Eagles TC Day 4: Brooks Absent, Peters Vents
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Jason Peters is sort of like the E.F. Hutton of the Philadelphia Eagles' locker room in that when the veteran left tackle speaks, people listen.
On Thursday Peters held court after a shortened, 80-minute practice moved indoors when strong storms hit the area.
It was the Eagles' first full-scale practice of training camp and the team's two biggest players fueled the headlines in far different ways.
Massive right guard Brandon Brooks was absent from the session with a hamstring injury that the organization claimed was day-to-day, while Peters, the eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle was not only present, he became the latest Philadelphia player to breathe a sigh of relief now that Chip Kelly is 3,000 miles away on another coast.
First the football:
Brooks, who signed a five-year, $40 million deal in free agency this offseason, was replaced by veteran Stefan Wisniewski, the Eagles’ other offensive lineman signed during the free-agency process, with the first team.
That meant the Philadelphia offense was down two starters after running back Ryan Mathews went on the non-football injury list Wednesday with an ankle injury suffered while training on his own last week. Veteran Darren Sproles handled the heavy lifting with the ones in Mathews' place.
As for Peters he was at his familiar left tackle position during practice and followed that with the unfamiliar role of being in front of the microphone after. The big man doesn't like to talk that often but when he does, it's usually meaningful.
When asked about the Eagles' struggles in the running game last season, Peters was blunt.
"I think it was the scheme," he said. "This is the National Football League and if the running back is to the left and you are running a zone read I mean where do you think the ball is going? To the right so they caught up to us.
"We has some good years there. Back-to-back and that last year we had our down year. We just needed to change a little bit up especially with Sam (Bradford) back there. They know he's not gonna run it so it kind of put our hands behind our backs."
Peters also confirmed that the Kelly era featured the same snap count on every down.
"(Yes) every down," Peters said. "You can't really blame that because we are professionals so if you call the play and execute it but they're professionals too and when they know the play, it's tough."
At 34 and coming off an injury-plagued year Peters is also thrilled to be working with a coaching staff that is willing to listen to him and the other veterans to ensure their wellness from week to week.
"It's gonna be helpful," Peters admitted. "Especially this camp because I only know one speed so when I'm out there I'm going. So sometimes I overwork myself but you know they said they are going to take care of me so I'm looking forward to that."
And he's also looking forward to having his experience valued in the organization.
"The last couple of years there weren't a lot of vets and any vet that stood up and had something to say we got rid of them," Peters said. "But Doug was a player here and he understands so I think it's better."
Day 4 NovaCare Notes:
-With the Democratic National Convention getting ready to wrap up over at the Wells Fargo Center tonight, the secret service stopped by for a visit and were even rewarded with a little Jon Dorenbos magic show.
-Embattled linebacker Nigel Bradham was at practice as expected after his arrest for allegedly assaulting a cabana boy at a Miami Beach hotel last week and he was with the first-team when the Eagles defense was in its base look. About the only thing that could be construed as some sort of punishment was the fact that he went dead last in all individual drills.
Bradham spoke after practice but declined to address specifics of the case other than to say he was "confident his name would be cleared."
"You don't want that to be part of your legacy," Bradham admitted. "I didn't want to start here with that being in the news."
-Receiver Nelson Agholor, who was accused of sexual assault earlier in the offseason, a charge that wasn't pursued by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, also lined up with the first team when the Eagles were in 11 personnel. Agholor and Chris Givens were outside the numbers while Jordan Matthews handled the slot. At times Rueben Randle mixed in with the ones in place of Agholor, however.
Like Bradham, Agholor also took his medicine and spoke about the incident, which was down the street at a South Philadelphia strip club only hours after the team's minicamp wrapped up.
“I was in shock, but after a while I had to realize that I put myself in this position," Agholor said. “I fell short in my mission. I understand I should’ve done a better job. From here on out I have an obligation to do the right thing, to be the right person for this organization.”
-With Wisniewski elevated to the first-team OL in Brooks' place that meant he didn't take his usual snaps at backup center. That went to rookie third-round pick Isaac Seumalo, who figures to get the second-team reps at LG when Brooks is up and running again.
-Doug Pederson raved about rookie linebacker Joe Walker on Wednesday and the seventh-round pick was running with the second team at mike behind starter Jordan Hicks. Throughout the offseason Najee Goode was in that role but the veteran moved over to the weak-side with the twos to make room for Walker.
"I'll tell you, Joe Walker has done a great job for us this offseason and he's going to put himself in a position to be a solid backup," Pederson said.
-At corner, as expected the starters were Leodis McKelvin on the left side opposite Nolan Carroll with Ron Brooks in the slot when the nickel was on the field. Carroll also got work on the left side with the second-team, along with rookie Jalen Mills. Eric Rowe was behind Carroll on the right side.
-Ed Reynolds and Jaylen Watkins continued to be the backup safeties with Chris Maragos and rookie Blake Countess behind them. For the second straight day Countess was wearing his "helmet cam," something you can read more about by banging this link.
-The daily Carson Wentz watch was highlighted today by a solid seam throw to Trey Burton as well as some nice touch on a deep ball to undrafted free agent receiver Paul Turner.
Peters called Wentz "a superstar in the making."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen