Eagles Wake-UP Call: OTAs Begin
Today marks the start of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) for the Eagles. What are OTAs? Non-contact practices, basically. Now in Phase Three of the offseason conditioning program, the team is allowed to engage in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
A total of 10 practices are permitted over the next several weeks. The Eagles’ OTA schedule breaks down as follows:
June 1-2 & 4
The media has limited access during this stage. The first time we’ll be able to watch practice is Thursday, and we’re only allowed to view part of these sessions. We’ll speak with Chip Kelly around noon prior to training Thursday, and will talk with the players afterwards. We also have access June 1, 8 and 9.
The mandatory minicamp (June 16-18) will be our first chance to watch the practices in full. (Evan Mathis has to be in attendance for the minicamp if he wants to avoid a hefty fine. It will be interesting to see if/when he reports.) After that, the team will break for a final time before training camp starts up.
So, we’re getting closer to some meaningful activity. This week is noteworthy because it’s our first opportunity to see some of the new Eagles in action. All eyes, of course, will be on Sam Bradford. He is expected to be limited leading into training camp but we should at least get a glimpse of him throwing the ball around, I’d imagine. Kiko Alonso, similarly, probably won’t be full-go. But guys like DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Byron Maxwell are expected to be. Same with rookies like Nelson Agholor and Eric Rowe, who could fill meaningful roles for the Eagles this year.
Where will they start out? Who is atop the depth chart at safety? How will all the new pieces look now that they’re inserted into Kelly’s machine? We’ll start getting some answers beginning this week.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Could this be a rebuilding year for the Eagles? Jon Runyan seems to think there’s a good chance.
Is Ray Rice an option for the Cowboys? NFC East roundup.
“I just have to be more aggressive and more violent going into Year 3.” Lane Johnson turned to MMA training this offseason to gain an edge.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
The Eagles added former Bears college scouting director Marty Barrett to their personnel staff, according to the Chicago Tribune.
According to an NFL source, Barrett will serve as a West Coast scout for the Eagles. Dwayne Joseph, the Bears’ former associate director of pro personnel, was hired as the director of pro personnel in Philadelphia…
Barrett worked for the Bears for the last 18 seasons and was promoted to college scouting director under former general manager Phil Emery. He was a West Coast scout before that promotion and was credited with helping the team land a pair of third-round draft picks that turned into perennial Pro Bowl performers in center Olin Kreutz and linebacker Lance Briggs. Another third-round pick from Barrett’s area who turned into a pretty good player was wide receiver Bernard Berrian.
The Bears drafted Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long and cornerback Kyle Fuller in the first round after Barrett was promoted to the college director role.
Greg Bedard posted a snippet of his SI piece on Kelly, in which he draws a parallel to Bill Walsh.
“Kelly and Walsh each entered the league with cutting-edge offensive systems that many pundits deemed too finesse-oriented or pass-happy to succeed. Leaping from Stanford to the 49ers in 1979, Walsh believed that his offensive scheme could make up for San Francisco’s talent shortcomings, but he quickly realized that the same could not be said on the other side of the ball. In his second and third drafts, after starting his pro career 2–14, Walsh spent 14 of his 22 picks on defensive players, with 13 of those coming in the first six rounds. Likewise, in his second and third drafts with the Eagles, Kelly (who likely subscribes to Walsh’s belief that he can scheme his way out of any offensive talent deficiencies) spent 10 of his 13 selections on the defensive side of the ball.
“No question, the innovation [Walsh and Kelly] have with their offenses and how to run a team are similar,” says former 49ers CEO and president Carmen Policy. “People scoffed at Bill at first, and continued to scoff at his West Coast offense even after the first Super Bowl. Yes, you see the same elements of Bill in Chip, but Bill was much better prepared with his NFL experience being with Paul Brown [on the Bengals’ staff for seven years].”
Does the fact that Bradford is coming off two ACL tears make him more susceptible to a third? We sought out an expert to find out.