Today is big day for the Philadelphia Eagles. It will be the first time that Chip Kelly will lead a full-team practice via OTAs, and it’s the first opportunity media will have to observe first-hand what they’ve heard about.
The super-fast pace of practices. The communications that will change the league, at least according to Brent Celek.
This comes right on the heels of this weekend’s three-day rookie minicamp. Philadelphia’s youngest members will be tired after their crash course but will also be enlivened at the opportunity to now practice alongside their more seasoned teammates.
Two of the Birds’ drafted rookies will be absent, however—TE Zach Ertz and DB Jordan Poyer. No, they don’t need a rest after the intense weekend. They will be out of action until they graduate from college, adhering to an NFL rule that permits participation in only one minicamp until the completion of finals. Ertz will graduate from Stanford on June 16, and Poyner from Oregon State on June 10. Each will miss a total of seven practices between then and now.
Aside from Ertz and Poyer, the rest of the Eagles had better be well-rested to compete in Kelly’s “track meet.” In addition to the excitement of seeing the new normal for Eagles practice, much attention will be payed to how players are used in these practices, first and foremost in the quarterback competition. How will reps be split between the five QBs currently on the Eagles roster, and how will former USC quarterback Matt Barkley perform in initial competition against Nick Foles and Mike Vick? 1st-round selection Lane Johnson lined up at right tackle over the weekend—will that remain the case, and what will that mean for the rest of the offensive line? And who will line up in the first team defensive backfield for the Eagles, an area that remains a concern?
While the final answers to these questions won’t be revealed for some time, we’re getting closer.