Minicamp over, SB Rings presented, and now five weeks of alleged R’n’R before training camp begins in earnest.
The cynic in me would advise all players, especially candidates for those rare openings on the final roster, to not take the “recreation” part of summer vacation too seriously. Stay in shape or continue to get in shape with daily workouts. Receivers, find a QB in your neighborhood and have him throwing to you daily. Everyone, spend an hour each day with your nose in the playbook.
Most importantly, stay out of trouble. I’ve got the over-under on arrests of Eagles players at 2 this summer.
Carson Wentz is staying in Philly all summer to continue rehab on his knee. That unfortunately removes his stabilizing effect on a lot of players who used to attend his summer gatherings in the wild.
As for the reviews of the minicamp itself, there’s not much to say except all the young players and tryout guys got all the reps they could want. De’Vante Bausby probably made the biggest leap forward, from PS10 guy last season to serious contender for nickel corner and special teams duty on the big club.
If there was one major disappointment, it probably was punter Cameron Johnston’s inconsistency in drills. The Birds are going to have to bring in a free agent punter sooner than later.
After the dust of minicamp settled, Kamu Grugier-Hill is the leader in the clubhouse for the WILL linebacker spot, with Corey Nelson and Nathan Gerry right behind him. Again, I expect some free agent competition to be brought into that picture by late July.
MLB Jordan Hicks looks reasonably healthy after successful Achilles tendon surgery:
“It feels good to be a part of things again,” Hicks said. “It’s hard to sit around and not be a part of things. I think I’m ahead of schedule, like I’ve been pretty much the entire time and where I expected to be at this point. We’re taking it day by day, continuing to work hard, to make sure that when we get back for Training Camp, I’ll be in a better place.”
Rookie TE Dallas Goedert showed quick learning ability as he picked up the Eagles offense with very few glitches:
“It’s going great so far, from the first three days of rookie minicamp, the game has slowed down quite a bit,” Goedert said. “I’m starting to get more comfortable in the offense and the way tight ends are supposed to do things around here. The language is starting to make a lot more sense. The words mean something now. I really enjoy that. I like knowing what I’m supposed to be doing out there. There has been a learning curve, but I feel like I’m fitting in.”
This offseason, the Eagles added three speedy veteran receivers in Mike Wallace, Markus Wheaton, and Marquess Wilson. QB Carson Wentz is ecstatic about the addition of Wallace.
“I’ve been really excited about Mike. Seeing Mike out here, he’s a lot faster than I thought on film. It’s been really cool,” Wentz said. “Unfortunately, for me, I haven’t gotten a ton of work with him in live reps.”
As for veteran left tackle Jason Peters? He’s baaaack, according to PE.com’s Chris McPherson:
“It was great to see tackle Jason Peters launching out of his stance during individual drills. He looked explosive going into the blocker’s pads. Limited to individual work thus far in the minicamp, Peters is wearing a brace on his right knee, the one he injured against Washington last October.”
That’s at least two knee-brace guys we’ll be counting upon this season.
And that’s another reason to appreciate the next five weeks of “no football”. Nobody wants to say it out loud, but besides Wentz and Peters, we’ve got a bunch of key players who are still recuperating from injuries and subsequent surgeries from last season: WR Alshon Jeffery, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, safety Ryan Neal, linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, running back Josh Adams, safety Chris Maragos, defensive end Brandon Graham, defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, and cornerback Sidney Jones.
This list of walking wounded is just another reminder of how difficult it is to repeat as World Champion. So savor the post-minicamp break, fellows, but keep working, and stay out of trouble!