Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Why I can't wait for Eagles' training camp to start

Eliot Shorr-Parks
July 15, 2019 - 7:01 am

It has been 183 days since the Eagles’ loss to the New Orleans Saints in the playoffs, 81 days since the NFL Draft, 34 days since the team opened mandatory minicamp and 32 days since they closed it. 

And now, the long, long wait for football to return to our lives is almost here, with just 10 days between now and the start of training camp — and I can’t wait for it to get here. 

Here is why I am so excited for Eagles training camp to start:

Doug’s offense: Head coach Doug Pederson is one of the most innovative and best play callers  in the NFL, and now, general manager Howie Roseman has handed him the best set of skill players in the league. Pederson won’t show his full gameplan during training camp, but it will be our first peak at what he has planned with all of his new players. How often will he run 12 personnel? Will he line DeSean Jackson up in the slot? Will Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders see the field at the same time — and how often is rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside going to get reps with the first-team? Training camp is going to be our first look at what tricks Pederson might have up his sleeves. 

Matchup with Nick Foles: This is looking ahead, but the Eagles trip to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars and quarterback Nick Foles is going to be an exciting one — even for a preseason. Foles has such an important — and complicated — place in the Eagles’ history. His statue is still outside of Lincoln Financial Field. A matchup with with the Jaguars is going to be a chance to dive back into all of the great debates and discussions that centered around Foles this past offseason. 

The daily drama: Training camp is the best part of the year on the NFL calendar. Each day is different. A total of 21 practices and four games in 35 days is going to create plenty of drama and changes that none of us saw coming. That is exactly what we all need after close to six weeks with nothing happening — and the Phillies taking a nosedive. 

DeSean Jackson and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: If minicamp was any indication, there is a decent chance that a day won’t go by without either Jackson or Arcega-Whiteside making a play that opens eyes. That is going to be very different from training camp last year, where Alshon Jeffery was sidelined for most of the practices, and Foles was at quarterback for the majority of team reps. This year, not only will Jeffery be healthy, but Wentz will be at quarterback, and the daily showing from the offense should be a lot more exciting and there should be plenty of big plays. 

The Baltimore Ravens: Joint training camp practices between two teams is one of the most exciting things in the NFL (yes, really). Another team coming in ramps up the competition and intensity, and gives a really good look at how the team is coming along three weeks into camp. This year the Eagles will be welcoming the Baltimore Ravens to the NovaCare Complex, a great team to compete against considering they were one of the most underrated teams in the AFC last year, and should present a lot of different and difficult looks for the Eagles to deal with. 

Surprise moves: Roseman is one of the most aggressive general managers in the NFL for a reason, and his willingness to make a deal and be active always shows itself during training camp. The over/under on trades Roseman will make during training camp, considering the depth the team has and how all-in they are for this year, should be set at 2.5. I’ll take the over. 

The cornerbacks: True training camp competitions are hard to come by in today’s NFL, considering usually the money or draft pick invested in a player ends up winning out. That could end up being the case at cornerback with the Eagles, but minicamp was an early indication it might to be. Rasul Douglas (third-round pick) was with the starters over Sidney Jones (second-round pick), a sign that the Eagles really are going to let the best-players play and the best man might really win the job. Douglas, Jones, Jalen Mills, Ronald Darby, Avonte Maddox, Cre’von LeBlanc — all of them have a legitimate reason to be starting. The way defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz shuffles his cornerbacks in-and-out of the lineup during training camp, they will all get a shot — and the competition should be great to watch. 

Carson Wentz: There isn’t a more interesting player in the NFL than Carson Wentz, and there isn’t a player with more pressure on him in all of sports. Answering the many questions surrounding him begins in training camp. Watching Wentz every day — through the ups-and-downs — and seeing how he plays after a full offseason of work is going to be fascinating. The whole league will be watching and waiting to see what the player many believe can be league MVP in 2019 is up to.