The Eagles’ Fargo Follies
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Carson Wentz put together a bonding trip to his native North Dakota for a number of his receivers before training camp and it reached far beyond the football field.
While the second-year quarterback and his targets spent plenty of time working on their on-field chemistry, there was also plenty of fun as well. The trip was filled with jet skiing, paddle boarding, and bison burgers.
The biggest misadventure had to do with golf, however.
"It took us about 4 1/2 hours to play best ball, scramble," Wentz joked following Tuesday's second practice of training camp. "I've never seen so many swings and misses. It was a disaster, but we had fun."
Asked who was the best golfer (besides himself), Wentz singled out fourth-round pick Mack Hollins, "I wouldn't say anyone was the best. Who's not the worst? Maybe Mack (Hollins) of the receivers."
Hollins, free agent signees Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, veterans Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor, as well as rookie Shelton Gibson and second-year wideout Marcus Johnson, went on the Fargo trip.
Gibson confirmed the lanky 6-foot-4 Hollins was the best of the group while talking with 973espn.com in the locker room but passed off the "worst honors" toward Johnson.
"Oh, there were a lot of swings and misses," the West Virginia product admitted, "but, Marcus was the worst."
Johnson didn't run from that claim but did say it was his first time swinging the clubs.
"We kept losing golf balls," the Texas native joked. "It was my fault."
Despite the issues on the links, Wentz believes his first passing camp as the team's leader was a home run.
"It went great," the quarterback claimed. "We got a good number of guys out there and got some really good work on the field. It was great to get that bonding time in both on the field and off the field."
That's continued on the field during the first two days of camp where the rookies and selected veterans have gotten some time with the No. 1 QB before the starters are mixed in on Thursday.
"That's big," Johnson, who caught a touchdown from Wentz on a corner route in 7-on-7 red-zone work, admitted. "Anytime you get a chance to develop that chemistry with Carson, it's a good thing."
Wentz, meanwhile, has taken the reins of his team after spending his first training camp behind now-departed veterans Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel.
"This year I was chomping at the bit to get back here," Wentz said. "Last summer I was just trying to breathe. Mentally I'm in a much better place."
CAMP CHATTER, DAY 2:
-Canadian rugby player turned tight end Adam Zaruba, who was signed Monday afternoon, was not on the field because he still needs to acquire a work visa before joining the team. It remains unclear when the paperwork will be completed.
-Former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry, who has moved from playing middle linebacker with Joe Walker back on the field to the SAM position, was the defensive star of practice, picking off two passes. Walker also got one after a Nick Foles pass was tipped away from Hollins in red-zone work and tipped in the air where the former seventh-round pick leaped to high-point the football, flashing impressive athleticism.
-Walker also got one after a Nick Foles pass was tipped away from Hollins in red-zone work and tipped in the air where the former seventh-round pick leaped to high-point the football, flashing impressive athleticism.
-Undrafted free agent Tre Sullivan looked very comfortable as the single-high safety against the offense's 11 personnel, intercepting a badly overthrown Dave Evans' pass and also playing very well in the red zone.
-Overheard: defensive line coach Chris Wilson imploring Derek Barnett to "create the confrontation sooner" when the first-round pick was doing 1-on-1 work with tackles Dillon Gordon and Victor Salako.
-Vetrean cornerback Ron Brooks, who is returning from a ruptured quad, said he is ready to take part on all periods of practice including the live ones.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen