Eagles

Eagles minicamp observations, Day 3: 'I just want the rings'

Eagles minicamp observations, Day 3: 'I just want the rings'

The Eagles finished their spring practices Thursday and it really felt like the last day of school. 

Actually, it felt even better than the last day of school for most of the team. The Eagles get their Super Bowl rings in a private ceremony tonight.

That’s where we’ll start today’s observations: 

1. Jalen Mills walked out to practice with even more swagger than normal — and he normally has plenty. But as he walked onto the field, he yelled, “Give me my Super Bowl ring!” That came after he posted videos of him on Instagram wearing Super Bowl gear and posing with the Lombardi Trophy. 

The team backed up his excitement with the playlist. It started with Kap G’s “Rings” and then went to “Big Rings” from Drake and Future. 

2. Still no Sidney Jones or Haloti Ngata practicing. Both were watching at practice, but haven’t been participating. We’ll get to see them at training camp in a little over a month. 

Tim Jernigan and Brandon Graham walked out of the facility together. They obviously haven’t been at practice, Jernigan getting over surgery for a herniated disc and Graham getting over ankle surgery. Graham is still using crutches. 

3. During the team portion of practice, we saw some more tricks for the second straight day. Today, it looked an awful lot like the Philly Special. Former college quarterback Greg Ward took a pitch and then threw the ball to Nick Foles, who rolled right, in the end zone for a touchdown. It looked awfully familiar. 

4. Carson Wentz again participated in 7-on-7s, but today they were in the red zone for part of it. For that part, Wentz hit Ward in the back of the end zone for a touchdown on a play where Ward clearly wasn’t his first read. The next play, he hit Dallas Goedert in the front left corner of the end zone. 

5. Let’s talk a little about Goedert on that play. Because it was a nice throw from Wentz, but the rookie made the play. He used his body masterfully to shield linebacker Corey Nelson from the ball. This is something we’ve seen Ertz become great at in the last couple of years and Goedert is starting off being pretty good at it. 

6. We saw how much the Eagles began to use RPOs late in the 2017 season because Foles was really comfortable with them. It’s interesting, because I think it’s now going to be a big part of the Eagles’ offense. Today, even Joe Callahan was running RPOs, so it’s a part of the playbook for everyone, not just Foles. It’s kind of crazy to think that Wentz’s injury has led to another big wrinkle in the Eagles’ offense. 

7. Avonte Maddox got some reps with the first team as the slot corner during 7-on-7s. It’s the first time we’ve seen Maddox with the ones. The rookie corner has struggled some over the last few weeks, but there’s a steep learning curve, especially at nickel corner, a spot that’s new for him. 

8. We’ve talked so much about Goedert because he’s the shiny new toy, but Ertz is still really good and is getting better. He’s had a great spring. With that looming breakout year talk over, he is going to be one of the top TEs in the league for years to come. 

9. Wentz threw a loooong deep ball that Rashard Davis had trouble tracking. It was just one of those plays where it felt like Wentz was going to unload and he did. It probably traveled 50-60 yards in the air. He’s still got a rocket on his shoulder. 

10. At the end of practice during a special teams drill, Foles, Nate Sudfeld and Callahan played a game where they tried to hit the crossbar on the goal posts in the fewest attempts. Once everyone hit it, they moved back five yards. 

From the goal line
Sudfeld: 4th try
Foles: 3rd
Callahan 1st

From the 5
Sudfeld: 3rd
Foles: 1st
Callahan: 2nd

From the 10
Sudfeld: 3rd
Foles: 5th
Callahan: 2nd

From the 15
Sudfeld: 9th
Foles: 1st
Callahan: 3rd

That first throw from Foles from the 15-yard line was a bullet. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: I shouldn’t have stood so close to the speaker. Now my ears are ringing, which is pretty funny, considering all the songs today were about rings. 

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Jets ask for permission to interview Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas

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Philadelphia Eagles

Jets ask for permission to interview Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas

It looks like familiarity with Jets head coach Adam Gase is a prerequisite for the GM job in New York.

For a while, we’ve heard reports that Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas is a favorite to replace Mike Maccagnan, but now we know his competition.

Douglas and Gase worked together briefly in Chicago for a season. Gase and Kelly worked together in Chicago and Denver.

Kelly is the Bears’ assistant director of player personnel. He just finished his second season in that role with Chicago. Kelly and Douglas also worked together in 2015, when Douglas was the Bears’ director of college scouting and Kelly was the Bears’ director of pro scouting.

It has been previously reported that Douglas is Gase’s pick for the job, so we’ll see how much power the head coach wields in this process.

There has also been a thought that Douglas to the Jets is a done deal. While that might be unsubstantiated, if the Jets do want to hire Douglas, they wouldn’t have to interview any more candidates than these two because Kelly would fulfill the Rooney Rule requirement. The Rooney Rule requires teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and GM jobs.

While losing Douglas would be a blow, the Eagles have likely been preparing for that possibility for a while.

"At some point, we are going to lose executives," Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said in March. "When you’re winning, you’re going to lose executives. I think we’re in a great position to be able to deal with that. We don’t want to put a cap on how many good executives we have in football operations. That would be a competitive mistake."

Douglas could theoretically wait for a more stable offer to appear, but there are just 32 of these jobs available. And if the Jets do give Douglas final say, it would probably be pretty hard for him to turn it down.

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Eagles backup quarterback spot appears to be Nate Sudfeld's to lose

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Eagles backup quarterback spot appears to be Nate Sudfeld's to lose

The Eagles aren’t saying it. Nate Sudfeld isn’t saying it. But Sudfeld is the Eagles’ backup quarterback.

Who an organization brings in this time of year to compete with its backup typically speaks volumes about how they feel about said backup. When executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman proclaimed in February the Eagles were looking at veteran signal callers, people thought Teddy Bridgewater, Ryan Fitzpatrick, maybe Tyrod Taylor.

The Eagles used a fifth-round draft pick on Clayton Thorson and signed free agent Cody Kessler a couple weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Sudfeld received a second-round tender from the club as a restricted free agent this offseason — the second-largest qualifying offer — signing for over $3 million in April.

“It was really exciting,” Sudfeld said after Tuesday’s practice. “That really kind of gave me a vote of confidence and just was really exciting because again I wanted to be here and I have another year to keep getting better and developing here.”

Sudfeld’s contract isn’t guaranteed or anything, so in theory, Kessler — a former third-round pick with 12 not-awful starts under his belt — could steal the job. Yet, even listening to the language Eagles coach Doug Pederson used, it’s clear what the expectation is.

“Nate has an opportunity to really compete and solidify the No. 2 spot,” Pederson said on Tuesday. “He gets an opportunity and it’s a great opportunity for him to do that.

“Depth brings a lot of competition. At that spot, there is no exemption. Looking forward to that.”

Some might think it a gamble for the Eagles to hitch their wagon to a backup who’s thrown just 25 passes in NFL regular season games. Then again, the club’s trust in Sudfeld has never waned, going back to his rookie year in 2017 when he served as Nick Foles’ backup throughout the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Clearly, the Eagles see something in the 25-year-old the rest of us simply haven’t yet had the chance to experience. They stashed him on the 53-man roster for the better part of two seasons. They’ve watched him grow as an athlete and quarterback.

“I feel like I’ve improved in a lot of ways since Washington,” Sudfeld said, referring to where he got his start as a sixth-round pick out of Indiana in 2016. “I think physically I’ve developed a lot. I think I was kind of a late bloomer, so I feel like I’ve gotten a lot stronger in the weight room, faster on the field. I just feel like physical development’s been huge. And then just being in the NFL a couple years, some great systems and great coaches, just understanding ball a lot more and seeing situations and being able to apply it.

“I think arm strength has improved, velocity, weight room just in general, core, everything. I just feel a lot better.”

That doesn’t mean the Eagles will simply give Sudfeld his spot. Kessler is an intriguing prospect — he was reasonably accurate and took care of the football (64.2 completion percentage and 5 interceptions in 17 career games) as a member of bad Browns and Jaguars squads. Thorson, too, while likely more of a project, could take a surprise leap at the next level.

Whether because he’s confident in his ability or simply understands the situation, Sudfeld doesn’t seem to be sweating the competition.

“Nothing’s ever going to be handed to you, and you don’t want it that way,” Sudfeld said. “There’s no sense of entitlement. Everything’s earned. I’m just trying to improve myself as much as possible, try to be the best version of myself, work on my craft. I know if I can keep improving and become a better player, it’ll all take care of itself.”

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