Eagles TC Day 2: Don’t Get Caught Up in ‘The Plan’
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Much has been made of the Eagles' plan to put Carson Wentz in bubble wrap for the entire 2016 season.
And make no mistake that is the course of action first-year coach Doug Pederson has in mind, again repeating the depth chart on the first day of his inaugural training camp on Monday.
"I mean I’ve said all along, Sam's (Sam Bradford) the guy," the coach claimed. "Then you've got to get through four games and a lot of preseason. Going into September 11th, you know, Sam's the guy. Sam's the guy and I'll stick to that as we go. Chase (Chase Daniel] is the No. 2 and Carson's is No. 3."
For the first time, however, Pederson also addressed the obvious. Everyone has plans and sometimes life doesn't care about your intention and throws a curve ball that drops from 12 to 6, right off the table.
When it comes to the best-laid plans in the NFL for instance, injuries and ineffectiveness always enter into the equation. So anyone utilizing even a modicum of common sense already understands that Bradford is the guy in 2016, all the way up until he isn't the guy.
"Well, we don't know it (if redshirting Wentz) will be his entire rookie year; we can't speculate that far out," Pederson admitted. "But going into the season, there is a good chance it starts that way."
There are a whole host of things that could affect Bradford and his playing time this season, starting with his much-discussed history with injuries and moving on the fact he's working with skill-position talent that isn't exactly going to scare many defensive coordinators. Finally, there's the fact that everyone around South Philadelphia knows Bradford is a lame duck, including the QB himself.
“I think at this point, I’m just trying to come out here, get better each day, try to make this team better, try to help this team win games, do my job the best I can, and then whatever happens, happens,” Bradford said.
What happens right now is the status quo until someone at the NovaCare Complex (think Jeffrey Lurie) decides it's time to pull the trigger on the future.
"I'm very comfortable with Sam and very comfortable with Chase," Pederson explained. "...So right now we're going to get Carson as many reps as we can. Get him caught up. Get him to where he needs to be. I'm very comfortable and excited where Sam left OTAs and where he came in this year right now. Chase is a solid two. So we're just going to have to wait to see what happens down the road."
There are no declarative statements when it comes to coaching in the NFL. As we sit here on July 26, the Eagles' plan is well-documented but assuming that means set in stone, is specious.
Many things could change by Sept. 11 and even more as we roll into October, November and December. And if the opportunity presents itself, Pederson reserves the right to change his mind and rip the bubble wrap of a player everyone in this organization is smitten with.
"You just love everything about this kid," Pederson gushed when discussing Wentz. "His energy, his work ethic, you know, it's just little things now, detailed things in his footwork, his drop, the progressions and where his eyes are. Those are the things in the National Football League from a quarterback standpoint that really become very important on a game day. And those are the things that we've got to continue to work with him on throughout camp."
Tuesday training camp notes:
-Cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, whose rookie season was wiped out by a torn ACL, has ditched the knee brace at camp and is ready to compete for a job.
"Getting the brace off was a big goal of mine," he admitted. "I could have gotten it off sooner, but why rush? I kept it on until after minicamp. Then I went home and took it off in the last week or two of training at home so I would be used to running around without it on again. It was definitely a big moment."
Shepherd faces an uphill battle on the depth chart as veterans Leodis McKelvin, Nolan Carroll, Ron Brooks, Eric Rowe and rookie Jalen Mills are currently ahead of him in the coaching staff;s mind.
-Maybe it's the water at the NovaCare Complex because the drops were back in a big way on Tuesday. A host of receivers had trouble holding onto the football with 6-foot-3 rookie receiver Xavier Rush mishandling a pair if balls. Also struggling with their handle at times was undersized slot receiver Hunter Sharpe, as well as running back Byron Marshall.
-Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke after practice Tuesday and explained his scheme: "We're not rocket scientists. We're not trying to reinvent anything. Its about putting guys in good position," the always entertaining defensive mind said.
-Schwartz opened his PC by honing his stand-up act with a bit on product placement. "You know when they have Gatorade on the podium and no one touches it. Sometimes I think it hurts more than it helps."
-With the limited numbers on hand, fourth-string QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson continued to get a little work at tight end and he's not exactly G.J. Kinne, dropping a pass and deflecting another that Aaron Grymes picked off and took to the house.
-The veterans report Wednesday and the first full-scale practice is on Thursday afternoon.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen