Hints, Not Conclusions

Posted: May 23rd, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 63 Comments »

Real OTAs begin today. Players can actually do some football things. No hitting or tackling mind you, but this isn’t just 1-on-1’s and lots of positional group work as we’ve seen in recent weeks.

We will see the first team offense and defense. Who will those players be? You and I have some good guesses, but today we’ll actually see who the coaches want at those spots. What we see today won’t give us any definitive answers, just hints. Is Derek Barnett with the starters? Is he on the left or right side? Who will play LG on offense?

It is always fun to get an idea of what the coaches want to see.

It will be interesting to see how the CBs are used. I would project Patrick Robinson and Jalen Mills as the starters on the outside, with Ron Brooks in the slot. Maybe Rasul Douglas has shown enough that the coaches want him on the field with the 1’s to see how he does. Maybe Aaron Grymes or C.J. Smith will get work in the slot.

Last year dropped passes were a theme all spring and summer long. Will the presence of a stud receiver like Alshon Jeffery have a transcendent effect and bring out the best in the others around him? You also wonder about the desperation factor. Nelson Agholor and DGB aren’t just out there practicing this time around. They are competing for jobs. Sometimes the prospect of being unemployed will bring out the best in an inconsistent player.

The star of the show will be Carson Wentz. He ran the third string offense this time last year. Now he is the big dog and all eyes will be on him. It will be interesting to see if he looks like a polished veteran or still looks like a young, erratic QB. Wentz did work on his mechanics this offseason. I don’t know if you’ll be able to tell that right away.


I’m curious to see how DE Alex McCalister looks. Howie Roseman mentioned him this offseason as “looking great”. That meant bigger and/or stronger. Now we’ll get a chance to see him moving around. There is going to be a lot of competition for DE jobs. McCalister, Marcus Smith and Steven Means will be probably be fighting for one roster spot.

There was talk of Mack Hollins looking really impressive recently. I haven’t talked much about that because offseason hype can become very annoying. I am curious to hear what people think of him once they see him in action this week. The Eagles had him rated highly and think he has big potential.

Dillon Gordon had an impressive showing last summer and won a roster spot. This is a huge time for him. He has to show that he can build on what he did last year and be even better this time around. I’ll be interested to find out if he’s in top shape and where the Eagles play him. Gordon could be the backup LT. They could also put Allen Barbre or Matt Tobin at that spot. Gordon has the least experience of the trio, but he’s got upside and the coaches may want to really test him.

Destiny Vaeao has a chance to get good playing time this year. Beau Allen’s injury opens up the #3 DT spot and Vaeao could fill that role. He showed promise last year, but will have to step his game up for the Eagles to give him increased snaps.

I think we’re all curious to see how the Eagles use Donnel Pumphrey and how he performs. Will he be a RB most of the time or will they use him in the slot a lot? Pumphrey should excel either way in this setting.


We heard yesterday that Vinny Curry said he was slowed last year by an MCL injury. You can bet there will be a lot of attention paid to Curry and how he moves around out there. More than a few people are questioning Curry’s comments. Why didn’t we hear about this last year? Is this just an excuse for his lack of production (2.5 sacks)?

I don’t know Curry. I’ve not heard any bad things about him so I’m willing to take him at his word.

Honestly, I wondered if he was hurt. Curry remained disruptive, but he struggled to finish plays. He needed that last bit of burst to get to the QB or to get him down. Curry wasn’t getting that done.

There will be a lot of pressure on Curry this year. The Eagles added Derek Barnett at DE so that gives them a top talent to pair with Brandon Graham. Curry then becomes an expensive backup. If he bounces back and plays at a high level, the Eagles will gladly keep him around. If he struggles, they will have a long talk about what to do with him after the season.

I think Jim Schwartz could help Curry out by mixing him in at DT more in passing situations. That is where Curry can be so tough to block because of his quickness. OGs struggle to get their hands on him cleanly.

Curry says he is 100 percent now so he needs to look really good this spring and summer.


63 Comments on “Hints, Not Conclusions”

  1. 1 P_P_K said at 11:38 AM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Eagles on the field! Life is good, can’t wait for the season.

  2. 2 Rellihcs said at 12:29 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Now remember folks, skip the middle word of Tommy’s title. All OL position battles have been settled, and we should panic, and beatch.

  3. 3 A_T_G said at 1:08 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I am surprised Tommy didn’t touch on this, but the impressions formed over the next couple of days will likely provide an insurmountable lead for the annual TCD (training camp darling). Who will be this year’s long shot who, despite being nearly a lock for getting cut, will cause outrage and panic amounts fans when he is released?

    Remembering notable recent TCDs such as Josey, Bailey, and Mostert, and more classic examples like Ryan Moats and Joe Mays, as well as guys who actually beat the odds like CJ Smith and PT Cruiser, who do we expect to be this year’s TCD?

  4. 4 Rellihcs said at 1:19 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    (cop out warning) Paul Turner.

    The way I see it, the TCD generally has to be a skill position on offense. Surely there was Jacorrey Sheppard (who would’ve made the team but not for injury), but generally “the Na Brown award” (what BGN calls this) goes to a WR or RB…

    With this year pretty much being set at WR (Jefferey, Smith, Matthews, 2 rooks, then obligatory Ags 6th spot), there’s no room for a surprise – it’s either they keep all 6, or trade Jmat and go 5, or cut their loses with Ags and go 5.

    RB – unless people fall in love with Clement for some odd reason – or combine that with Smallwood hate, there doesn’t seem to be a reason for a darkhorse…

    Depth at WR and RB hurts the quality of competition for the TCD. Oh well, we’ll have to settle for watching/reading about quality players instead…

  5. 5 laeagle said at 2:03 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I don’t think that the “Na Brown award” was started by BGN. That’s older than them. Might even be classic EMB stuff. It all gets so hazy.

  6. 6 RogerPodacter said at 2:08 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    yea, i think i remember the na brown being given out in the EMB as well.

  7. 7 Rellihcs said at 2:13 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Good point. Fair enough.

  8. 8 Bert's Bells said at 2:17 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Definitely an EMB thang.

  9. 9 BobSmith77 said at 2:34 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    EMB thing.

  10. 10 Bert's Bells said at 2:47 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    It’s a thang.

    Or is it?

  11. 11 bubqr said at 3:14 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Definitely EMB – good old days…I can’t remember any of the names of the main posters over there apart from Tommy’s which makes me sad.

    I also recall a day receiving an email from eagles.com asking for my address because I won “the post of the week” or something. They sent me a T-shirt all the way to France, which I thought was really cool. Never knew what forum post it was for though…The one where I explained while Macho Harris would become a Pro bowler? Was Macho Harris post EMB? I can’t remember.

  12. 12 Ark87 said at 1:21 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I feel like that waits until preseason game 1. All it takes is one guy going “hit stick” on a 3rd stringer, or one move or stiff-arm the takes the cleats off some camp-body, and the love affair begins.

  13. 13 A_T_G said at 5:28 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    If you wait until actual training camp to campaign for TCD, you are already lost. A juke for the camera, arunning a punt to the house needlessly, a witty retort to Les…we need to be latching onto pointless nuggets early and often.

  14. 14 Ark87 said at 12:09 PM on May 24th, 2017:

    You raise a good point, Steelhammer. First and foremost: He’s got the name. Then he has the service, he’s been “overlooked” for being undersized and not fast, and some weird rule stuff trying to make it so he can’t play football or some such. That’s an inside track for a lot of people pulling for him.

  15. 15 A_T_G said at 2:59 PM on May 24th, 2017:

    Great name and the system trying to keep him down? Great combo.

  16. 16 FairOaks said at 3:43 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I’ll go Pumphrey and Hollins for the players-who-we-get-excited-about-in-shorts this year. Is that the “Jeremy Bloom award” ? Then when the pads go on… is when you see how they really do on the field.

    Maybe there are OTA darlings (players who look great with no contact allowed), TCD (players who get good media reports during training camp with pads on), and preseason darlings (players who look good to fans watching the latter half of preseason games).

    Josey, Bailey, and Mostert were the preseason darling type, I think.

  17. 17 ChoTime said at 3:57 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I call it the “Nate Iloa Igglesblitz Preseason HOFer.”

  18. 18 Media Mike said at 8:28 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Steven Daniels and Joe Walker. I’m ALL IN on getting rid of Kendricks and disparaging draft reach / bust Nate Gerry in the LB group.

  19. 19 D3FB said at 8:48 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Greg Ward

  20. 20 Media Mike said at 8:52 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    That works; but only due to his much needed position change.

  21. 21 A_T_G said at 11:03 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I think Clement is my odds on favorite to take the prize – position of need and one that looks good when offenses and defenses are playing out of sync.

    Personally, I would love to see Gerry turn into a Kiko with brains.

  22. 22 D3FB said at 12:24 PM on May 24th, 2017:

    Theres just not enough contact anymore for those two to stand out.

    As someone said to me “If Pumphrey doesn’t look like an unstoppable nightmare in these non contact drills we’re so fucked”

  23. 23 A_T_G said at 3:01 PM on May 24th, 2017:

    Gerry is kinda on the Pumphrey side of LBs, though. A few picks or PBUs and he creates a buzz. Clement might have tough sledding to get attention, agreed.

  24. 24 Dave said at 1:44 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    No Marcus Smith today. Not sure why he wouldn’t be there, unless there is a trade in process.

  25. 25 Sean Stott said at 2:15 PM on May 23rd, 2017:


  26. 26 BobSmith77 said at 2:33 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    He is one guy though that if he wants a better chance of making this roster should have showed up.

  27. 27 Sean Stott said at 2:59 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I disagree, either something is voluntary or it isn’t.

  28. 28 Ryan Rambo said at 3:15 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Yes…voluntary means voluntary, but If Cox was expected to be there, kinda hard not to think a guy barely holding onto a roster spot wasn’t.

  29. 29 Sean Stott said at 3:21 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    But why would anyone expect Cox to be there? Hasn’t it been well documented that he takes it easy in offseason and phones it in during preseason?

  30. 30 Ryan Rambo said at 3:24 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Ehhh leadership and just got a huge deal and didn’t really play up to it for the most part. Look, I’m not whining about it, but it is what it is. Some things are expected even when they are termed “voluntary” and thats a fact. Not saying its right or wrong. As long as we win, and he plays up to his talent, I couldn’t care less.

  31. 31 FairOaks said at 3:48 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    It’s voluntary, but you are missing a chance to impress. If other DEs look great, Eagles could be eyeing saving the 600K roster bonus he’s due in July, in addition to the salary they would save if they cut him. You will only get so many chances to impress before then. On the other hand, if he has a nagging injury, it may be best to stay away until healed.

  32. 32 BobSmith77 said at 2:40 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    All of the local sports media getting hyped about Cox being a no-show to voluntary camp.

    Overblown as usual (literally is nothing to talk about in Philly sports right now) but I can see raising it as a minor point too.

    Jon Ritchie made an interesting point that while teammates aren’t going to be concerned about Peters not being there but Cox not showing up (and being supposedly on vacation during them) is going to raise some eyebrows & chatter. Dawkins didn’t every skip a voluntary work out.

    Not a good sign necessarily when your supposed leader on defense just skips them and put an inexperienced head coach in an awkward spot. Went on to add that he wonders how much of this is due to the fact about how Pederson’s role in handing the defense is seen by players too.

  33. 33 Will Ft. Daft Punk said at 2:41 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I think Hicks and Jenk are looked as leaders of the D. I think this all blows over

  34. 34 BobSmith77 said at 2:43 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Ritchie brought up Jenkins. He was really interested to see what/if anything he had to say about Cox’s absence. He didn’t anticipate Jenkins saying much about it either way publicly.

    Basically Jenkins is smart enough to not say anything unless Cox being MIA really did piss off some of his teammates & Jenkins wants to make a point to Cox by saying something publicly.

    Cox got dogged a bit by criticism last year that he didn’t play quite as well. This will continue to give just a tiny bit of fuel to that narrative headed into camp.

  35. 35 ColorSgt said at 6:45 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Factoring in the media, its probably more of a hassle to skip than to go.

  36. 36 Gary Barnes said at 3:35 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I’m probably in the minority and old fashioned, but either the players, and therefore the team, want to be and will work until they are the best or they will not. Either the organization demands excellence or it does not. Either the coaches mandate accountability and performance or they do not.

    It would be the optimal situation for this team and organization if every player was there working together from day 1, voluntary or not. Success is also voluntary and those who only do what is required very rarely turn out to be the best.

  37. 37 ChoTime said at 3:56 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Sure… what’s your point? Every team wants to be the best. Most head coaches are working 80-90-100 hour weeks or more. 32/32 of them want the best, smartest, hardest working, most talented players to give them a chance to compete against the other 31 workaholic coaches. In a perfect owners’ world, every player will do everything asked of him, focusing 100%, sacrificing his body, mind and life for the paycheck and the good of the glory of the sports corporation a billionaire owns. In real life, players do have a certain amount of agency and free will and, what’s more, because they possess scarce commodities (ie, talent), some measure of bargaining power. Thus, GMs can’t up and fire someone who happens to drop an important pass or decides not to come in for a voluntary workout. If they did so, they would diminish their team’s talent level and thus weaken their chances of being successful.

    So, being an old school hardass and firing anyone who messes up is actually not the key to winning in the NFL, or practically any other organization in a free country, either.

  38. 38 ColorSgt said at 4:06 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Goes along with the idea of having boyscouts vs. NFL players on your team. Kelly taught us that you need NFL players on your roster. Sure some can be headaches to the point of hurting the team, but the coach has to manage that stuff. Its unfortunate its that way, but other teams are handling those players and will win because they have talent out on the field.

  39. 39 ChoTime said at 5:04 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    It’s a balancing act… you need a certain level of cooperation and effort and, on the other hand, a certain level of talent.

  40. 40 ColorSgt said at 6:39 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Right, by no means should they go by skill alone. There is a reason guys drop in the draft despite projecting as first round talent. But you can’t expect every player to be super driven either. Many are and that’s how they got to this level, but there are lots of different personality types. The coach has to be able to manage and motivate the team. Reality is, these guys coming right out of college are given more money than I’ll ever make in my life which equates to a lot of distractions. Needless to say, everyone handles it differently (look at Huff).

  41. 41 Rellihcs said at 5:04 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I think your point makes sense, and you wouldn’t be in the minority, or old fashioned about this… if:

    – There was no players union
    – There was no CBA and it was just old fashioned “be on time, show up everyday for your job, and do your job
    – Players were paid nothing more than a basic fair wage for their hourly time (like literally no more than the average “joe” at our jobs
    – Players were paid equally, no matter what, no exceptions save for maybe very slight bonuses for performance incentives


  42. 42 ChoTime said at 8:52 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    If I can piggyback here–the top players in the NFL, the ones who can afford to hold out or sometimes get what they want, are in the upper 0.00001% of human ability at what they do. You might even need to add another zero or two there. They are literally 1 in a million talents. There is nothing average about them.

    Employers of ordinary people like most of us can jerk us around because we are–well, ordinary, fungible. It’s folly to try to apply our standards of behavior to them. The most talented programmers, salesmen, inventors, etc., also get way more leash than the rest of us.

    The most talented athletes contribute proportionately or even disproportionately to winning. That is why they get paid the big bucks and can even sometimes get away with insubordination. In fact, owner collusion suppresses players’ power to a great degree over what it would be if they were in a free labor market like the rest of us average joes.

  43. 43 scratcherk said at 5:12 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Out of curiosity, if we sign our own free agents next year, does that count against us for compensatory picks? Say Jeffrey, chance play well and we want to keep them

  44. 44 A_T_G said at 5:32 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    I think they would just not count at all. The discussion is always about players lost and gained, not retained.

  45. 45 Media Mike said at 8:24 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    With the caveat being that ones you retain aren’t ones you can can count on the comp pick ledger.

  46. 46 SteveH said at 6:38 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    If for no other reason I’m pissed at Cox for skipping OTAs because it gives media types something to stir up narratives about.

  47. 47 ColorSgt said at 6:42 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Doesn’t help either that this time of year there is very little to report on anyway.

  48. 48 Koy: The Legend of Neckbeard said at 7:11 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Good odds that Marcus Smith’s last NFL gig will be with the Eagles. Really surprised he didn’t show up, unless the prospect of playing out the string just depresses him that much.

  49. 49 daveH said at 8:49 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Can he block, run routes and catch ?

  50. 50 Nailed It! said at 7:37 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    So who would win in a fight? Mack Hollins or God?

  51. 51 Rellihcs said at 7:57 PM on May 23rd, 2017:


  52. 52 Corry said at 9:29 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Trick question: Mack Hollins IS God!

  53. 53 Media Mike said at 8:31 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    “Why didn’t we hear about this last year? Is this just an excuse for his lack of production (2.5 sacks)?”

    Because it’s revisionist history from Curry and yes, it’s just an excuse.

  54. 54 Rellihcs said at 7:10 AM on May 24th, 2017:

    Wait a second, you were an orthopedic specialist AND had direct access to the Eagles players last year and you’ve been holding this from us the whole time?

  55. 55 ChoTime said at 11:17 AM on May 24th, 2017:

    What do you get out of thinking the worst out of everyone?

  56. 56 daveH said at 10:14 PM on May 23rd, 2017:

    Nicky Hayden died. Sad.
    One of the country’s most important star athletes that noone knows existed

  57. 57 Ryan Rambo said at 10:54 PM on May 23rd, 2017:


  58. 58 Sb2bowl said at 9:30 AM on May 24th, 2017:

    He looks bigger

  59. 59 Ryan Rambo said at 10:12 AM on May 24th, 2017:

    I agree. I love his mindset. I think he’s going to be leaps and bounds better this season.

  60. 60 Sb2bowl said at 10:55 AM on May 24th, 2017:

    As my grandma used to say- shit in one hand, and wish in the other……. see which one fills up first.

  61. 61 Ryan Rambo said at 11:16 PM on May 23rd, 2017:


  62. 62 Ryan Rambo said at 11:17 PM on May 23rd, 2017:


  63. 63 Ryan Rambo said at 11:18 PM on May 23rd, 2017: