The Philadelphia Eagles open training camp on July 27 at the NovaCare Complex in Philadelphia. Here’s a closer look at the Eagles camp:
Top storyline: Quarterback Carson Wentz enters training camp with the wind at his back. The deck was stacked against Wentz his rookie year, in some respects. He was handed the gig eight days before the start of the season, following the Sam Bradford trade, and he manned an offense that lacked sufficient firepower at the skill positions. Wentz is now ingrained in the role of QB and leader, and thanks to the work of the Eagles’ front office, he is surrounded by new talent, including wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith and running back LeGarrette Blount. The environment is right for Wentz to take significant strides in his sophomore campaign.
QB depth chart: Wentz is firmly cemented at the top. Nick Foles, who threw 27 touchdowns and two interceptions for the Eagles during Chip Kelly’s first season as head coach in 2013, returns as a backup after spending last season with the Kansas City Chiefs in a similar role. Matt McGloin is No. 3.
Bubble watch: Linebacker Mychal Kendricks was the subject of trade discussions this offseason after he was used in a limited capacity by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz last season. The Eagles are not particularly deep at linebacker, but given all the recent smoke, his status is at least worth keeping an eye on. Defensive end Marcus Smith II, a former first-round pick, is in jeopardy of being cut.
That rookie could start: Cornerback Rasul Douglas. The third-round pick out of West Virginia got plenty of reps with the first team this spring, taking over one of the outside corner spots in nickel situations. This team is thin at cornerback. With fellow rookie Sidney Jones still recovering from an Achilles injury, the door is open for Douglas (6-foot-2, 209 pounds) to contend for a starting gig opposite Jalen Mills.
Getting to know Alshon: Wentz and Jeffery were in the feeling-out period this spring, as one would occasionally zig while the other zagged during OTAs and minicamp. But when they were on the same page, the ball never hit the turf. That really stood out, especially after the Eagles' receivers led the league in drop rate last season. Jeffery was had one drop on 92 targets last season, per ESPN Stats & Info. With a huge catch radius and sticky hands, Jeffery can be a security blanket for Wentz. Now they just need to sync up.
Stout up front: Pro Football Focus recently rated the Eagles’ offensive line as the best in football. While the Cowboys and others might have something to say about that, the Eagles’ front is solid on paper. A few keys for that to translate through the season: 35-year old left tackle Jason Peters needs to stay healthy; right tackle Lane Johnson has to stay suspension-free; and center Jason Kelce needs to find the consistency that has eluded him the past two years.
Derek and the pass rush: The Eagles spent their first-round pick on edge rusher Derek Barnett, who broke Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee. Schwartz’s defense is predicated on the front four getting home, and that didn’t happen enough last season. The Eagles need a player or two to step up and fill the all-important pass-rusher role, especially with Connor Barwin gone to the Rams. Veterans Vinny Curry and Chris Long will get their chances opposite Brandon Graham. Barnett will be a key player to watch this summer to see if he’s ready to join (or perhaps overtake) them on the big stage.
For daily updates at camp, check out the Philadelphia Eagles clubhouse.