Training camp report dates: rookies and veterans (July 25)
Location: NovaCare Complex in South Philly
Most important position battle: Sidney Jones vs. Jalen Mills. On a near-pristine — and improved –Eagles roster, cornerback is one of the few positions where there are more questions than answers. While Ronald Darby is expected to start on one side of the field, Jalen Mills and Sidney Jones will jockey for the other slot. Jones, who might have started last season if he didn’t miss all but one game with an Achilles injury suffered before the draft, “turned heads” during OTAs. Patrick Robinson’s departure down to New Orleans paves the way for either Jones or Mills to move inside to the nickel corner position.
Newcomers to watch: Dallas Goedert (and Richard Rodgers). After Philly released Brent Celek and Super Bowl 52 third-leading passer Trey Burton left to join Chicago, the Eagles moved quickly to fill the No. 2 tight end role behind Zach Ertz, signing Rodgers from Green Bay and drafting Goedert. The latter showed out as a red-zone threat during OTAs and our own Bucky Brooks projects he will end up as the top tight end from the 2018 class. The Eagles are flush with field-stretching talent — Philly swapped Torrey Smith for Mike Wallace and is getting Darren Sproles back from injury — so the TE duo’s imprint might not be as large out of the gate. But Rodgers and Goedert will be asked to fill the blocking and pass-catching duties vacated by Celek and Burton, respectively, and how quickly they assume those roles will be something to track.
Looming camp question: Will Carson Wentz be healthy by Week 1? It’s presumed that Wentz, who in the midst of an MVP-caliber campaign was forced to miss Philadelphia’s Super Bowl run after suffering ACL and LCL injuries in Week 14, will be fully recovered by the time Week 1 rolls around, and Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles will happily cede the starting role. That’s because all reports out of minicamp and OTAs are overwhelmingly positive. Wentz was cleared to participate in team drills, started throwing “with the same zip” and is running at about “90 percent” speed. That and because Foles said he has no issue handing the reins back to Philly’s true franchise quarterback. But just because evaluations are sunny in June doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way in August. Wentz’s repaired knee and how it affects how he plays the game will and should be the focus of much discussion this preseason. Does the once-nimble QB scale back his adlibbed runs? Will the Eagles start him more than a series per game during their preseason contests, if at all? If Wentz’s progress is slower than expected, will calls grow for Foles, a Philly hero, to start in Week 1?