Eagles Training-Camp Takeaways: RB’s, WR’s Impressive at Camp
With the first full week of camp in the books, both coordinators and head coach Doug Pederson have addressed the media, here are some takeaways from their first week of practices at training camp:
Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement Impressive. The first week of practices have added an intriguing battle at the running back position – Smallwood and Clement are a couple of reason why.
While Smallwood showed flashes at times last season, he recently admitted that he lacked focus, and was out of shape during his 2016 rookie campaign. But he has come into this camp in better shape and continues to impress during the Eagles live periods. Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich recently discussed what stands out about the second year running back.
“His instincts. His aggressiveness. How smart he is,” Reich explained. “I think he’s got very good physical skills. He’s fast. He’s quick. He’s a thrashing runner. He’s fearless.”
With LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles and rookie Donnel Pumphrey virtual locks for at least three spots, Smallwood is fighting for what could be the last one with local product Corey Clement. Clement, a undrafted rookie free agent, has also impressed, coming into camp 10-pounds lighter than he was during the combine.
“I think Corey is, overall, making good progress,” Reich said. “I think his strength is as a runner. When you put the ball in his hands, he’s aggressive, he’s elusive, and he runs strong. I think the other areas of his game are developing to come along with that.”
Philadelphia will have some tough decisions as it sorts out its backfield, but if Smallwood and Clement continue to impress, that’s a problem they’re glad to have.
Philadelphia has plenty of WR options. The Eagles wide receiving core in 2016 potentially cost the team as shot at the playoffs. The team spent the offseason bringing in receiving talent to try and help Carson Wentz in year two – at camp it looks like mission accomplished.
“I mean, it’s very competitive out here all the time,” Reich said. “Every player that’s here deserves to be here. You have to fight and scratch for every rep, for every play. You have to prove what you can do on every play.”
“We’re looking for receivers that are coming off the ball, making plays when they’re coming their way. It’s very competitive on both sides. So I think that’s helping us develop at the receiver position.”
One of the guys who seems to have some to play is third year man Nelson Agholor.
The former first-round pick has come in looking sharp, and has the coaching staff taking notice.
“I think the things that impressed me with Nelson are two things,” Reich explained. “One, the number of big plays he’s making. Two, the consistency in which he’s making them. Not only making the big plays, but the consistency of which he’s doing everything: his route running, ball catching. He’s just at a good spot right now.”
If Agholor can prove to be a consistent play-maker, that would give the Eagles more depth, but also more options.
The question is, how to they fit Agholor in to an already crowded position, that features Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews, along with a couple of young guys how have impressed; Marcus Johnson and Mack Hollins.
“Yeah, really stacking the days together is important. For a guy who has never really done it live out there on Sundays, Sunday after Sunday [are] even more so important,” Reich said about the young wideouts, who have been stacking some good practices together. “Marcus and Mack have certainly been doing that.”