We all have questions about the Eagles, about how they've reached this point and how where they proceed. With Organized Team Activities started at the NovaCare Complex, the Eagles take another step toward September. There are 11 new veterans on the 90-man roster, another six draft picks and 16 rookies signed after the draft.
The Organized Team Activities, in case you are wondering, are much like Phase 2, which the Eagles conducted for a couple of weeks. The players were helmets, shells (instead of shoulder pads) and shorts. There is no tackling. The tempo is fast, as is always the case here. The days are six hours long, two more than in the Phase 2 part of the offseason. Much of the day is made up of meetings, conditioning and athletic treatment, and the players are on the field for 90 minutes. The Eagles can have 7-on-7 practices and 11-on-11 practices. There are 10 OTA training sessions permitted in a four-week period. Additionally, the Eagles will hold a mandatory minicamp in June.
The media is permitted to attend a handful of the OTA sessions, starting on Thursday. Cameras are permitted for the first few periods. Reporters can watch the entire session.
And now some questions, 10 of them. And maybe some answers from this perspective ...
Q. Where Is QB Sam Bradford In His Development?
Bradford has been throwing in the offseason program, all the way through Phase 2 on the field. He is apparently making very good progress coming back from his latest knee injury. The expectation here is that Bradford will throw in one-on-one drills - receivers against defensive backs if the Eagles conduct those drills, and when receivers run routes on air. Bradford should participate in the individual drills in the training sessions.
I do not anticipate that Bradford will throw in the 11-on-11 portion of the OTA, at least in the early days of work. There is no need to rush him back, or to take the chance of having a lineman take a fall and roll into his legs. We'll see what kind of progress he makes as we get into June and closer to Training Camp.
Q. What Is Happening With OG Evan Mathis?
Mathis remains absent from the voluntary workouts without any indication of his plan. Will he report to the mandatory camp in mid-June?
Q. How Will The Eagles Play It At WR?
There are some options here and head coach Chip Kelly is going to exercise all of them. The thought here is that No. 1 draft pick Nelson Agholor will be a low man on the totem pole as he works his way up in these OTAs. Does Jordan Matthews stay inside as a slot receiver or does he move outside? I'm not ruling out the idea that he stays in the slot. He has a dominating physical advantage there that the Eagles are going to want to continue to use. Riley Cooper isn't a forgotten man here, trust me on that. Josh Huff is someone the Eagles expect to make a huuuuugggge leap in Year 2. And if Miles Austin shows he can run, he's going to have a chance to help here. The Eagles like the way he goes up and catches the football.
Keep in mind that it's early and that how the receivers line up this week doesn't mean it will stay the same all the way through August.
Q. Who Lines Up Where And What Does It Mean At DB?
Can't wait to see this. Byron Maxwell starts at one corner and Malcolm Jenkins starts at one safety spot and that's honestly all we can predict with any accuracy right now. Is Jaylen Watkins a safety or a corner? How about Walter Thurmond? Where are the rookies in the current picture?
Q. Can Kiko Alonso Make An Immediate Impact?
The Eagles think he can, and Alonso has said that he's making fine progress coming back from his knee injury. Expect him to have a chance to start inside right away. In these sessions, it wouldn't be a surprise to see Alonso and Mychal Kendricks inside as DeMeco Ryans continues this recovery from his Achilles tendon injury.
Q. The Tim Tebow Story: Where Is He At QB?
This is going to be fun to watch all the way through the summer. Tebow is here to win a job. Nothing is guaranteed. Tebow is, on paper, here to battle Matt Barkley for the third quarterback job behind Bradford and Mark Sanchez. Tebow has worked hard to get to this point and he's one of those try-hard practice players who is first in line at every drill and who leads by his hard-work example. We know he works hard. Can he throw the football accurately? Are there plays the Eagles will specifically design to allow Tebow to move out of the pocket and use his legs?
Q. How Much Does PAT Change Eagles' Approach?
Piggybacking on the previous question, this bears watching. Will the Eagles be more likely to go for two points after a touchdown rather than kick a 33-yard PAT? They've got Tebow and his versatility. They've got big, downhill running backs. They have a creative X's and O's approach. We'll see.
Q. What Does The OL Depth Chart Look Like?
Jason Peters starts at left tackle. Jason Kelce starts at center. Lane Johnson starts at right tackle. Who are the guards? Allen Barbre is probably best suited for the left side. Matt Tobin has to be a strong candidate on the right side. Andrew Gardner is going to make his push, too. The Eagles need more to come through. Dennis Kelly? Josh Andrews, who great athletic ability? Rookie Brett Boyko, who has a chance to make it here?
Q. Who Emerges As An OTA "Player to Watch"?
There are a slew of young wide receivers who will get reps. Devante Davis from UNLV has really good size and had a fine college career. Quron Pratt knows the scheme after a year on the practice squad and should play fast. Running back Raheem Mostert is thin at 5 feet 11, 190 pounds, but he's very fast.
On the defensive side, the Eagles have so many new faces, particularly in the secondary, that one or two will flash. Second-year defensive lineman Taylor Hart is someone the coaches think can help a lot this year.
Q. What Will We Learn About The RB Group Here?
Get used to seeing DeMarco Murray in an Eagles uniform and taking a pitch and leaning in and bringing it as a downhill running back. Ryan Mathews is the same. Big and strong and no dancing. Hitting the hole. This is going to be a power running game. That's the way the scheme is built and Murray and Mathews are going to get the bulk of the carries with Darren Sproles mixed in as a change-of-pace, get-the-ball-in-space kind of player.