The Eagles' three-day mandatory minicamp started on Tuesday. Here are some observations and notes:
First, a qualifier: It's June, the players are running around in shorts, and the depth chart is written in erasable ink. So everything below should be taken with a fine grain of salt.
-- The Eagles continued to distribute repetitions evenly among their first, second and third teams -- essentially as they did during the open portions of OTAs. That has meant that quarterbacks Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and Carson Wentz have split snaps and will continue to do so over this week before the team breaks. Doug Pederson said the Chiefs under Andy Reid gave the starters more reps, which is typically how most teams do it. But Wentz changes the dynamic here and it will be interesting to see if Pederson maintains the same distribution during the early portion of training camp next month. The Eagles coach said he hasn't yet decided on how snaps will be divided.
-- Bradford had what appeared to be a strong practice. He didn't take many deep shots, but his short-to-intermediate throws were mostly on target. First the good: Bradford connected with Rueben Randle on a comeback route; he led Darren Sproles on a wheel route; he hit Trey Burton over the middle; he hooked up with Jordan Matthews on a seam route out of the slot; he tossed a beauty to Zach Ertz downfield; and he dropped a deep ball into the bucket of Josh Huff (who beat Leodis McKelvin) for a long touchdown. The bad (what little there was): Bradford threw high and wide of Nelson Agholor, who got caught in coverage; he didn't read a Malcolm Jenkins blitz, in which he would have gotten decked had he not been off limits; he threw too high of Ertz on a quick "out" that glanced off one of the tight end's hands.
-- Wentz had his struggles, but the raw talent was again clearly on display. He'll have plenty of days like this. Early on, the ball wasn't wobbling as much as it had during OTAs, but just as I made that observation to a nearby reporter, he fluttered a pass that was underthrown during the install period. Wentz has a cannon, but it can get him in trouble. Early during team drills, he fired a pass to Agholor from about 10 yards. The ball sailed through the receiver's outstretched hands, but a softer pass would have clearly sufficed. Wentz goes deep more often than the other quarterbacks. He flung a 50-yard strike to receiver Hunter Sharp at one point, but later heaved an underthrown pass up for grabs that safety Chris Maragos easily intercepted. Wentz sailed a few passes high to M.J. McFarland, but the tight end didn't seem to be on the same page as his quarterback. He later overshot T.J. Graham and threw behind Marcus Johnson. But Wentz flashed his athleticism again when he fielded a groundball snap and zinged a pass in one motion to Paul Turner over the middle. Impressive.
-- Fletcher Cox made his first appearance of the spring after missing the voluntary portion of the offseason. He issued a statement that he didn't want to talk about his contract situation and later declined a request to be interviewed. Pederson said Cox would be limited -- and he sure was. It's likely that the Eagles and Cox have an agreement that they would use him little during minicamp to avoid injury as a contract extension is worked out in return for his showing up. Sproles, however, wasn't limited after his absence this offseason. The running back looked his usual self during offensive and special teams drills.
-- The Eagles have done a little shifting with the depth chart during the open practices that I've attended, but the first-team defense and offense have remained essentially the same throughout. The starting defense: DE: Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry; DT: Bennie Logan, Mike Martin (Cox); LB: Jordan Hicks, Mychal Kendricks, Nigel Bradham; CB: McKelvin, Ron Brooks; S: Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod. The starting offense (occasionally tweaked because of formation): QB: Bradford; RB: Ryan Mathews; WR: Agholor, Matthews; Randle; TE: Brent Celek, Ertz; T: Jason Peters, Lane Johnson; G: Brandon Brooks, Allen Barbre; C: Jason Kelce.
-- Hicks (quadriceps spasm) was limited, but he did take part in some team drills. He said the injury came as a result of rehabbing on his shoulder and not being ready for the workload. Cornerbacks Nolan Carroll (ankle) and JaCorey Shepherd (knee) were still limited. Randle returned after missing two weeks because of gall bladder surgery. Pederson praised Randle (I'll have more on the former Giants receiver in my newspaper column). Defensive tackle Beau Allen is still being held out of team drills for some unknown reason. Kendricks left drills briefly after apparently dinging his shoulder, but he returned.
-- Matthews hasn't dropped a pass as far as I can tell during the open practices. He made a few great grabs on Tuesday – catching one ball thrown behind him and high-pointing another. … Huff had another drop. The deep ball wasn't perfectly placed, but it hit him in the hands and he couldn't hold on. … Eric Rowe caught an earful from defensive backs coach Cory Undlin after he missed an assignment. He later got beat on a pass underneath – he was playing way too soft – and got yanked. I'm not sure where Rowe stands as he enters his second season. One of the cornerback spots should be his to lose, but he apparently hasn't made a strong case yet. He could just be going through some growing pains as he learns a new defense. … Daniel's team perfectly executed a screen pass that took advantage of Jim Schwartz's aggressive front – namely, defensive end Marcus Smith. Screens and misdirection plays killed the Eagles' wide nine defense from 2011-12.