The Eagles report to their highly anticipated training camp on July 26 at the NovaCare Complex.
Everybody who’s anybody will be there — the cool kids and the new guys. The Eagles are one of 10 teams that will have rookies and veterans report at the same time.
There will be hitting in camp. There will be jobs won and lost. There will be players cut. There will be a fan favorite or two (or three) cut. That’s what happens when your team improves its roster — popular players can be replaced by more talented players.
Back in the day, players came to training camp to get in shape. That’s no longer the case. The NFL is a year-round enterprise and players better arrive shredded or their job and/or playing time might be in jeopardy.
Keep your eye on injuries at camp. Every team’s goal is to break camp healthy. That rarely happens, even with key players barely seeing the field during preseason games.
One thing about this year’s camp. The major question mark about the season will not be answered in camp or the preseason: How good is Jalen Hurts?
We’ll have glimpses in camp, a few seconds of video here and there, and we’ll hear commentary from coaches and players about how well he is throwing, how he is finding receivers, how crisply he is directing the team — generally all positive stuff.
As for preseason games, little is learned — and nothing is decided about a quarterback — from a series or two against the opposition.
We’ll know more about Jalen Alexander Hurts by the end of September. We’ll know more about Eagles then, too.
CAMP BATTLES TO MONITOR
As camp proceeds, there are many things to observe. Such as:
Do the rookies look like they belong? Are they threatening veterans for playing time? What are the coaches and veterans saying about the rookies?
One titanic battle might be heralded rookie Nakobe Dean trying to unseat starter T.J. Edwards at linebacker.
You have Jordan Davis vying for serious playing time in the defensive tackle rotation. Does he look like the run-clogger everyone expects? Is he going to push Fletcher Cox?
This leads us to Cam Jurgens.
Jurgens is a center by trade. The Eagles currently employ All-Pro Jason Kelce at center. Last year they successfully moved rookie center Landon Dickerson to left guard, where he formed a virtual brick wall with left tackle Jordan Mailata.
Will Jurgens make a run at the starting right guard position over Isaac Seumalo or strong backup Jack Driscoll? Seumalo was replaced at left guard by Dickerson last year and it is believed he will be given every opportunity to grab the starting job on the right side.
Seumalo is coming off a Lisfranc foot sprain that required surgery. He only played three games last year. He participated in June’s organized team activities and he says he is healthy going into camp.
Will Jurgens be a strong backup across the interior line — someone the Eagles can plug in because of injury — while learning the center trade from Kelce? Kelce, at some point, is going to retire and the Eagles desperately hope Jurgens is the guy to replace him.
WHO BACKS UP GOEDERT?
Another interesting camp battle is for backup tight end behind Dallas Goedert.
The Eagles have Jack Stoll, sixth-round draft pick Grant Calcaterra, veteran Richard Rodgers plus players who have switched positions — J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Tyree Jackson.
Expect the Eagles to keep three tight ends and they hope Calcaterra is one of them.
SAFETY IN NUMBERS
Both safety positions should be competitive.
Expect recent free-agent signee Jaquiski Tartt to battle starter Anthony Harris at strong safety, and Marcus Epps to compete with backup K’Von Wallace at free safety.
In theory, the Eagles have four guys who can play back there — making the team stronger and adding a layer of depth not always available at that position.
PRACTICE AT LINC OPEN TO PUBLIC
The Eagles announced they will have a public practice on Sunday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. at Lincoln Financial Field.
Tickets are required for the practice. Tickets cost $10 with proceeds benefiting the Eagles Autism Challenge. Parking is free.
The Eagles say there will be “live football action” at the public practice. There will be post-practice player autographs along with alumni autograph signings throughout the evening.
The Eagles also say there will be photos with their mascot Swoop; performances from the pep band, drum line and cheerleaders; free face painting; and green screen photo stations.
The preseason opener is Friday, Aug. 12 at 7:30 p.m. at home against the New York Jets. The Eagles also play at Cleveland on Sunday, Aug. 21 at 1 p.m. Philly closes the preseason schedule at Miami on Saturday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m.
The Eagles also will conduct joint preseason practices at Cleveland (Deshaun Watson?) and at Miami (Tua and Tyreek Hill).
Throughout camp, NFL teams have deadlines to cut players. The cut dates are:
- Aug. 16: 90 to 85 players.
- Aug. 23: 85 to 80 players.
- Aug. 30: 80 to 53 players.
By the end of August, we’ll know who made the Eagles’ 53-man roster. The camp battles will be over; the real battles soon will start.