Some website ranks city skylines and Philadelphia came in at 34th globally. The criteria is kind of whacked, but who really cares?
Completely unrelated: You can purchase jerseys which Eagles players wore in the NFCC game against Atlanta.
As the Eagles kicked off their first full-squad practice in the bubble on Thursday afternoon, a big part of the offense was missing.
Starting right guard Brandon Brooks was nowhere to be found. In his place, with the first-team offense, was veteran Stefen Wisniewski.
Brooks, who signed a five-year, $40 million deal to join the Eagles this offseason, missed practice with a hamstring injury and is listed by the team as day-to-day.
The only other player that missed practice is running back Ryan Mathews, who is on the Active/Non-football Injury list with an ankle injury he suffered while training last week.
Thursday’s light afternoon practice was what Andy Reid used to call a “10-10-10” practice. The term is back under Doug Pederson. Basically, it’s a light practice that goes continually through offense, defense and special teams. But it’s not very conducive for observations because of the format, which is meant to allow the offense or defense to look good.
But we did get a chance to see the starting units.
Here’s what the first-team offense (they came out in 11 personnel) looked like to start practice:
QB: Sam Bradford
RB: Darren Sproles (Mathews was out)
TE: Zach Ertz
WR1: Nelson Agholor
WR2: Chris Givens
Slot: Jordan Matthews
LT: Jason Peters
LG: Allen Barbre
C: Jason Kelce
RG Stefen Wisniewski (Brooks was out)
RT: Lane Johnson
Notes: It’s worth noting that Matthews is still working in the slot way more than he is outside. And Givens, after a nice spring, got the nod to work outside with the first team.
The defense first came onto the field in the nickel package, so we’ll start there:
LDE: Vinny Curry
RDE: Connor Barwin
LDT: Fletcher Cox
RDT: Bennie Logan
LB: Jordan Hicks
LB: Mychal Kendricks
LCB: Leodis McKelvin
RCB: Nolan Carroll
Slot: Ron Brooks
S: Malcolm Jenkins
S: Rodney McLeod
Notes: We listed the defense in nickel, but when the Eagles were in base, Nigel Bradham was on the field as the strongside linebacker. The most important thing to note is that when the team was in base, Ron Brooks stayed on the field and moved outside. That’s what the team did most of the spring and it hasn’t changed yet. We’ll have to keep an eye on that.
North Dakota’s hero
Earlier this week, there were several reporters and a TV crew from North Dakota to watch the progress of their hometown hero Carson Wentz. Wentz said it was cool to see some familiar media faces, especially because he knows how closely fans in his home state are still following his career.
The rookie hasn’t been home much recently, so he wasn’t sure if the buzz has died down at all since the draft, but he suspects there are many more Eagles fans at home now.
“I know now that football season is starting to kick up, it’s starting to heat up back home,” he said. “Everyone’s all interested in the Eagles, more than just the local teams around there. It’s pretty exciting. Exciting time for the state of North Dakota, for sure.”
Odds and ends
• We’ll start with Wentz, who made a great toss on Thursday down the field about 40 yards to shifty wideout Paul Turner. Just a beautiful ball from the rookie.
• Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Jalen Mills made another play. This time, he was able to get between the ball and Jordan Matthews near the right sideline. Perfect coverage. If he keeps this up once the pads go on Saturday, he’ll earn some playing time this season.
• Jason Peters spoke for the first time this year after Thursday’s practice. We’ll have plenty on his thoughts and comments, but here’s what stuck out to me: he really didn’t like the way Chip Kelly did some things. He clearly didn’t like the tempo offense or Kelly’s management style. When asked, Peters agreed that Pederson’s staff is way more veteran player-friendly.
“Any vet that stood up and had something to say, we got rid of him,” Peters said. Yikes.
• Sproles, Agholor and Rueben Randle worked as the punt returners on Thursday. Obviously, Sproles is the guy, but this gives us an idea of the depth there.
• Pads go on Saturday.
• The first open practice (of two) is this Sunday at the Linc at 10 a.m. No tickets needed, just show up.
When the allegations were first made public on June 10, Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor feared for his football career.
“To be honest with you,” he said, “there were points I thought an opportunity that was given to me to play for this organization and to have the life I have could have been taken from me.”
Agholor last month was accused by an exotic dancer of sexual assault during a visit Agholor made to a gentleman’s club in South Philadelphia in early June.
It wasn’t until about a month later — July 18 — that Agholor was cleared when the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office announced that no charges would be filed against the 23-year-old second-year pro.
On Thursday, after his first practice of training camp, Agholor spoke for the first time about the allegations.
“I put myself in a poor situation, and the most important thing for me was to realize that no matter what’s going on, if I make the right decision, I won’t be there,” he said after an afternoon practice in the Eagles’ indoor bubble.
“I put myself in that position going there, and to be honest with you, as I look at it, at the end of the day, it’s either neutral or negative consequences being in a place like that. So I made the wrong decision being there. …
“It definitely puts me in a position where I truly have to re-center my focus and remind myself who I am. You know? Being associated with anything like that is not who I am as a man. Falling short and even being associated with that, you’ve got to make sure you find yourself again and be yourself. Truly be yourself. And that’s what I’m going to do from here on out.”
Agholor declined to talk specifically about what happened at the strip club that day in June, but he did say the first few days, especially after the allegations came out, were very difficult for him and his family.
“Tough. Tough,” he said. “For a few days I sat back and I was in shock. But after a while I had to realize, I put myself in that position and all I can do is grow and find ways to get closer to my family and get closer to the people that had my back and just continue to grow and also train because I couldn’t let it defeat me twice.
“If I had just sat around moping, I wouldn’t be prepared to perform today. So I continued to train, stay with my family and get myself ready.”
Agholor said after the allegations came out, he returned home to Tampa to reconnect with his family and start the process of deciding exactly what kind of changes he had to make in his life to be the person he wanted to be.
“My parents were disappointed,” he said. “But they also understand that the best I could do is respond the right way. The actions were the actions. But what was I going to do after that from here on out?
“[Becoming] closer to my younger brother, taking care of my little sister, being there every day, being there for my family, making the right decisions. And they were proud of the way I responded.”
Agholor, the 20th pick in last year’s draft, had a disappointing rookie year, with just 23 catches for 283 yards and one touchdown.
So even before these allegations were made public, a lot of Eagles fans were disappointed in Agholor.
Now he has more to overcome to win the fans back. Because even though there won’t be any charges against Agholor, his reputation has definitely taken a major hit.
“At the end of the day, what I did gives everybody enough to say, ‘Hey, man, you did something wrong,’” he said. “At the end of the day, they have every right to do that.
“But as a man, I’ve got to do stuff from here on out to show who I am as a person and the type of man I’ll be.
“You never wish for negative things to happen to you, but they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And I swear I feel way stronger. I do.”
It’s hard to imagine anybody coming across more genuine in such circumstances than Agholor Thursday.
His voice shook as he spoke of the faith that Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson, Howie Roseman and Jeff Lurie had in him and how he let them down.
“I fell short of my mission and I understand I should have done a better job,” he said. “From here on out, I have an obligation to do the right thing and to be the right person for this organization.
“What’s going to change? Understanding that every day I have an opportunity to take care of the life I have and to be a good person.
“I made a [poor] decision. I wish I didn’t. But at the end of the day, I have to make a conscious effort every day when I wake up to feed myself the right stuff and be around the right people and make the right decisions and hold myself accountable. So that’s what I’m going to do.”
Long snapper Jon Dorenbos took a break from Hollywood to return to Philadelphia to kick off Eagles training camp on Thursday. But that didn't stop him from showing off his magic yet again.
It wasn't a national audience on America's Got Talent this time but rather an intimate audience inside the Eagles facility at the NovaCare Complex.
A number of Secret Service officers who are in town working the Democratic National Convention visited the Birds during some down time and Dorenbos did something not many people can do. He got one past them.
You can watch the trick below. You can also catch Dorenbos yet again during the semi-finals of America's Got Talent in the coming weeks.