Eagles Training Camp Observations Day 1
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — Preparation for the 2019 season began in earnest Thursday at the NovaCare Complex when the Eagles took to the practice field for the first time during training camp.
Doug Pederson and his staff started things slowly with a scaled-back 10/10/10 session before the first full-scale practice on Friday.
The positive news was that only one player was not practicing at all, rehabbing cornerback Jalen Mills (foot), who was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list. Mills was on a separate field doing some work on his own and was in the locker room after practice and indicated things were progressing well for him.
The pleasant surprises who were active were right guard Brandon Brooks (Achilles) and cornerback Ronald Darby (ACL), who were able to go during individual drills but sat out team work.
Brooks is less than seventh months off his surgery for an injury that sometimes takes up to nine months to recover from.
The Pro Bowl guard said he checked in with former teammate Arian Foster as well as Terrell Suggs when it came to rehabbing an Achilles but left tackle Jason Peters, who suffered two tears, was the main sounding board.
"He's probably the closest person that really understands what it's like tearing an Achilles and being a bigger guy and how to rehab," Brooks explained.
As for being back so early Brooks indicated that was always the goal.
"Everybody is a doctor all of a sudden," he joked. " … There was no doubt in my mind I would be here [for the start of camp]. The only question was if [the team] would let me.”
Team drills is the next goal for Brooks but that is still off in the distance.
“Doing individual and doing team are two different things,” Brooks said. “Once I’m able to do team then I can really go from there. [The plan] is to do individual for a couple weeks, see how it feels and then get fully integrated back into team stuff.”
An NFL Network report indicated Darby would start on the PUP list and the corner himself listed Week 1 as his goal back in the spring so the early returns were obviously very positive.
Rookie running back Miles Sanders was a full go after missing the spring with a hamstring injury, slotting in as the second back behind Jordan Howard in team drills. The recently-re-signed Darren Sproles was also worked in judiciously.
Others who missed spring work but were able to get back to at least some individual participation were All-Pro defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (foot), defensive end Derek Barnett (shoulder), running backs Corey Clement (knee) and Josh Adams (shoulder), linebacker Nigel Bradham (foot) and safety Rodney McLeod (knee). Receiver Mack Hollins (core) did individual and some team work.
Bradham confirmed he hurt his toe in the divisional-round playoff game in New Orleans and needed surgery to get a ligament reattached.
All-Pro center Jason Kelce broke down the pre-practice huddle and the notable on-field developments included Halapoulivaati Vaitai again with the first team at right guard during team work in place of Brooks while Rasul Douglas was the right cornerback with Darby working his way back.
Avonte Maddox worked both at left cornerback in the base defense and in the slot with the first-team defense while Andrew Sendejo was Malcolm Jenkins' running mate at safety with Rodney McLeod still progressing.
The starting LBs without Bradham in team action were Nate Gerry at MIKE, veteran free-agent pickup Zach Brown at WILL and Kamu Grugier-Hill at SAM. In the nickel, Gerry and KGH were the options.
The first offensive rep used 12 personnel with both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field together. In that instance, the receivers were Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor.
The highlight of the day was a Carson Wentz dime to Agholor down the right sideline for about 20 yards in which the football was dropped perfectly to Agholor's outstretched arms behind two defenders.
For the defense and understand 10/10/10 practices are not a typical competitive environment a Senjedo interception of Nate Sudfeld was the high-water mark.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen