Eagles get 6-week break before training camp


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Pennsylvania’s most famous quadruped made an unexpected visit to the Philadelphia Eagles practice facility last week.

Phil, a known Eagles fan despite the fact that he hails from Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, was on hand to take in the Eagles’ three-day mandatory mini-camp.

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Phil, slathered in sun block and chewing on a cup of watermelon-flavored water ice, ventured out from under a shade umbrella and watched as Saquon Barkley take handoffs for the first time from Jalen Hurts.

Phil nodded happily and declared that there would be six more weeks of offseason. The Eagles will return for good in July to prepare for the 2024 season.

The very best kind of news came out of the three-day gathering. The Eagles are making progress in signing their rookie draft picks. First pick Quinyon Mitchell signed a four-year contract, which sets the wheels in motion for the rest of the draft class to follow suit.

It’s yet another way that the Eagles’ front office sets a tone for the rest of the organization. Every player on the roster reported to minicamp. Even players like James Bradberry, who might not be on the team by the time the team boards a plane for Sao Paolo and their season opener against Green Bay in Brazil.

Around the league, several high-profile players remained out of their team’s camps. All-Pro guard Landon Dickerson was the lone exception, after being granted an excused absence for minicamp. Meanwhile, the Eagles have happy players, with good contracts.

There were no significant injuries at camp. Another good sign.

With the Eagles installing a new Kellen Moore offense and a Vic Fangio defense, all the key components of both new systems were on hand to make a smooth transition.

Some notable additions made themselves visible at camp. Former Jets tackle Mekhi Becton seamlessly filled in for Dickerson at guard on the first offensive line. Former Colts corner Isaiah Rodgers started opposite cornerback Darius Slay.

Nothing spectacular came out of the first mandatory offseason camp in four years under coach Nick Sirianni. There are several reasons for that.

The Eagles are relatively stable as an organization, even taking into account that the team is folding in two new coordinators. You also can’t discount the effect of having reporters on hand for all three practices.

The Eagles worked on the basics and concentrated on bringing their draft picks and newly acquired players into sync with the Eagles’ organization.

In short, the Eagles had exactly what they wanted, an uneventful, yet productive three days.

It should be a quiet six weeks until training camp. A few things to look for are getting the rest of the draft class signed. There could be some tweaks to the roster coming soon. The team still needs to find a fourth option in the passing game, either a third wide receiver or backup tight end to give Hurts options beyond AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert.

We have six more weeks of offseason. The Groundhog says so.

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