Eagles camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Race at CB; Jeffery a 'different animal'

Eagles camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Race at CB; Jeffery a 'different animal'

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said he has no idea who the Eagles' starting cornerbacks will be this year and said that decision could take a good portion of the preseason to make.

“I’d like to do it tomorrow but that’s just not where we are," he said. "And I think if any decision you’re making now, you’re predetermining the race.

"It would be nice to predetermine the race. We have some positions where we have solid starters — our safety position, the linebacker position, our defensive tackles, we have some spots in there where guys have earned it, guys have played a lot of football in the NFL and it’s their spot to lose, so to speak.

"But at corner, we really don’t have that."

Free agent acquisition Patrick Robinson is the only corner on the roster with more than eight career starts, but he's with his fourth team in four years and not even a lock to make the team.

Last year's starters, Nolan Carroll and Leodis McKelvin are long gone. Second-round pick Sidney Jones is out indefinitely following Achilles surgery.

Head coach Doug Pederson said Monday the Eagles have their eyes open to acquire veteran help (see cornerback trade targets).

But for now, Jalen Mills, Ron Brooks, Rasul Douglas, Aaron Grymes and Robinson lead the group of potential starters.

"We added a veteran like Patrick Robinson, drafted some guys, got some guys back from injury," Schwartz said. "But we’re going to have to let it play (out).

"We’re going to have to keep an open mind. if we close that competition too soon, I don’t know if we serve the team the best way.”

'A different animal'
For the first few days of training camp, Carson Wentz is throwing to a bunch of rookies and second-year players, many of whom don't really have much of a shot to make the final roster. 

That will change on Thursday, when he retakes the field with the rest of the Eagles' veterans. That group will include Alshon Jeffery, the team's prized free-agent acquisition. It's not a stretch to say that Jeffery will be the best receiver Wentz has ever played with. 

"It's really nice having a guy like Alshon, not only catch radius, but he has some of the strongest hands I've ever seen," Wentz said on Tuesday. 

"The thing with Alshon and I, we just have to keep building that chemistry, building that relationship. ... You can just see, he's kind of a different animal, throwing the ball to him. He can cover some ground. It's nice to have a guy like that."

Building chemistry in Fargo
Wentz said he and Jeffery need to build chemistry and the pair continued that process after spring workouts in North Dakota. Unless you really haven't been paying attention at all recently, Wentz brought a bunch of his teammates to Fargo this summer to work out and hang in his home state. 

As the quarterback and leader of the group, Wentz took charge of setting the itinerary. He got an idea of how to set up these kinds of workouts by watching how Chase Daniel and Sam Bradford set up a workout last summer in San Diego. From there, Wentz asked his receivers about what they wanted to do. But "sometimes it's hard to get a consensus, so you just have to make the plan for yourself and go with it."

The group worked out at North Dakota State's new facility and spent time on a lake and golf course. Shelton Gibson had trouble standing on a paddle board, but from what Wentz said, most of his receivers didn't fare much better on the golf course. 

"I have never seen so many swings and misses," Wentz said. 

So which of his teammates was the best golfer? 

"I wouldn't say anyone was the best," Wentz answered. "Who was not the worst? I don't know. Maybe Mack (Hollins). Probably Mack of the receivers." 

Reunited
Michael Vick spent four seasons with the Eagles under Andy Reid and now is back with Reid in Kansas City as a coaching intern.

NFL odds: Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery among prop bet favorites

NFL odds: Carson Wentz, Alshon Jeffery among prop bet favorites

Everyone loves some good prop bets, right?

Bovada released its latest odds Monday afternoon for a handful of different NFL stats projections and there are a few Eagles in the mix. Most notably, Carson Wentz is tied for the 13th-best odds to lead the league in passing yards at 40/1 — the favorites among that group of quarterbacks include Drew Brees (3/1) and Tom Brady (6/1).

Wentz, however, is also listed as one of the more likely candidates to top the NFL in interceptions thrown this season. He's 10th at 20/1, but fortunately for Eagles fans, Bovada has Eli Manning at 6/1 behind only Blake Bortles (the favorite at 9/2).

The Vegas sportsbook also isn't all that high on Wentz's new top target, Alshon Jeffery. The sixth-year wideout is tied with a handful of guys — including Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas — at 50/1 odds to lead the league in receiving yards. Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown and Atlanta's Julio Jones are the leaders in that category at 4/1, followed by Odell Beckham, Jr. at 5/1.

And about running back? Well, Bovada doesn't expect there to be any true bell cows in the Birds' backfield given their running-back-by-committee setup. 

Somewhat charitably, LeGarrette Blount has 100/1 odds to finish as the NFL's top rusher, but given that he's rushed for more than 1,000 yards in a season only twice in his seven pro seasons, even that seems too low. Le'Veon Bell is the favorite on the ground at 3/1, followed by Ezekiel Elliot at 7/2.

It looks like the Eagles have landed in Fargo, North Dakota

It looks like the Eagles have landed in Fargo, North Dakota

It looks like the Eagles have landed. 

In Fargo. 

Remember almost a month ago, when Carson Wentz said he was going to get his skill position players together in his home state before training camp to work out and hang? Well, it looks like that time has come. 

And then it looked like Nelson Agholor might have found a bison burger of his own. 

On Monday morning, Jeffery went live on Twitter to show off a few of his teammates at a workout in North Dakota. Jordan Matthews spoke to the camera for a brief time. 

"We out here in North Dakota," Matthews said. "Ain't no rap stations on the radio or nothing, baby. Straight bison burgers, country music and red heads. Shout out to Carson Wentz." 

Last year, the Eagles' quarterbacks and skill position players met in San Diego. This year, with Wentz running the show, they're in Fargo, North Dakota. 

"Beautiful summers up there, believe it or not," Wentz said in mid-June (see story). "It'll be fun to get together with those guys."

In addition to Jeffery's tweet and Agholor's Instagram photo, Torrey Smith shared a video of him and rookie Shelton Gibson boarding a flight together, presumably to join Wentz and other in North Dakota. 

Others expected to attend the workout sessions include Zach Ertz and Matthews, who has long pushed to head up to North Dakota to see what Wentz's home state is all about. 

Training camp begins on July 24, but the first team practice doesn't take place until July 27. 

In the meantime, Wentz will be in Fargo throwing to his guys. 

"I think it just shows the leadership that Carson has and the type of rapport he has with the receivers and the confidence he has in his guys," Doug Pederson said in June. "It's something that's exciting as a coach, to know your guys are getting together these next couple weeks and working on their craft."