In a normal year, the Eagles would be starting their Organized Team Activities around now.
Of course, this is not a normal year.
While the Eagles began OTAs on Tuesday, May 21, last year, they are stuck with their virtual offseason for now because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has been holding their offseason program — meetings and workouts — through Microsoft Teams, which is nice but it doesn’t exactly replace on-field instruction. Maybe there will be some in-person practices before training camp, maybe there won’t be. Hopefully, we’ll find out soon enough.
Earlier this offseason, I already looked at the 10 non-rookies who would miss OTAs most.
And now, I’m going to look at some of the biggest storylines I would have been covering — possibly this week — if the Eagles were able to hold their 2020 OTAs:
Does the offense look different?
The area of the Eagles’ coaching staff that has the most changes this offseason is on offense. Mike Groh was fired, Press Taylor was promoted to pass game coordinator, Rich Scangarello was hired as a senior offensive assistant, Andrew Breiner was hired as a pass game analyst, Marty Mornhinweg was brought back as a senior offensive consultant and Aaron Moorehead was hired as wide receivers coach.
In addition to all that, the Eagles added a bunch of speed receivers in the draft, which should give them an added element to what became a plodding offense in 2019.
So how different would Doug Pederson’s offense have looked?
To me, the most intriguing hire of that bunch is Scangarello. At the combine, we learned more about the specific role Scangarello was supposed to have. A big part of that was going to be working with the quarterbacks and implementing QB movement, play actions and some screens. The Eagles admitted that Carson Wentz seems to be at his best when they got him moving and this hire was made with that in mind.
But because of this unusual offseason, Scangarello won’t be able to coach Wentz face-to-face for some time. Wentz is entering Year 5 and it’ll be important for these two to gain a level of trust between one another. That probably isn’t as easy without being in the same room. So how much of those philosophies will make it into the playbook? This is the time of year we would have started to get some hints.
Is Jalen Hurts on the field?
Would the Eagles’ second-round pick simply have been the third-string quarterback during these practices? Or would Pederson have used this time to play around the possibility of using Hurts with the first-team offense as that Tasyom Hill-type of player. It was a possibility that seemed to intrigue him the night they drafted Hurts.
Replacing Malcolm Jenkins
Malcolm Jenkins left as a free agent in the offseason and the Eagles now have the task of replacing him on the field and in the locker room. The locker room part is something we’ll find out over time but we would have at least found out who was lining up at his spot at OTAs. My guess is it would have been Jalen Mills to start but then maybe the Eagles would have mixed in free agent Will Parks and draft pick K’Von Wallace.
Lining up at CB2
Darius Slay is clearly CB1 and Nickell Robey-Coleman is very likely the starting nickel corner. That means that CB2 is open. Avonte Maddox would have likely gotten the first crack at that position this spring but there will probably be a competition between Maddox and Sidney Jones. While many have given up on Jones, the idea of the once-heralded draft pick finally living up to his potential is exciting and this would have been one of the battles to watch.
Depth chart at linebacker
Nigel Bradham is gone, Kamu Grugier-Hill is gone. So the Eagles have plenty of questions at the linebacker position right now. Here’s a look at the guys fighting for roster spots and depth chart positions: Nathan Gerry, T.J. Edwards, Duke Riley, Alex Singleton, Jatavis Brown, Davion Taylor, Shaun Bradley.
My guess right now would be that Gerry and Edwards are the top two but after that, there’s plenty up for grabs.
Our first look at Jalen Reagor
The Eagles will need a big season from their first-round pick and OTAs would have been the first time to see Reagor in a full-team setting. Via DraftKings, the over/under on receiving yards for Reagor as a rookie is 700.5.
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