It all feels right, where the Eagles are right now and what they’ve accomplished in free agency. The team has been aggressive and creative and logical. They’ve addressed needs. They’ve eliminated any in-the-draft temptations to “reach” at a position.
The roster looks good.
With that, though, the team’s offseason takes a new turn in the week ahead as the Conditioning Program begins on Monday and the evolution of the roster continues. A long list of players have a lot to show through the next few months leading into September. Let’s talk about that and assorted odds and ends with the big week(s) ahead …
- The offseason conditioning program is a voluntary, nine-week program that enters Phase 1 on Monday. What is Phase 1? Here are the particulars: It lasts two weeks and is limited to strength and conditioning activities. No football activities are permitted. Players are permitted to be on the field for 90 minutes with strength and conditioning coaches only. Players can be at the facility for four hours per day – clubs can specify two hours for players to be at the NovaCare Complex and players choose the other two hours for weights, etc. The Organized Team Activities begin on May 22 and the mandatory minicamp is the weekend of June 12-14.
- Look for the NFL schedule to be announced this week and with it, the most-anticipated dates for Eagles fans – the official word on who the Eagles will play in the opener on, presumably, Thursday, September 6 and when the Eagles will play Jacksonville in London, England. I can’t tell you how many fans have expressed an interest in going to the game in London. While Jacksonville has established a home-away-from-home base there, it’s likely to be an Eagles-flavored fan base that weekend.
- Radio silence from the Eagles and, frankly, from the draftniks as far as pre-draft chatter and rumor mill. Love it. And the fact is, it’s understandable. Who knows how the first round is going to play out and who will be on the board at 32, when the Eagles pick? It can go a lot of ways for the Eagles, but perhaps the most unlikely scenario is that the team will move up in the first round. The Eagles have six draft picks and in an ideal world, would somewhere be able to pick up more in the draft. What they do at 32 is anybody’s guess, including the Eagles’. It’s the best position to be in, of course.
- Looking forward to seeing everyone back after such a short offseason. Normally, players like to take a month off after the season to rest their bodies, which would mean the players wouldn’t hit the conditioning trail until early March after winning the Super Bowl on February 4. Coming all the way back emotionally and physically is a challenge, so it’s going to be interesting to see how head coach Doug Pederson adjusts his schedule, if at all.
- Weird to see the Cowboys minus wide receiver Dez Bryant in 2018? It will be, yeah. Bryant’s competitiveness, size and ability after the catch always made him a tough matchup. In the NFL, as we’ve learned, teams must move on, no matter how much the emotional part plays into the equation.
- Nothing to report on the progress made by quarterback Carson Wentz since head coach Doug Pederson showed such optimism a couple of weeks ago at the NFL Annual Meeting. Wentz may be the most motivated player in the NFL this offseason coming back from injury. Then again, such a proclamation would be a slight to players like left tackle Jason Peters, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks and safety Chris Maragos, all of whom are eager to get back on the field after missing the Super Bowl run.
- Needs? Every team has ‘em. The Eagles, from this perspective, could address tight end, running back, offensive line, linebacker and safety in this draft. Wide receiver? Sure, maybe, but the Eagles have a good situation there. Punter? Cameron Johnston is the only one on the roster at the moment. Defensive line? I don’t know if I see a need. Cornerback? If there is one who is better than what the Eagles have on the roster, then yes, but the Eagles used draft picks last year on Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas. It’s all about upgrading the roster and adding good football players.
- Finally, a shout out to the 130 or so fans and the folks from Apple Vacations who put together such a great 2018 Beach Blitz in Riveria Maya, Mexico this past week. It was a fabulous and great time and the fans, who came from California, Arizona, Kansas City, Florida, Connecticut, New York and the tri-state area, were incredibly supportive and fun loving. Wide receivers Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson endeared themselves to the fans and really enjoyed themselves and alumni Brian Westbrook and Ike Reese were great, as always. Thanks to everyone!