Eagles

Eagles training camp stock watch: Nelson Agholor up, Mychal Kendricks down

Eagles training camp stock watch: Nelson Agholor up, Mychal Kendricks down

With the Eagles set to start the first live portions of training camp Tuesday, CSNPhilly's Derrick Gunn takes stock of how the team has fared thus far.

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WR Nelson Agholor
Say what you want about Agholor — and goodness knows we’ve all said a lot — but what he started back in OTAs and minicamp he's carried over during training camp. Agholor has been catching everything in sight and coaches have noticed his consistency. What’s been most impressive is how he’s catching the ball away from his body, and getting separation from DBs. His athletic ability and speed have never been a question but his focus on securing the ball has been. He spent 2016 putting too much pressure on himself, over-thinking situations and fighting inner demons of self-doubt. Now in his third training camp, Agholor knows this is the biggest camp of his career to prove his doubters wrong and to assure his quarterback Carson Wentz that he can be relied upon. Especially when you consider the talent and competition at WR have increased. For Agholor, so far so good.

LG Isaac Seumalo
One of the more interesting debates heading into training camp was about who will win the starting left guard job. Right now, second-year player Seumalo is in the driver's seat. Last Wednesday, offensive coordinator Frank Reich surprised us all when he said Seumalo had been penciled in as the starter

"He’s very smart," Reich said, "understands what he’s being coached, understands fronts, understands defensive schemes, what to anticipate, very athletic, tough-minded player.”

The Eagles can use an infusion of youth on the offensive line because the other four starters are an average of 29.5 years old, making them one of the oldest starting O-lines in the league. The thought was Seumalo would be replacing Jason Kelce at center this year. But with Kelce still here, the Birds felt they needed to get Seumalo on the field. With a future Hall of Famer to his left in Jason Peters and Kelce’s veteran presence to his right, Seumalo has a good support group to lean on. But keep in mind he will have to continue to work hard because Chance Warmack, a former first-round pick who has started 48 games, is also getting reps with the first-team O-line.

CB Rasul Douglas
So far, what’s not to like about Douglas? He has the size teams are looking for in a corner at 6-2/210. With the Eagles' being thin at CB, Douglas may find himself playing a lot sooner rather than later. Watching him in practices, he’s very aggressive, especially when playing press coverage. At times, he's a little too grabby but good coaching will get that straightened out. He also goes out of his way to seek advice on how to get better in a hurry. Last Thursday, he was seen huddled up with former Eagles great Brian Dawkins. Douglas said he’s asked Dawkins to watch him a little in practices to tell him what he’s doing right and, more importantly, what he’s doing wrong. Who better to ask to critique you than one of the greatest Eagles of all-time? DB coach Cory Undlin told me he believes this third-round pick has the makeup to be a very good corner at this level if he applies himself.

WR Marcus Johnson
This is a young man who has an uphill battle to make this roster, but the Birds are high on him. Johnson joined the Eagles in 2016 as an undrafted free agent and he spent time on their practice squad. He’s not the biggest WR you’ll come across (6-1/205), but he has some ability. He's quick off the line of scrimmage, runs good routes, has good hands and makes tough catches. Unfortunately for him, he’s buried in the numbers game with names like Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, Jordan Matthews and Agholor ahead of him. Plus, 2017 draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson. Johnson can play at this level. It’s just difficult seeing him in an Eagles uniform for the long haul.

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LB Mychal Kendricks
This will be an interesting storyline to keep an eye on. Kendricks admitted last week he asked the Eagles to release him back in January but the team did not comply with his wishes. It was a frustrating 2016 for him as he played only 27 percent of the snaps. By comparison, Nigel Bradham played 97 percent and Jordan Hicks played 95 percent. He couldn’t understand why he was always the odd man out in nickel situations. Now we wait to see what his role will be in 2017. If his playing time is limited again, how will it sit with Kendricks this time around? Could it get to a point where he becomes more vocal and possibly a distraction in the locker room? If that happens, are the Eagles willing to put up with it? My opinion is Kendricks is the best overall athlete on the Birds' defense, but his athleticism has not always been an asset. His speed at times has been a liability in over-pursuing plays. So far he has been the good soldier and not made any waves, but the key words here are … so far.

Darren Sproles plans to retire after 2018 season

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Darren Sproles plans to retire after 2018 season

The 2018 season will be the final one for Darren Sproles.

The Eagles' running back announced in a blog post Sunday that he plans to play just "one more year." In fact, Sproles wrote that he had originally planned for 2017 to be his final season in the NFL, but that changed after suffering a season-ending torn ACL and broken arm against the Giants in Week 3. 

"An injury is different; It’s something you don’t have any control over but I feel like I left a lot out there, and I couldn’t let my career end like that," Sproles wrote.

"Coming back from any injury is tough—especially a knee injury for a running back. I wondered if I was going to come back the same, if I would still have my quickness. That’s the main thing because I don’t want to go out there and start getting smacked. Once I started rehabbing and running again I could tell I was good and ready for one more healthy year."

The 35-year-old agreed to terms on a one-year deal to return to the Eagles back in April. This coming season, he will be part of a crowded Eagles backfield that's headlined by Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement.

Over four seasons with the Birds, Sproles has compiled 2,420 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns. He's also been a weapon on special teams, posting a 12.5 yards per return average and four touchdowns. Acquired in a trade from the Saints in 2014, Sproles has made the Pro Bowl three times as an Eagle and was named to Second Team All-Pro as a returner in his first season in Philly.

"I’m excited to come back and I am even more excited to come back to the defending Super Bowl champion, Eagles," Sproles wrote. "We have something special here with the team, the fans, and the city. We made history bringing the first Lombardi trophy to Philly and now we want to go back-to-back."

In the post, Sproles noted that he has his sights set on getting into the top five of the all-time leaders in all-purpose yards. Sproles currently sits eighth all-time with 19,155 yards. He should pass Steve Smith (19,180) and Marshall Faulk (19,190) with ease, but will have to leap Tim Brown (19,682) to get into the top five. The 13-year veteran wrote that it "will probably take until about mid-season (maybe a little longer)" to catch Brown.

The other players in the top five? Jerry Rice, Brian Mitchell, Walter Payton and Emmit Smith. Pretty good company.

Though, records weren't the thing that ultimately convinced Sproles to push his retirement back one more season.

"But I don’t do it for the records," Sproles wrote. "Yeah, it would be an honor to be mentioned in the same conversation as those guys—but that’s not what’s important. I love this game. I love what I do. When my daughter Devyn looked me in the eye and told me I have to play one more year—well, that was it."

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Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Training camp starts next week!

After a shorter-than-usual offseason, the Eagles will try to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs in over a decade. 

We answered half of your questions yesterday (see story). The rest today: 

To me, this has always been the most likely scenario if Nick Foles were to ever get traded for a few reasons. The first is that by training camp, the Eagles will have a much better idea of whether or not Carson Wentz is ready to play. They can decide to either keep the insurance policy or trade it away. And you’re right, desperation will raise Foles’ price. 

I remember asking Howie Roseman about this exact possibility back in March. 

“I’d say that’s a possibility of anyone on our team,” Roseman said. “We’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the Eagles. I don’t want to make this about just Nick, but anything that can make us better at any time in the year, we have to look at.”

I think it would have to be a first-rounder. The Eagles already didn’t trade Foles for an early second-rounder this year and if Sam Bradford was worth a first-rounder, the Super Bowl MVP damn-well better be. Now, it’s rare to have a Teddy Bridgewater-type situation arise, but if it does, the Eagles will be waiting by their phones.  

(And side note: I don’t think Foles’ restructured contract changes anything.) 

My gut is that he’s ready for Week 1, but I don’t know. On one hand, it’s a really serious injury. On the other, I was incredibly impressed by how much he was able to do in the spring and how well he did it. 

The one thing I know is this: It won’t be a decision. Either Wentz is cleared and he plays or he isn’t cleared and he doesn’t. There can’t be any thought to resting him if he’s cleared to play. These games are too important and they’re going to need him in every one. 

The Rams improved their roster and should be one of the favorites to win the NFC. The Rams already had a quarterback and some key pieces around him and then they won the offseason. 

The brought in Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Now, putting a bunch of great players together isn’t enough — remember the Dream Team — but it’s a good start. And the Rams certainly added a lot of talent. 

This is a fair question after Nigel Bradham’s suspension, but the good news for the Eagles is that Bradham’s suspension is just one game. The Eagles should have had more depth but Paul Worrilow went down for the season in the spring on the same day they cut Mychal Kendricks. That leaves the Eagles with a depth problem. 

I think they’ll try to get a better sense of what depth they have during the first week or two of training camp. Let’s see what they have in Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Corey Nelson, Joe Walker and LaRoy Reynolds. But I’d imagine the Eagles at least have a couple veteran names in mind. Remember, they did add Dannell Ellerbe late last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they still have a short list of guys who would make sense. 

Hot dogs. Please don’t ask me if they’re a sandwich. 

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