The Philadelphia Eagles opened their Thursday OTA practice to the media and I was there to soak it all in. Keep in mind that these are all non-contact drills at this point. Players aren't allowed to wear shells yet. There's only so much to be gleaned from players running around in shorts, but here's what I noted from Thursday's session:
• Media madness! Prior to practice, Chip Kelly met with the media for the first time since the 2015 NFL Draft. There were reportedly about 105 media members there. Think about that. That's crazy. There are only 90 players on the actual roster! If it's not clear that Kelly has captivated the league at this point, I don't know when it will be.
• Chip had a lot of interesting stuff to say, as usual. More on that later.
• Housekeeping stuff first. Players not in attendance: Evan Mathis and Nelson Agholor. Mathis hasn't shown up to voluntary workouts all offseason. Agholor is out west for the NFLPA rookie event. Marcus Mariota also wasn't at practice for some reason.
• Injured players: Sam Bradford (knee), Earl Wolff (knee), Marcus Smith II (leg/groin). The first two are hardly a surprise. Smith's absence certainly isn't great for a player who is trying to fight overcome a disappointing rookie season. We'll see if he can practice next week. Kelly didn't list DeMeco Ryans as one of the injured players but he was doing some work on the sideline with trainers (along with Smith and Wolff) prior to practice. But then he practiced with the team later on.
• One of the first things I noticed today was that Allen Barbre was at left guard with Mathis out and Matt Tobin was at right guard (as opposed to Andrew Gardner). The team is still seemingly high on Tobin.
• All eyes were obviously on Bradford. He participated in some individual drills but isn't doing team drills yet. Kelly said the plan is to have Bradford start those next week. From the limited time I got to see him, Bradford threw a pretty ball and has a quick release.
• Darren Sproles, Miles Austin, Jordan Matthews, and Kenjon Barner were among those fielding punts. I have to imagine Agholor will be in the mix there once he gets back.
• G.J. Kinne (who is the best) is no longer playing at quarterback. He's switched full time to wide receiver. It looks a little weird to see him catching passes in the No. 4 jersey, but he really didn't look out of place. He's an athletic guy and he looks strong.
• Jaylen Watkins was practicing with the safety group, as was Walter Thurmond. Chip said that Thurmond is the first of the cornerbacks to have a shot at safety. I talked to Thurmond a little bit after practice. More on him later.
• Mark Sanchez's pump fake is so good. More importantly, Sanchez looked pretty good overall. Certainly a lot better than he did at this time last year. He was really, really bad during last year's spring workouts. Now he's fully healthy and he knows the playbook.
• Jordan Matthews still runs out every play hard, and it's funny to watch. He caught a short pass from Tim Tebow and then sprinted 60 yards to the house even though the play was over.
• Zach Ertz had a drop early on but he made up for it later by running a great corner route and getting open against Kiko Alonso. Kudos to Sanchez for delivering a good ball on the play.
• Matt Barkley didn't really stand out to me either way. The only time he caught my eye was when he overthrew G.J. Kinne, which is as weird as it sounds.
• TIM TEBOW! He didn't look all that bad at first, but then he started to struggle as practice went on. He often took a long time to throw. I don't know if that was all his fault because I couldn't tell if wide receivers were open, but the ball needs to get out faster either way. Tebow also made a habit of tucking the ball and running, which is something he's not too bad at. It's obviously a non-contact practice, but he actually picked up a nice chunk of yards on one play. Here's a video of Tebow from after practice.
• Seyi Ajirotutu dropped a pass before making a nice sideline grab. You probably won't care about that, but he has an awesome name and I'm going to try to find a way to include it in all of my notes. Maybe.
• DeMarco Murray looked good catching the ball out of the backfield.
• First team secondary: Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll at cornerback, Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Maragos at safety. Before you overreact, remember: it's still way early in the offseason. The safety spot next to Jenkins seems wide open. Walter Thurmond and Chris Prosinski were the second team safeties. Watkins ran with the third team.
• First team inside linebackers: Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso.
• First team wide receivers: Josh Huff and Riley Cooper on the outside with Jordan Matthews in the slot. It'll be interesting to see how that changes when Agholor returns. Matthews did also get some reps on the outside.
• Keep in mind today was just the first day and there was a lot to see. There are 90 players and I couldn't get to everything. It was also a little hard to tell what was going on at times because the Eagles were practicing on the opposite end of the field and there were some people/obstacles in my way. I'll do my best to make up for the things I missed next time. Let me know if there's anything you specifically want to see or hear about.
Up next: This concludes the first week of Eagles OTAs. BGN will have a lot more OTA coverage today so check back often.
Remaining offseason workout schedule:
OTA Offseason Workouts: June 1-2, June 4, June 8-11.
Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18.
BGN Coverage: The following practices are open to the media: June 1, June 8, June 9, and June 16-18.