What I'll be watching closely at Eagles training camp:
Doug Pederson told the Eagles to rip off their dog masks and embrace being the hunted, and I'm curious to see how that attitude translates to training camp. Former Giants coach Ben McAdoo told the New York Post that he thinks the Eagles "will have a hard time handling success." Even if you disagree with McAdoo's opinion on the Eagles during unemployment, he proposes a valid question.
The Eagles were a motivated team last year, and that chemistry, toughness, and resiliency that become the team's hallmarks started during spring and summer workouts. So the Eagles arrive for this training camp after a truncated offseason with many key players recovering from injuries — or perhaps even recovering from the post-Super Bowl gallivanting that they earned. The Eagles know they can't expect to just show up on Sept. 6 and look like the team that walked off the field under confetti in February. This will be reinforced by the coaching staff during the next six weeks.
How the Eagles respond to the success might be evident by the intensity of practices; by how focused the players seem at 10 a.m. on sweltering Friday morning when an extra hour of sleep or the thought of an upcoming day off could be more appealing than another padded practice; and by how crisp the team looks by mid-August when attention will start to shift to the season opener. Pederson has a good gauge on how well the team practices. If he feels the need to crank it up at a given time, there's a reason.
Of course, the biggest story during training camp will be the health of Carson Wentz. Every day requires a "Wentz Watch" — how much did he do, what progress has he made, and how close is he to being cleared for full contact? I don't anticipate Wentz playing in the preseason, but I wouldn't bet against him taking the first snap in Week 1. And it's not just a matter of being cleared, but how he looks. There will likely be rust — it's hard to expect the Wentz of October after such a long layoff — but even a rusty Wentz is a positive development for the Eagles as long as he's healthy. And then there's the question of how Nick Foles looks. Remember, Foles barely practiced last summer while dealing with elbow soreness. The QB1 takes a lot passes during training camp, so that will be worth monitoring.
The Eagles' injury list will get attention every day, and some of the team's front-line players might not practice for awhile this summer. But if Sidney Jones is still on the injury list, there's reason for concern. Jones has the potential to be a top cornerback for the Eagles as long as he's on the field. He couldn't do so during the spring after spending almost all of last season recovering from a torn Achilles tendon.