Good morning, Eagles fans. The Eagles practice at 9:35 a.m. today. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh is scheduled to speak after press conference. They're back on the field again Tuesday for their final full session before Thursday's preseason opener.
This is a training camp edition of the Early Birds newsletter, which will arrive in your inbox three days per week until the season begins. If your friends haven't subscribed to Early Birds, it's free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @ZBerm. Thank you for reading.
— Zach Berman
The big news on Sunday came before practice, when Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman received contract extensions through 2022. This should not be much of a shock, considering the coach and top executive helped bring Philadelphia its first Super Bowl. But the contracts align Pederson and Roseman together, giving the franchise continuity and making sure Pederson and Roseman have the same long-term contract stability.
Jeffrey Lurie kept talking about "collaboration" on Sunday — he said it seven times in 14 minutes — and that's become a buzzword in the Eagles' building. But there's also a clear split in the roles, whereas in the past, the Eagles have navigated the complexities that come with the head coach maintaining final say on personnel and/or wanting his own personnel executive.
Pederson has said that he just wants to coach the team – he hasn't shared any aspirations of picking the groceries. Roseman maintains final say of the personnel and oversees the football operations. That delineation is important. Time will tell how both Pederson's staff and Roseman's staff respond to defections — there will inevitably be coaches and scouts/executives who find promotions elsewhere — but those two appear entrenched in their jobs for the foreseeable future and the partnership appears to be strong. Add in Carson Wentz, and Eagles fans should be pleased to know they'll have that stability with three critical roles in the organization: Quarterback, head coach, and top football executive.
The Eagles held their first of two public practices on Sunday night. The team said more than 40,000 attended. It was an impressive crowd, with the entire lower bowl full and fans into the second and third decks of the stadium. The Eagles started these practices in 2013, when they moved training camp from Lehigh University to Philadelphia. There used to be more public sessions, and they didn't require a ticket in the past, either. Coming off the Super Bowl, there was obviously demand to get a ticket on Sunday. The tickets sold out quickly (and were being sold by third parties), so I was curious to see the crowd. After enduring heavy traffic because the Phillies game ended late Sunday afternoon, the seats were filled by the time practice picked up. The players met with members of the military after the game, giving them their jerseys featuring camouflaged numbers.
Those who came to the session saw much of Nate Sudfeld. Nick Foles missed practice and Carson Wentz is not participating in 11-on-11 drills, leaving Sudfeld with much of the work. Zach Ertz was also out for the second consecutive practice.
There's been speculation for a few months that the Eagles might bring back veteran safety Corey Graham. It finally happened on Sunday. This was a good move to make. Graham is a trusted reserve and key player on special teams. He knows Jim Schwartz's defense and his defensive role in three-safety formations is a good look for the Eagles, unlocking Malcolm Jenkins' versatility. Graham played 60 percent of the defensive snaps during the postseason. It also helps to have Graham as insurance if something happens to Jenkins or Rodney McLeod. Graham is far from a top-end player at this point in his career and the Eagles passed on other intriguing options on the open market, but they're better off with an experienced player as their third safety.