Day 1 is in the books.
The Eagles practiced on the fields at the NovaCare Complex at 8:40 a.m. on Monday in 90-plus-degree weather. It was the first practice under new head coach Doug Pederson, who said he had trouble sleeping Sunday because of excitement and the massive thunderstorm that rolled through the area.
For now, there are just 38 players (out of 90) in training camp. The rest of the team won’t report until Wednesday and the first full-team practice isn’t until Thursday afternoon. Pederson said the team will be in pads for the first time on Saturday. The plan is to have pads on for three days, then off one, on three, etc.
Here are some notes and observations from Day 1:
Figuring out the reps
Four of the 38 players in camp right now are quarterbacks: Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel, Carson Wentz and recently-re-signed McLeod Bethel-Thompson. During the spring, while Bradford, Daniel and Wentz worked with the first, second and third teams, respectively, they did split reps evenly.
Eventually, the bulk of those practice snaps will need to go to Bradford, as he prepares to be the starter. But does Pederson have a plan during camp?
“Well, I'm not officially there yet,” he said. “I do know this: Your first two preseason games, typically your starters don't play a ton; you're trying to save them for that third game and get them ready for the regular season. So we'll focus on the twos and threes probably a little bit more early in camp, probably give them the bulk of the reps. Then we’ll ramp the guys up who we think are going to be the starters opening day, we'll get them more reps towards the end of camp.”
Pederson on Agholor
Second-year receiver Nelson Agholor won’t be reporting to camp until Wednesday, at which time he’ll finally be asked about his involvement in an incident at a gentlemen’s club in June. He was accused of sexual assault, but the district attorney decided there wasn’t enough evidence to charge him.
Pederson said he hasn’t spoken to Agholor since the incident; he didn’t think it was necessary to speak to him at the time. Pederson did say the two of them will have a private chat once Agholor returns.
“I'm still not going to comment too much on it,” Pederson said. “I just know this, that everybody, we all make mistakes, we learn from them, we move on, and we just look forward to him getting to camp and getting ready to go.”
The first three days
Training camp won’t really look or feel like training camp until Thursday, when the entire team practices together. Until then, it’s just a bunch of rookies and quarterbacks.
But what does Pederson hope to accomplish during these days?
“First of all, it's a great three days to get acclimated, number one, to the schedule,” he said. “It's great for the coaches to kind of get back into the swing of football and thinking football before we get the rest of the team in here. And then I think thirdly, just getting the quarterbacks in here and getting their arms loose and kind of getting into a full lather before they really get cranked up Friday, Saturday and the rest of camp.”
Not a ton of observations thanks to the lack of numbers in camp right now. But here are a few:
• Credit Quentin Gause for the first kinda-hard hit of 2016 training camp. He popped Wendell Smallwood after the rookie running back caught a pass from Bradford during 7-on-7s.
• Aaron Grymes, the former CFL cornerback, made a nice play down the left sideline to break up a Daniel pass to Marcus Johnson. Grymes has a little edge during camp right now because of his professional experience.
• Johnson couldn’t haul that one in, but the wideout from Texas had a pretty good day, eventually grabbing some long balls.
• Wentz, like he did in the spring, showed off the deep ball again on Monday. He doesn’t always hit those passes — and some of them are ill-advised — but he likes to throw it deep more than Bradford and Daniel.
• Former Oregon running back Byron Marshall, who missed all of OTAs thanks to the NCAA/NFL graduation rule, had a pretty nice day aside from a fumble. He is especially good catching the ball out of the backfield.
• Because of the small numbers in camp right now, quarterback Bethel-Thompson played some tight end on Monday and didn’t look great. At one point, a pass came his way and it looked like Gause might have interfered with him, while taking him to the ground. That red jersey doesn’t mean much when Bethel-Thompson lines up as a tight end.
• A good sign for Smallwood: Saw him pick up a blitz without hesitation on Monday. That’s important because that’s probably the area of his game that needs the most improvement.
• The difference in the pace of practice between Pederson and Chip Kelly is shocking. There’s just a lot fewer plays run under Pederson, who chooses to do his coaching on the field instead of in the meeting room. At one point, there was about a 30-second delay between snaps. If that happened under Kelly, his head would have exploded.