Eagles stock up, stock down after first few days of 2019 training camp

Eagles stock up, stock down after first few days of 2019 training camp

We haven’t gotten very far into training camp yet, so there’s still plenty of time for things to change. 

But since the Eagles are off on Sunday, we’re at a good spot to look back at the first three days and see who got off to a fast start at camp and who didn’t. 

Here’s the first stock report of the summer: 

Stock up

Sidney Jones
The former second-round pick (and first-round talent) is healthy and looks like the extremely talented player the Eagles thought they were drafting back in 2017. Many fans were ready to write Jones off, but if he can stay healthy, he might have a bright future. He’s made plays all three days, but his juggling interception on a deep ball from Nate Sudfeld really stood out. He’s also had quite a few pass breakups already. 

Kamu Grugier-Hill
It seems like Grugier-Hill is well ahead of free agent pickup Zack Brown right now and I think KGH is going to be a real starter in his fourth NFL season. He had a nice interception on Saturday to step in front of a Carson Wentz throw and show off his hands. 

Dallas Goedert
After a promising spring, Goedert is at it again. Aside from just the plays he’s been making, it’s also the role we’re seeing develop for him. The Eagles are using a ton of 12 personnel early in camp and they seem to have put an emphasis on finding ways to get the ball to him near the line of scrimmage. Something to keep in mind for when the games begin. 

Mack Hollins 
Heck, Hollins could make this list just for being healthy, but he’s been making plays too. After 18 months away (Roob caught up with Hollins to talk about it, he's been making some nice catches already this summer. On Friday, he made a pretty impressive one-handed grab near the sideline. And he’s even been mixing in with the first-team offense. It seems like as long as he stays healthy, Hollins is going to be the team’s fifth receiver option this season and definitely make the squad. 

Stock down

Jalen Mills
The only player on the team to begin camp on the PUP list. This foot injury has been a lengthy one and based on the play of Jones, Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox, I think that with every day Mills misses, his chances of not having a job to return to increase. Maybe this was the plan all along for him, but it seems like he’s falling behind. We could also include Cre’Von LeBlanc and Blake Countess here too; both got hurt already. 

Josh Hawkins
With some really good play from the corners in front of him, Hawkins has struggled early in camp. Even aside from the first day, when DeSean Jackson had no trouble separating from him on three plays nearly all back-to-back, Hawkins has been beaten too much deep. Depending on what Orlando Scandrick has left, Cre'Von LeBlanc's injury might have opened up a roster spot for a corner. The good news for Hawkins is he has a lot of time to turn things around. 

Stefen Wisniewski 
It seems like Halapoulivaati Vaitai at right guard is more than just cross training. At this point, it appears that if Brandon Brooks misses any time at the beginning of the season, it’ll be Big V filling in. That’s somewhat surprising, considering a guy who started at guard for the Eagles during their Super Bowl run is still on the roster. That’s one knock against Wiz and the other is that he’s had a few low snaps as the second-team center. With so many folks wanting to see Nate Sudfeld this summer, it’s been even more noticeable. 

Braxton Miller 
While the other receivers who are battling for the last roster spots — like Greg Ward and Marken Michel — have all made plays so far, I haven’t seen much from Miller. That doesn’t mean he’s been making mistakes, but this is when receivers need to make plays. I haven’t seen many balls even go his way. I hope some start to soon, because coming into the spring, he was getting talked up and I thought he was a dark horse candidate to make the team. 

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Eagles bringing back receiver Marcus Green

Eagles bringing back receiver Marcus Green

The Eagles are bringing back wide receiver Marcus Green, who spent last season on their practice squad, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

Green, 23, was among four Eagles released a week and a half ago. And now he’s coming back. NFL Network first reported the news.   

Green (5-8, 191) was a Falcons 6th-round pick out of Louisiana-Monroe last year. After he was waived at final cuts, Green joined the Eagles in early September and spent the entire 2019 season on the Birds’ practice squad. 

In four years at Louisiana-Monroe, Green caught 202 passes for 2,698 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also had 51 rushing attempts for 492 yards (9.6) and 1 touchdown. He also returned kicks and punts in college. He’s less of a pure receiver and more of a playmaker. 

With Green back, the Eagles have a full roster at 80, although that includes Brandon Brooks and Alshon Jeffery who are both on Active/PUP and are not healthy enough to practice. That 80 does not include Matt Leo who has an International exemption. 

Still, the Eagles are at the 80-man limit to keep them from going split-squad at practices. The Eagles are still in the Acclimatization Period of their collectively bargained training camp. They won’t hold non-padded practices until Aug. 12 and the first padded practice won’t be until Aug. 17. 

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Eagles' Fletcher Cox keeps getting better and it's scary

Eagles' Fletcher Cox keeps getting better and it's scary

He’s going into Year 9 now, he’s made five straight Pro Bowls, and he’s at the point now where some veterans just coast through the rest of their career and pile up the honors and pocket millions of dollars and are OK with just being OK.

Not Fletcher Cox.

This guy will never be content.

“I just want to get better at everything,” Cox said Wednesday.

There’s a lot to admire about Cox. The intensity he plays with. The way he attacks practice. The ferocious physical nature of his game that rubs off on the rest of the team. The team-first mentality that’s built into his personality.

And there’s an impossibly high standard he’s constantly trying to live up to, a standard that drives him no matter how many honors he gets, no matter how many sacks he records.

The great ones all share that trait. Whether it was Reggie White, Seth Joyner or Eric Allen, they all had that burning determination to be even better, that refusal to be content with where they’re at as players.

And that’s the company Cox is in. One of the best in Eagles history. 

If you’re a young player or any player really and you see the highest-paid or most-honored players working their ass off every day, you’re going to follow in line.

That's what leadership really is. Not all that rah-rah stuff. It's setting an example for the people around you.  

That’s why veterans who mail it in are so damaging to any team. 

Because young guys are always going to follow the lead of the established veterans, and if those guys are taking shortcuts and not fully committed, that’s when you get disasters like the 2011 Dream Team.

Cox was at work at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday, self-scouting, watching tape of himself, and that’s all he could think about.

The plays he didn’t make.

I was watching film yesterday, we were all in there, and I saw some things I can get better at, and I’ve got to work on those things during training camp,” he said. “I feel like if I can get off of blocks [better], there are three or four or five [more] sacks out there for me. When you look at it on tape, man, if I would have gotten off a second sooner it’s a sack. Just little things like that. But not only me getting better but the whole group getting better.

Think about Cox’s career.

He’s got 48 sacks in eight seasons despite dealing with constant double teams. And he stuffs the run as well as anybody in the game.

And for a lot of his years here, he’s been a one-man wrecking crew. 

The Eagles haven’t had a double-digit edge rusher since Cox was drafted, although Brandon Graham has been close a couple times. 

And the defensive tackles he’s played next to the most — Bennie Logan, Timmy Jernigan, Cullen Jenkins, Haloti Ngata, Beau Allen, Derek Landri and Isaac Sopoaga — have all been either average, injured, disappointing or washed up. 

He’s never had the benefit of elite talent around him. 

In fact, the only Pro Bowlers Cox has ever taken the field with here are Malcolm Jenkins in 2015, 2017 and 2018 and Connor Barwin in 2014.

Reggie had Jerome, Seth, Clyde, Byron Evans, Wes and Andre and Eric Allen around him.

Cox has carried this defense for almost a decade. 

And all he talks about is getting better.

Last year wasn’t Cox’s best year. He spent the offseason rehabbing the toe injury he suffered in the Saints playoff game and wasn’t really himself until the last month or so.

He still made his fifth straight Pro Bowl just because he’s that good.

But this offseason, he was able to get back to his normal offseason routine, and now he has a healthy Malik Jackson and newly acquired Javon Hargrave next to him, more interior talent than he’s ever seen.

If there is football this fall, the NFL is going to see a Hall of Fame talent wearing No. 91 for the Eagles.

A healthy, motivated, driven Fletcher Cox is scary news for opposing offenses. 

We're lucky to have him.

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