The nine-page memo the NFL sent to teams this week outlining everything necessary for players and coaches to work from team facilities was a sobering reminder of how far we really are from business as usual in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally, the Eagles and other teams would be wrapping up mandatory minicamp this week -- the last and most important onfield work before training camp in late July. It’s apparent now that there won’t be any in-person minicamps. Teams will do well to figure out how to comply with the league’s social distancing and cleanliness guidelines, for a 90-member roster, by late July. Though NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero reported that there is hope for having rookies and veterans who have changed teams and haven’t completed their physicals to at least have some limited access to team facilities before June 26, when all pre-training camp offseason work must be complete.
It would be really interesting to know how the Eagles are going about implementing the NFL plan -- they would seem to need much more locker-room space to keep everyone 6 feet apart, as mandated. But the team has deferred comment on these matters to the league, for the time being.
When training camp starts, it’s going to be like nothing we’ve ever seen. And it’s far from clear that reporters will be on hand to tell you about it, or will have enough access to truly explain the differences. Normalcy seems like a faraway dream.
Early Birds is taking a brief summer vacation, so expect to see us back in your inbox on Wednesday, July 15, and we’ll keep at it thereafter. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @lesbowen.
— Les Bowen (email@example.com)
Malcolm Jenkins tells grads ‘your voice matters’
Former Eagle Malcolm Jenkins (we’re gonna miss that dude) spoke to graduates during the School District of Philadelphia’s virtual graduation on Tuesday.
“I want you to think hard about your voice, and that your voice matters,” Jenkins told the grads. “Not only the Eagles, but Philly is known for its grit and determination.”
Jenkins credited leaders he met in the Philly community for leading him toward social justice activism.
“One of you could be our future mayor, the president of the city council, or the police commissioner,” Jenkins said. “That might seem far away, but what you can do now is register to vote, talk to your parents, or another trusted adult, and get involved, and use your voice.”
What you need to know about the Eagles
It’s a poignant moment here in the Early Birds nest, as we contemplate the publishing of the final installment of our 10-part positional review/preview series, this one on the safeties. We’re thinking of collecting the installments and making leather-bound versions available, so you can have something impressive-looking on the bookshelf in your Zoom background.
More about those NFL reopening protocols we discussed up top.
Mike Sielski talks about discussion and debate at a difficult time.
In the next-to-last installment of our positional review/preview series, Jeff McLane talks cornerbacking.
From the mailbag
Which two rookies are most likely to start? — @lordbourbon1, via Twitter.
Solid question, Lord. It is hard to say any rookie absolutely is going to start, given the team’s inability to get on the field as a group this offseason. Rookies are going to be very far behind. The most obvious answer is Jalen Reagor, drafted in the first round to address a pressing need at wide receiver. Even if it requires giving Reagor a limited route tree, I would think the team needs to find a way for him to make a substantial contribution in 2020. Management certainly didn’t bring in a bunch of dazzling, Pro Bowl-quality veterans to fill that need. Or any such vets.
After Reagor, I don’t think there are any real likely rookie starters. If I have to pick a second possibility, it would be linebacker Davion Taylor, the third-rounder, chosen for the team’s weakest defensive position. He certainly will get a chance to compete for a job. At safety, fourth-rounder K’Von Wallace is looking at a complex position and a steep learning curve, with Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills and probably Will Parks in front of him, but if there are injuries, who knows? Wallace comes with a reputation as a leader and a quick study.