Seumalo Returns as Eagles Open Camp
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Oppressively hot temperatures and the headache of circumventing South Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention greeted a select group of Philadelphia Eagles Monday as they kicked off the first training camp of the Doug Pederson era.
The rookies, quarterbacks, and a selected group of veterans coming off injuries, including cornerbacks Nolan Carroll and JaCorey Shepherd, as well as kicker Cody Parkey, were on the field Monday for three days of workouts in front of the first full-team practice on Thursday.
For some freshman like third-round pick Isaac Seumalo, it was the first time back since the post-draft minicamp due to the NFL's graduation rule with universities that use the quarters system, something a number of PAC-12 school do.
Seumalo, a versatile offensive lineman out of Oregon State, saw action at his projected position of left guard Monday, as well as center and even tackle with the scaled down numbers on hand.
"It's a blessing and a curse," Seumalo said of his ability to move around, "I can play any position but I would like to master one."
Because he missed so much offseason work, Seumalo is behind the curve when it comes to competing with the presumptive starter at LG, Allen Barbre.
"It sucked," Seumalo admitted of missing so much time. "I wanted to be here. I was just trying to work out, get in shape and gain a little weight."
The Eagles coaching staff was able to Skype with Seumalo as many as four or five times a week during his hiatus, however, and tried to keep him up to speed mentally.
"It was very helpful," Seumalo admitted. "Coach Stout (offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland) is very detailed. Just helping with the install and keeping me informed of things they were working on that are not in the playbook."
Pederson was impressed with the finished product.
"He was in a great frame of mind," the coach said when discussing Seumalo. "He was in shape, ready to go. He's so smart and intelligent. One thing I give Coach Stoutland a lot of credit for is spending time with him this offseason: Skyping with him during the regulated hours that he could talk with him and he did a great job and caught him up. (Seumalo) looked good today."
As far as fighting for a starting job, Seumalo believes he still has every opportunity to open some eyes before Sept. 11 and the Cleveland Browns.
"Last time I checked this is the NFL," he said. "The five best players are going to play (on the offensive line)."
"He just (wasn’t) around the guys," Pederson explained. "He (was) not hearing the calls from center. (Missing the) chance of getting those live reps obviously might set you back a little bit. But he's such a hard worker. He's smart. ...It's almost like he, you know, has gone through a whole offseason of the information. I don't have any issues with Isaac."
Monday training camp notes:
-The other players back after missing most of the offseason sue to the quarters system were Oregon running back Byron Marshall and Stanford defensive tackle Aziz Shittu, both undrafted rookie free agents.
Marshall, a former receiver at Oregon, was especially impressive catching the football out of the backfield and was as shifty as some of the dragonflies dotting the practice field during the early-morning practice. He was particularly effective coming out of an offset shotgun look.
-The defensive star of day was former CFL cornerback Aaron Grymes, who blanketed rookie receivers Cayleb Jones and Marcus Johnson on go routes while playing right cornerback.
-After practice starting quarterback Sam Bradford said he has added a few pounds in the offseason and is now playing at 219 after spending most of last season in the 213-214 range. Bradford wants to keep the added weight on for the season.
As far as his lame-duck status, Bradford continued to say he is not going to worry about things out of his control.
-Pederson admitted second-year cornerback Eric Rowe has some bumps in the road this spring while trying to learn some new techniques in Jim Schwartz's defense. Free agent pickup Ron Brooks and even rookie seventh-round pick Jalen Mills were running ahead of Rowe at times during offseason work and the coach wants to see the Utah product rebound and compete this summer for the starting slot opposite Leodis McKelvin. Right now Nolan Carroll remains the odds on favorite to win that job.
-Pederson confirmed the Eagles first full-pad practice will be Saturday after the NFL's mandated ramping-up period and then it will be three days off and one day on as far as the pads and hitting go. That means fans who plan to attend the open practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday will see their favorites in full-go mode.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen