Eagles

No limitations for Carson Wentz as OTAs begin, per Doug Pederson

No limitations for Carson Wentz as OTAs begin, per Doug Pederson

As the Eagles kick off OTA practices on Tuesday morning, Carson Wentz is a full-go. 

The Eagles’ franchise quarterback has no limitations, according to head coach Doug Pederson, and will do everything this spring. 

“I’m not going to hold him back,” Pederson said. 

This is good news, although it’s not really unexpected. 

Even before an NFL Network report on Monday said Wentz would have no limitations, this was always the expectation. It was always Wentz’s goal to be ready for OTAs. 

Wentz is now five months from the time in December when Pederson said the healing time for the stress fracture in his back was three months. Had Wentz not been ready, then there would have been cause for concern. Now, there should just be a slight sense of relief. 

This is an important offseason for the 26-year-old franchise quarterback. He was limited last spring and summer as he recovered from a torn ACL and LCL. During the 2018 season, he said he never felt his full explosion in that left knee return. 

If Wentz is going to get back to his near-MVP form from the 2017 season, it won’t hurt having him out there for OTAs. Some might want the Eagles to hold back some with Wentz, but these spring practices aren’t very strenuous. And he has some new receivers and running backs to get used to. 

Is is important? Yes,” Pederson said. “Is it training camp? No. Is it the regular season? No. We’re still building as a football team. We’ve got new players, we’ve gone out and got a bunch of free agents and we’re trying to get everybody on the same page. 

We’ve got some rookies. We’ve just got to get everybody … this is the time to get on the same page. We’re working through some things, offensively, defensively, on special teams. Is it important that he’s out there? I do think it’s important that he’s there working with the guys. That’s why I’m excited that he gets a chance to do that.

One key player Wentz has to get used to playing with is DeSean Jackson. Jackson has the kind of speed Wentz has never had before and it takes some time to build an on-field relationship. Jackson has been around and working with Wentz all spring, so that should help. 

There’s also the issue of the contract extension that might happen before the start of the 2019 season. The Eagles haven’t been shy about their desire to get a deal done. Having Wentz on the field might help things along. 

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Eagles' holding just 1 open training camp practice is an insult to devoted fans

Eagles' holding just 1 open training camp practice is an insult to devoted fans

I could go on and on about how much I loved training camp at West Chester and the unforgettable memories, like Herschel Walker standing at the top of the steps on the west end of the practice field signing autographs in the blazing heat (with his helmet on) for an hour, until every kid had gotten something signed.

I could go on and on about how much I loved training camp at Lehigh and how fans could stand literally six feet from the practice field and hear the thud of contact and interact with the players as they stood on the sideline.

But I’m not going to do that because those days are gone forever and no amount of me crying about it is going to bring it back.

And I understand why the Eagles — and more and more NFL teams every year — are holding practices in their own year-round facilities instead of remote college campuses. It makes sense to practice where your film library is stored, where your modern medical and training facilities are housed, where all your equipment and gear is, where your immaculately maintained practice fields are located.

I get it.

What I don’t get is just one open practice for the fans.

One. In a year.

That’s inexcusable.

The Eagles moved from Lehigh to the NovaCare Complex in 2013, when Chip Kelly replaced Andy Reid. The Eagles scheduled five open practices that first summer, then three in 2014 and two each from 2015 through 2018.

And now just one.

Yeah, the $10 ticket fee for the Eagles’ one open practice this summer goes to a great cause. Every penny goes to the Eagles Autism Challenge, a cause that’s close to Jeff Lurie’s heart. The Eagles Autism Challenge raised $3 1/2 million this year, and it’s a terrific event that I’ve participated in the last two years.

But that doesn’t change the fact that the Eagles have an opportunity to put on a show for their fans two or three times during training camp, and for reasons they haven't explained, they’ve chosen not to.

The Eagles had no comment on why they've reduced open practices to just one this summer, but I assume it’s because it’s a logistical nightmare loading up all that equipment and moving it across the street for a glorified walkthrough.

It’s a hassle — and presumably an expensive one — for Doug Pederson to lose a valuable practice day in the cozy environment of the NovaCare Complex so Jake Elliott can play catch with fans, Brandon Graham can sign autographs for every kid he can find and everybody can watch in person while Carson Wentz and DeSean Jackson light it up.

But this is a franchise worth close to $3 billion, according to Forbes, and these are fans that devote their lives to this football team, buying their jerseys, snagging every ticket the instant it’s available, traveling to their games.

They deserve more than one open practice.

They deserve more than one day to watch their football team with their own eyes.

We all know how hard it is for the average fan to get tickets. If you don’t know someone or already have season tickets of your own or have a whole big pile of money, you’re not going.

The open practices are the only remaining opportunity most fans have to see their heroes up close. To interact with them. To feel like they’re a part of everything.

It’s a long preseason. Training camp starts July 25 and really continues until Aug. 21, when joint practices with the Ravens wrap up.

I find it hard to believe the Eagles can’t find one more day to move their operations across Broad Street for all the people who've helped make this franchise worth close to $3 billion.

We’ve gone from five to three to two and now to one. You can see what direction this is trending. I’m afraid of what’s coming next.

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Eagles to charge for 1 open training camp practice, proceeds going to autism research

Eagles to charge for 1 open training camp practice, proceeds going to autism research

Eagles players will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 24, and the first practice will take place on July 25 at the NovaCare Complex. 

All but one practice will be held at the NovaCare Complex. The Eagles will hold just one open practice for fans at Lincoln Financial Field, but this year will charge admission. 

The open practice will be on Aug. 4 at 7 p.m.; it will also be Military Appreciation Night. 

Tickets will be $10 and all proceeds will go to the Eagles Autism Challenge. Tickets can be purchased on TicketMaster.com and went on sale at 10:30 this morning. 

For years, most of the Eagles’ training camp practices were open to fans at Lehigh University and even since the team moved camp to the NovaCare Complex, select practices have been open to fans for free at the Linc. This is the first year the Eagles will charge admission to a training camp practice. Parking for the open practice this year will still be free. 

Last year, the Eagles had two open practices at the Linc. Tickets were required, but they were free of charge. 

According to ESPN, there was internal debate about whether or not to charge admission to practice this year, but, "Ultimately, the desire to further the team's charitable efforts won out."

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