Peters Returns to the Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - On a sizzling hot day in South Philadelphia, the elder statesman of the Eagles returned to the practice field.
The 35-year-old Jason Peters missed the team's voluntary work this spring after the team asked him to take less money earlier in the offseason but the veteran Pro Bowl selection downplayed any of that and claimed the absence was just about resting his aging body.
He did make some news, however, by claiming he wanted to finish his potential Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia.
"I want to retire here," the 14-year pro said after seeing limited work with the first team on Tuesday. "I don't want to go year to year."
The latter part of that had to do with Peters' current deal, which runs through 2018 but is hardly cost-efficient for the Eagles. He's on the books for $10.45 million and $10 million over the next two years but none of that is guaranteed.
Philadelphia has made its decision to stick with Peters this season but obviously, that will be revisited again next March. Although he would like a more certain future, however, Peters claimed he has no plans of holding out in training camp.
"I don't want to be year-to-year doubting, are they going to release me?" the big man said. "Are they going to do this? Taking pay cuts and all that. I just want to make sure that I got the reassurance that I'm going to retire here, don't have to worry about it."
On the field Peters is impressed by the improvements he sees, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
"Ten-plus wins," Peters predicted. "I watched (the offense) today. Carson throwing it, receivers catching it, running backs and the offensive line, we're going to take care of our business."
Also present for the first day of minicamp was Marcus Smith, the embattled defensive end who is going to have a tough time making the final 53-man roster come September.
The former first-round pick is behind Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Chris Long and rookie Derek Barnett on the depth chart but still skipped the voluntary work on the advice of his agent. but it was not with the intent of forcing a trade or release.
His absence was not with the intent of forcing a trade or release, however, at least according to Smith.
Smith said he is at his playing weight of 255 pounds and has been working out on his own in Baltimore, as well as getting some tutoring from pass-rushing guru Chuck Smith.
Despite the long odds Smith claimed he still expects to make the Eagles and believe he will.
-The action was a lot more spirited at the beginning of group install than the end of practice as the 90-plus degree heat sapped the energy of just about everyone.
-The play of the day offensively may have gone to receiver Marcus Johnson, who beat rookie corner Rasul Douglas deep on what would have been a touchdown.
-Defensively, emerging second-year corner Jalen Mills jumped an out-route for a pick six.
-Isaac Seumalo and Allen Barbre continued to split first-team reps at left guard but Seumalo continued to get the first opportunity.
"Right now I want to get Isaac as much [preparation] as possible to get him ready and get him starter reps," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. "Then at the same time with Allen, it’s the same thing. Allen is another one of those guys that's kind of in that Jason Peters mold a little bit, as far as knowing what he can do and [our comfort level] in his ability. You know, we just wanted to get [Barbre] to camp and get him to the regular season."
-Injured rookie cornerback Sidney Jones was on the field in a bucket hat on the sideline.
"Just being back now and being in the meeting room, and being around the guys, watching practice, this is where he gets a lot of his mental reps going forward," Pederson said when discussing Jones. "It’s good to see him here, obviously, No. 1, and now it’s just a matter of getting him caught up and learning the defense as fast as he can."
-Linebacker Mychal Kendricks was back with the first-team defense after dealing with a hamstring issue throughout OTAs, while LeGararrette Blount was the first-team running back although the Eagles continue to implement many looks in their '21P' formation, which is the pony look with Darren Sproles and rookie Donnel Pumphrey on the field for the first time.
"Well, with the amount of running backs that we have and trying to get everybody reps, it's a great way to get two running backs on the field at the same time and get guys reps," Pederson explained when asked about the look. "It also allows us to see what Donnel can do away from the formation or in a receiver position.
"And then, again, just how does that fit into the system? And those are all things that we can get on tape here in practice and make those decisions once we get into camp and then on into the regular season when it comes to game planning."
-Derek Barnett has gotten rave reviews so far but Sproles schooled him with a route of the backfield when the rookie was asked to drop on a zone-blitz.
-Middle linebacker Jordan Hicks bragged about his sideline-to-sideline ability while chasing down one play and he should by the way.
-Backup cornerback Aaron Grymes continues to compete as the second-team slot option had a brilliant PBU on a throw headed for Trey Burton.
-Overheard from Malcolm Jenkins when Carson Wentz misfired and hit Zach Ertz on an out-and-up out of bounds. "Carson, don't test me like that. Bad S@#$ happens."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen