, but now that tight ends have become pretty much just really tall wideouts, that day has passed.
“I think the day of 250, 265-pound linebackers is definitely dead. (But) you still need to be able to be physical in the run game,” Grugier-Hill said. “It’s a lot easier when you’re a little heavier.”
Strongside starter Nigel Bradham was asked what Grugier-Hill brings to the group.
“He brings a lot – athleticism, speed, a combination of everything. His speed is incredible,” Bradham said. “There’s a lot of chemistry with me, him and Jordan [Hicks], making things smoother.
“We got him linebacker-ready now. He used to be a DB. We got him converted over. He had to add that weight. He’s in the box, he’s taking on blocks, he’s using his hands. He can officially call himself a linebacker.”
The Eagles signed Corey Nelson from Denver in free agency, and the assumption was that he might replace Kendricks. Nate Gerry, a former safety like Grugier-Hill, seems to be making solid strides in his second Eagles camp. Grugier-Hill has a lot of work to do to nail down the spot.
“Everybody’s fighting for that spot. There’s going to be a lot of competition at that spot,” Hicks said. “Obviously, he’s doing well, but a lot of people are doing well.”
“He’s obviously a tremendous four-core special teams guy for us,” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “That role is going to stay the same for him. He’s very valuable there. His weight has gone up this offseason, this training camp. He’s a guy that we can kind of plug and play in that weakside linebacker position. He’s done an outstanding job there right now.
“These [preseason] games are going to be valuable for him … I think this is the first time we’ve had this much depth at the linebacker spot since I’ve been here. He’s definitely part of that mix, and gives us great competition there.”
Good morning. The Eagles practice at 9:45 a.m. Doug Pederson has a post-practice news conference. The players have the day off on Saturday. The first public practice will be Sunday at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.
This is a training camp edition of the Early Birds newsletter, which will arrive in your inbox three days per week until the season begins. If your friends haven’t subscribed to Early Birds, it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm. Thank you for reading.
— Zach Berman
Doug Pederson during training camp.
The Eagles are now more than one week into training camp. Their first preseason game is next week. The countdown to the opener has dipped below five weeks. So what stood out to coach Doug Pederson?
“One thing I do like is I like the attitude of the football team,” Pederson said. “I like the way they came in into camp. They have attacked every single day. I don’t feel like this team is just lingering in any way. They are embracing the training camp. They know what they’ve done and they’ve accomplished, but at the same time I think they are hungry for more, and that’s exciting.”
There’s been more that’s happened than the attitude of the team, though. Here are five quick takeaways:
The Eagles are going to be careful with Carson Wentz in practice. They’ve scaled back Wentz’s 11-on-11 work after the first three sessions. Pederson said it’s part of the plan, although it came after Saturday’s practice when there were players around Wentz’s feet. He hasn’t taken 11-on-11 snaps since. Wentz said the Eagles want to keep him in a “controlled environment,” which makes sense. He’s not yet cleared for contact, so the team will make sure he’s not at risk of being hit – whether it’s by someone on the ground or a player at near-full speed accidentally bumping into him. But I still believe that he’ll be ready come Week 1.
This is going to be a versatile offense. It’s been noted that the Eagles didn’t have a 1,000-yard rusher or 1,000-yard receiver last season. I don’t know what the statistics will read at the end of the year, but the Eagles will be deeper at the skill positions than one year ago, offering the possibility for different lineup combinations. At running back, the Eagles will have a full season of Jay Ajayi, a healthy Darren Sproles, and Corey Clement with a year of development. Alshon Jeffery is not on the field yet, but he’ll join Nelson Agholor and Mike Wallace as the top three wide receivers. Zach Ertz is back at tight end, and second-round pick Dallas Goedert gives the Eagles a different type of threat than Trey Burton in two-tight end sets. They’ll have multiple combinations to use, and they’ll be more versatile than one year ago.
This is the best secondary the Eagles have had in years. In recent summers, I’ve written about cornerback concerns on the Eagles. There are no such concerns this summer. With Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Sidney Jones, and Rasul Douglas, the Eagles have a top four that is better than any time since I’ve started covering them on a daily basis in 2012. Add in the players behind them – Avonte Maddox, DeVante Bausby, etc. – and it’s remarkable to see how the Eagles have changed the position in 24 months. None of these cornerbacks were on the team when Doug Pederson and Jim Schwartz came to Philadelphia. Only Mills played for the Eagles in 2016.
The Eagles have avoided significant injuries … so far: Injuries are inevitable in the NFL, but teams hope that they can get to the regular season in one piece. Although the Eagles have players recovering from surgeries and had a major injury during the offseason program (Paul Worrilow), they avoided a significant injury during the first week of camp. Shelton Gibson is in the concussion protocol and Matt Jones missed on practice with a lower-body injury. Josh Sweat and Richard Rodgers left Thursday’s season. However, there haven’t been any of the season-ending variety.
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From the mailbag
Do you still think they sign a veteran safety or is Tre Sullivan close to locking in the #3 safety gig?
— Ryan Fielder (@FielderOnDaRoof) July 31, 2018
I’ve thought since the draft that they would add a veteran safety. I didn’t think there would be much urgency and that the Eagles would spend the first two weeks of training camp assessing what they have. I’ve been impressed with Tre Sullivan, who is playing with confidence and has put his best foot forward in trying to win that third safety job. Ultimately, I think the Eagles sign a veteran. Jim Schwartz likes veteran players. My guess is it’s Corey Graham, who knows the defense and who Schwartz trusts. There are still good safeties on the market, although Tennessee might sign one after Jonathan Cyprien’s injury. So this is a position I’m watching closely. Even beyond the three-safety formation, though, the Eagles need insurance for an injury to Malcolm Jenkins or Rodney McLeod. That’s why I think they’ll add someone with more experience.