Eagles minicamp observations, Day 2: A good sign from Alshon Jeffery

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Eagles minicamp observations, Day 2: A good sign from Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles were back at practice Wednesday afternoon, their second of three mandatory minicamp sessions. 

Tuesday's observations focused on Darren Sproles and Michael Bennett joining the team for the mandatory portion of camp (see story)

Today, we’ll focus on a guy who’s been around but isn’t healthy just yet. 

1. During the team portion of practice, which was happening on the far side of the field, Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery had a little catch. Nothing too taxing, but the sight of Wentz throwing to Jeffery was enough for everyone to take notice. 

It’s the first time we’ve seen Jeffery catch passes since he needed rotator cuff surgery after the season. And it’s the first time we’ve seen Wentz throw to Jeffery since early December. For the most part, Wentz was on the money with his throws, but a few times, they were just a tad higher than in the chest. Jeffery looked fine raising his arms to catch a ball, a good sign after shoulder surgery. 

“It’s good,” Wentz said. “Obviously, we’d love to be out there competing and all these things. I know it’s tough for him to watch from the sidelines too, just like it is for any competitor.”

2. Sidney Jones is still not practicing. Doug Pederson said the second-year corner is suffering from some lower-body soreness that’s not related to that Achilles injury from last year. The same guys who haven’t been practicing weren’t practicing again today. 

That includes big Haloti Ngata. 

3. At one point during individual drills, Wentz dropped back to pass and instead of a ball boy, his receiver was Nick Foles. The Super Bowl MVP is also possibly the most famous receiver in Eagles’ Super Bowl history. 

Maybe he’s gearing up for Philly Special 2.0. 

4. Darren Sproles got a few more reps coming out of the backfield against air and he still has it. So quick, so agile, so smooth coming out of the backfield. He doesn’t need the extra reps. Just bubble-wrap him until Week 1. 

5. The play of the day came during 7-on-7s, when Nate Sudfeld dropped in a beautiful deep ball to Bryce Treggs, who needed to stretch out to make the fingertips catch. It’s not hard to see why the Eagles are so high on Sudfeld. He can drop dimes. 

6. We saw some trickeration from the Eagles today. On the very first play of team, former quarterback Greg Ward took a pitch from his receiver position and tried to hit Mike Wallace deep down the field. The pass fell incomplete. It didn’t even come close to working, but the fact that the Eagles are working on that stuff — there were more gadgety plays too — means they feel pretty good about the basics. 

7. The nickel corner carousel continued to spin today. This time, first-year player D.J. Killings took his turn. So Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby were outside, with Killings in the slot. The only guy who still hasn’t gotten reps in the slot with the first team — and he won’t — is Rasul Douglas. 

8. Sudfeld found Dallas Goedert on a beautifully timed pass and route during 11-on-11s. Goedert has been really impressive this spring. It’s still early and we’ll have to see what he can do once the pads go on, but he’s looking like he can make an immediate impact this season. He and Sudfeld have really worked well together. 

9. Nate Gerry dropped back into coverage and picked off a pass from Foles during a team snap. Gerry is in the competition for the weakside linebacker spot once owned by Mychal Kendricks. He’s in that competition with Kamu Grugier-Hill and free agent pickup Corey Nelson. Gerry continues to push hard. 

10. During 11-on-11s, Donnel Pumphrey got a rare rep with the first team and he made the most of it. He caught a quick little swing pass and then showed off some athleticism and shiftiness. Like we’ve said before about Pumphrey … long way to go, but his NFL career isn’t dead yet. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: The Eagles switched up the practice playlist today. Plenty of classic rock in the beginning. The music highlight of the day is when “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” came on and Grugier-Hill did a little country dance during a special teams drill.

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After ring ceremony, Eagles will be done celebrating Super Bowl

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Learning more about Rich Scangarello’s role in Eagles’ offense

Learning more about Rich Scangarello’s role in Eagles’ offense

INDIANAPOLIS — It’s a pretty ambiguous title.

The Eagles earlier this month hired former Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello as a senior offensive assistant. But if Doug Pederson is the play-caller, Press Taylor is the passing game coordinator and Jeff Stoutland is the run game coordinator, it begs a pretty obvious question:

What the heck is Scangarello going to do?

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Pederson finally answered that question with at least a little bit more depth than we previously heard.

“He’s going to be able to bridge the gap,” Pederson said Tuesday. “He’s going to be able to bring together the run division and the pass division. With a blend of formations and plays and things that really tie everything together. He’s going to have his hands all over the game plan as well. A lot of communication. A lot of film study. Yeah, he’ll work with the quarterbacks, just like I do. He’ll have a chance to have some input there."

OK, so we don’t exactly know how Scangarello will fill every minute of his work days but we’re starting to get a clearer picture.

Pederson said he and Scangarello bonded over their early backgrounds in the West Coast offense but it’s Scangarello’s close ties to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan that the Eagles found most intriguing. Scangarello worked under Shanahan in both Atlanta and San Francisco and the Eagles are hoping to blend some of those concepts with the offense Pederson is already running.

Namely, the Eagles are hoping this hire really helps Carson Wentz. That’s the No. 1 reason Scangarello was hired.

In addition to the time Scangarello will spend actually coaching the quarterbacks, the idea of QB movement is key. For whatever reason, the Eagles seemed hesitant to move Wentz in and out of the pocket early last season but once they did, he thrived.

That movement, throughout Wentz’s career, has always seemed to get him in a rhythm. And the Eagles are finally ready to lean into that.

“It was important for me,” Pederson said. “I think when I look back at our season and how we kind of finished the season, the thing Carson excelled at was basically those two elements. The play action, the QB movement stuff, the screens were important. And the run game ties into all that.

“This was what was intriguing with Rich, the background, what he’s learned. He studies this game now. You’ll learn when you get to speak to him. This guy has spent a lot of time studying the game. Now helping us, helping our offense. That’s why he was so intriguing to me.”

Despite finding a relatively high level of success with rookie quarterback Drew Lock in Denver, Scangarello lasted just one year as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.

After the season, head coach Vic Fangio fired Scangarello and replaced him with Pat Shurmur. There’s plenty of smoke around the idea that Fangio and Scangarello didn’t have the strongest of working relationships.

Check out this exchange I had with Fangio on Tuesday morning:

What were some of Scangarello’s strengths?

“Rich is a good football coach. He knew the system well that he came from, does a good job with quarterbacks. I think Rich has got a bright future.”

What specifically did you like about Scangarello as a coach?

“I think for the first year in there, he did a good job. We played with three quarterbacks, so that has some stress to it. He did a good job of handling that.”

So why didn’t it work?

“That’s a long answer to a short question. I’m not going to get into that.”

See? Plenty of smoke.

Fangio did say on Tuesday that he wanted his offense to be more aggressive in 2020, so perhaps that’s another reason they elected to make a switch.

The word out of Denver is the area where Scangarello struggled was on game day, calling plays. On the flip side, he seemed to excel in preparation and game-planning. The good news for the Eagles is that Pederson is probably never going to give up play-calling responsibilities, so they won’t need Scangarello to do much on game day anyway. They’ll be able to utilize his strengths without worrying about his weaknesses.

Only Pederson really knows the logistics of how this new offensive structure will really work. It’s rare for a team to not have someone with an offensive coordinator title but it’s not unheard of. And the Eagles even thought of deviating from the norm back in 2018 when they promoted Mike Groh.

If this structure doesn’t work in 2020, that failure will belong to Pederson. But if it does work, Scangarello will be a big reason why. 

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How Andy Reid’s life has changed since winning the Super Bowl

How Andy Reid’s life has changed since winning the Super Bowl

INDIANAPOLIS — If you were expecting Andy Reid to win his first Super Bowl and turn into a different guy, you don’t know Andy Reid.

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, Reid spoke to a huge gathering of reporters at the first big NFL event since his Chiefs beat the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV.

And guess what?

Not much has changed for Big Red.

“I stay in the office, so I’m isolated a little bit that way. There’s not much change there. I’m sure the players, if you talk to them, they’re out there and being recognized as world champs. 

I have gotten a couple free meals. That was nice. But I’m not out there that much to where I’m affected by it too much.”

Gotta love when Andy plays the hits.

Reid said he and his staff enjoyed the Super Bowl for a few days. They had a parade and reveled briefly but then it was back to business as usual. The focus then had to immediately switch to free agency and the draft in what was now a suddenly short offseason.

“Maybe someday when we get a little older and we’re out of the game, you can sit back and go, hey, you know what, we did pretty good there,” Reid said. “But right now, it’s buckling down and making sure we take care of business."

During the Chiefs’ run to the Super Bowl, Reid was very aware of the support he was receiving from Philadelphia, where he spent 14 seasons as head coach. Not everyone was rooting for him but it seemed like a large portion of Philadelphians were happy to see Reid hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

On Tuesday, Reid was asked if he’s heard from folks in Philly since winning the big game.

"Yeah, I’ve talked to all those guys. I’ve stayed close to the organization,” Reid said before scanning the crowd in front of him. “Guys like Les (Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Les Bowen) I’ve stayed close with.”

Les gave a wave.

“There are a couple other guys here that are Philadelphia here,” Reid continued. “I spent 14 years there. I appreciated every bit of it. Jeff Lurie, I appreciated him being at the game and supporting me there, too."

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