Eagles

Eagles training camp stock watch: Nelson Agholor up, Mychal Kendricks down

Eagles training camp stock watch: Nelson Agholor up, Mychal Kendricks down

With the Eagles set to start the first live portions of training camp Tuesday, CSNPhilly's Derrick Gunn takes stock of how the team has fared thus far.

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WR Nelson Agholor
Say what you want about Agholor — and goodness knows we’ve all said a lot — but what he started back in OTAs and minicamp he's carried over during training camp. Agholor has been catching everything in sight and coaches have noticed his consistency. What’s been most impressive is how he’s catching the ball away from his body, and getting separation from DBs. His athletic ability and speed have never been a question but his focus on securing the ball has been. He spent 2016 putting too much pressure on himself, over-thinking situations and fighting inner demons of self-doubt. Now in his third training camp, Agholor knows this is the biggest camp of his career to prove his doubters wrong and to assure his quarterback Carson Wentz that he can be relied upon. Especially when you consider the talent and competition at WR have increased. For Agholor, so far so good.

LG Isaac Seumalo
One of the more interesting debates heading into training camp was about who will win the starting left guard job. Right now, second-year player Seumalo is in the driver's seat. Last Wednesday, offensive coordinator Frank Reich surprised us all when he said Seumalo had been penciled in as the starter

"He’s very smart," Reich said, "understands what he’s being coached, understands fronts, understands defensive schemes, what to anticipate, very athletic, tough-minded player.”

The Eagles can use an infusion of youth on the offensive line because the other four starters are an average of 29.5 years old, making them one of the oldest starting O-lines in the league. The thought was Seumalo would be replacing Jason Kelce at center this year. But with Kelce still here, the Birds felt they needed to get Seumalo on the field. With a future Hall of Famer to his left in Jason Peters and Kelce’s veteran presence to his right, Seumalo has a good support group to lean on. But keep in mind he will have to continue to work hard because Chance Warmack, a former first-round pick who has started 48 games, is also getting reps with the first-team O-line.

CB Rasul Douglas
So far, what’s not to like about Douglas? He has the size teams are looking for in a corner at 6-2/210. With the Eagles' being thin at CB, Douglas may find himself playing a lot sooner rather than later. Watching him in practices, he’s very aggressive, especially when playing press coverage. At times, he's a little too grabby but good coaching will get that straightened out. He also goes out of his way to seek advice on how to get better in a hurry. Last Thursday, he was seen huddled up with former Eagles great Brian Dawkins. Douglas said he’s asked Dawkins to watch him a little in practices to tell him what he’s doing right and, more importantly, what he’s doing wrong. Who better to ask to critique you than one of the greatest Eagles of all-time? DB coach Cory Undlin told me he believes this third-round pick has the makeup to be a very good corner at this level if he applies himself.

WR Marcus Johnson
This is a young man who has an uphill battle to make this roster, but the Birds are high on him. Johnson joined the Eagles in 2016 as an undrafted free agent and he spent time on their practice squad. He’s not the biggest WR you’ll come across (6-1/205), but he has some ability. He's quick off the line of scrimmage, runs good routes, has good hands and makes tough catches. Unfortunately for him, he’s buried in the numbers game with names like Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Agholor ahead of him. Plus, 2017 draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. Johnson can play at this level. It’s just difficult seeing him in an Eagles uniform for the long haul.

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LB Mychal Kendricks
This will be an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. Kendricks admitted last week he asked the Eagles to release him back in January but the team did not comply with his wishes. It was a frustrating 2016 for him as he played only 27 percent of the snaps. By comparison, Nigel Bradham played 97 percent and Jordan Hicks played 95 percent. He couldn’t understand why he was always the odd man out in nickel situations. Now we wait to see what his role will be in 2017. If his playing time is limited again, how will it sit with Kendricks this time around? Could it get to a point where he becomes more vocal and possibly a distraction in the locker room? If that happens, are the Eagles willing to put up with it? My opinion is Kendricks is the best overall athlete on the Birds' defense, but his athleticism has not always been an asset. His speed at times has been a liability in over-pursuing plays. So far he has been the good soldier and not made any waves, but the key words here are … so far.

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

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Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

Rasul Douglas made a huge play during the special teams portion of Wednesday's practice. Going 1-on-1 against veteran special teamer Najee Goode, the Eagles' rookie plowed through him and sent Goode to the turf inside the practice bubble. 

Goode bounced up and locked down the next rep, but for a few seconds, there was pure exuberance on the practice field. A bunch of Douglas' teammates ran toward him and celebrated, while coaches gave him kudos. 

A couple hours later, Douglas didn't even remember it. 

"What play?" the rookie asked. 

After making sure he was serious, out came an iPhone to show Douglas this video: 

"Oh, I don't even remember that," he said. 

While Douglas might have been locked in and focused enough to forget about the most exciting play during the open portion of Wednesday's practice, it was the kind of play that got the whole team going. 

Without remembering the specific instance, Douglas rightly guessed that it was his defensive back teammates, who ran over to congratulate him and celebrate. 

"We get so happy when one of us makes a play because we work hard and we know our goals in our room," Douglas said. "And we know our energy transforms and just passes along to other people. You can get somebody energized and they get somebody else energized." 

Head coach Doug Pederson elected to have his team in pads Wednesday in an effort to keep the team's intensity and physicality high as the team gets ready for the NFC Championship Game. 

That play helped. 

"I think Coach Pederson talks about it all the time; match his intensity," linebacker Nate Gerry said. "So when you see something like that, I guess that's matching the intensity. It just kind of sets the tone for practice."

During the Eagles' first-round bye, the team's players council went to Pederson and asked for an extra day in pads. Pederson planned on one leading into the divisional round game against the Falcons, but his veteran leaders didn't want to go an extra week without that intensity, so the Eagles strapped on their pads. 

They did it again last week and they did it again Wednesday. 

All season the Eagles have believed they're going to play the way they practice, so it shouldn't be much of a shocker. Pederson and the Eagles — despite all the hoopla around the championship — tried to treat Wednesday like any other Wednesday. In part, that meant getting the pads on and going through a tough practice. 

"We ain't going to play on Sunday without pads, so you just have keep in tune with what you do," Douglas said. "I think pads are good." 

Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

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Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has moved into the top 10 in NFL jersey sales this week, according to national sales figures from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

This week’s Dick’s Jersey Report shows Ertz making the biggest jump in the top 10, moving up 22 spots from No. 29 last week to No. 7 this week.

“There must have been a lot of women’s soccer fans buying jerseys this week,” Ertz said jokingly, referring to his wife Julie, a member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Could be. It’s not like Ertz had a huge game Saturday. He caught three passes for 32 yards in the Eagles’ 15-10 win over the Falcons in the conference semifinal playoff round at the Linc. But he did make his first Pro Bowl this year and finished the season with 74 catches for 824 yards and eight touchdowns.

Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught the miracle last-second pass from Case Keenum to send the Vikings into the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia on Sunday, also made a huge jump, moving from No. 23 to No. 4.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz remains in the No. 2 position in jersey sales, despite not playing since he tore his ACL Dec. 10 in Los Angeles. Only Tom Brady’s jersey sold better over the past week.

The rest of the top 10 is Rob Gronkowski third, Antonio Brown fifth, Leonard Fournette sixth, T.J. Watt eighth, Julio Jones ninth and Le’Veon Bell 10th.

Wentz remains the top-selling jersey this year, according to Dick’s after finishing last year at No. 3. Tom Brady, the top-selling jersey last year, is No. 2, followed by Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Gronkowski.

There are no Eagles other than Wentz and Ertz in the top 50.