Some random Eagles thoughts a week into training camp!
• I don’t want to get carried away. It’s one week. Things change quickly in the NFL. But I'm telling you Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas have been lighting it up at outside corner, and they're just fun to watch right now. They’re playing with so much confidence and swagger and really contesting everything that comes their way.
Opening day is 37 days away. Jalen Mills is still on PUP and Ronald Darby still isn’t practicing. I know those guys started in a Super Bowl a year and a half ago, but with each passing week, it looks a little bit more likely that Douglas and Jones are your opening day starters, with Avonte Maddox in the slot (see story).
The thing that’s been most impressive about Jones and Douglas — and Maddox — is their consistency. They’ve practiced at a high level every day, maintaining their focus through every drill. I’ve been wrong before. I’ve been fooled before. But right now, these guys look like starting-caliber NFL cornerbacks.
• You probably read a lot about how Clayton Thorson struggled this first week of training camp. And he has. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is to pretty much ignore anything a rookie quarterback does early in camp. The transition from college QB to the NFL is a massive one, and young QBs have so much thrown at them so quickly, both mentally and physically, that improvement comes in months and years, not in a few days at the start of their first NFL camp. And there’s no way to speed up the process.
I don’t know if Thorson will ever be an NFL quarterback. As a fifth-round pick, the odds are against him. But don’t jump to any conclusions. Not yet. If there is improvement, it’s going to come slowly (see story).
• The only member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to throw a pass for the Eagles in the last 50 years is Cris Carter.
• I put the Johnathan Cyprien signing in the same category as the Orlando Scandrick signing. These are experienced, veteran players who are trying to revive their careers. Can Scandrick help out as a backup slot? Who knows? Can Cyprien provide depth at safety and maybe play some linebacker in dime? Who knows? That’s why they’re here. To see if they have anything left.
Scandrick is 32, with his third team in three years. Cyprien is 29, with his third team in four years and coming off an ACL. If they can help? Keep ‘em. If they stink? Cut 'em. These are typical low-risk, high-reward Howie Roseman moves. Maybe these guys will be forgotten as quickly as Matt Jones, Mike Wallace and Rueben Randle. Maybe they can still play, and they’ll wind up contributing. There’s absolutely no reason not to find out.
• Keep an eye on No. 49, Alex Singleton, in the preseason games. He’s an intriguing linebacker and special teams prospect who was the 2017 CFL defensive MVP playing for the Calgary Stampeders. Even though he bounced around NFL camps in 2015 and then played three full seasons in the CFL, he’s only 25.
You can read more about Singleton in this piece by our Andrew Kulp (see story), but a week in, Singleton has shown two key attributes — physicality and athleticism. That, combined with the Eagles’ lack of depth at linebacker, gives him a chance. He looks like he belongs.
• The most surprising wide receiver in camp has been Carlton Agudosi, an unheralded 6-foot-6 25-year-old who caught 35 passes his entire college career at Rutgers. Agudosi wasn’t even on the radar when camp began, but he’s got real good hands and a good feel for getting open, and he seems to understand how to use his big frame to get open.
Agudosi had a terrific week and has definitely caught the coaches’ eyes. He’s not going to make the roster, but if he can continue showing this sort of consistency and he can do it in the games, I could see the Central Jersey native finding his way onto the practice squad.
• Riley Cooper played more games in an Eagles uniform than Steve Van Buren.
• Jordan Howard had 72 catches in three years with the Bears, and Miles Sanders caught 24 passes last year, his only year as a full-time player at Penn State. Neither is an accomplished receiver and neither looks super comfortable at this point catching the ball, but both have spent a lot of time working on that aspect of their game, and one of the big things I’m looking for in the preseason games is how those two manage in the passing game. Both are capable runners and both have looked good so far. But if either can really blossom as a receiver, it’s going to be huge.
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