Eagles Training Camp Day 1 Recap: Everyone healthy, no new injuries

FINALLY. After what has seemed like an eternity, the Eagles were on the field for the start of training camp, practicing in pads as a team for the first time since the end of the season. It wasn’t the most eventful day in terms of on-the-field action, but that’s often a good thing, as it meant there were no new injuries or players holding out. The biggest news might have been about the Brandon Boykin trade, but I’ll get to that later. First, here’s a recap of some of the storylines going on around training camp.

The Return of Sam

Sam Bradford makes his return to 11-on-11 drills, but as many reporters described, he looked a bit rusty and appeared less than great. But the fact that he was out there without a big, bulky brace is obviously a good sign.

Is Kendricks Staying Around?

In his press conference before practice, Chip Kelly said that Mychal Kendricks is definitely staying with the team. “You can put that in ink,” he added. Well, I’m not sure I’m totally buying this, as he appears to have said this about a lot of players who he eventually let go (DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Evan Mathis, etc.). Obviously he’s not going to go out and say “Yeah, we’re thinking about trading him.” That would make no sense. Everyone should know by now that Kelly is smarter than that.

Battle at Inside Linebacker

But, if Kendricks stays around (at least for 2015), there will be quite an interesting battle for the two inside linebacker spots. I think Kiko Alonso is the best and most obvious option for the first starting spot, but Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans will be battling for the other slot for what will probably be all of training camp and preseason. Both are very good linebackers, but they both have their downsides. If they start Kendricks but then choose not to keep him after this year, that’s a waste, because Ryans will be on his last legs and is not a long-term option. But if they just start Ryans, they could lose Kendricks anyway and still be without a second long-term option at the position. It’s quite an interesting scenario.

Cornerback Position Battle

Last night, Brandon Boykin was traded to the Steelers for a conditional fifth round pick. Trade rumors surrounded the nickel cornerback all season, so the trade wasn’t a complete surprise. Details on the trade:

The Steelers have never had the strongest group of cornerbacks, so it seems like Boykin could definitely play that many snaps. Whether he’d start on the outside though is to be determined.

As for the actual position battle, unloading Boykin provides guys like JaCorey Shepherd a great opportunity to get some playing time. Walter Thurmond remained at safety today, but he’s another guy who’s played the slot corner position in the past.

He already has a great chance to make the roster, but if he could already become the team’s slot cornerback, that would be a great situation. I’ll discuss more of the cornerback situation in a later piece, but the other starting outside slot is available too. Eric Rowe and Nolan Carroll will fight for that spot, but it’s possible that the loser of that battle will slide to fourth on the depth chart if Shepherd wins the slot job. Again, more on that later.

Boykin’s comments on Chip

CSN Philly’s Derrick Gunn received a very interesting text from Boykin after the trade about Chip Kelly. Here’s a portion of it that Gunn tweeted out:

To me, that doesn’t sound like he’s bitter about being traded, but more just expressing a negative sentiment that multiple people share about Kelly. It’s definitely not a good thing that people, still within the team as well, feel this way about their coach, but I tend to believe them. Kelly often exudes an aura of “football is life”, which is completely fine, but it seems to be coupled with an inability to relate to players. This is in no way related to the idiotic suggestions that he’s racist, but more of the idea that not everyone loves him. Just something to think about going forward.

News and Notes

Jordan Matthews apparently looked great and is the clear best receiver on the team…Nelson Agholor took second team snaps at WR…Mark Sanchez thinks there’s a quarterback competition, which is cute, but likely not true…DeMarco Murray didn’t take any snaps in team drills despite being listed as healthy…Bradford won’t be wearing a big brace at all anymore…Matt Tobin took first-team reps at right guard, Allen Barbre at left guard.

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