Hopefully, for the Eagles, Tuesday morning wasn't a bad omen.
The NovaCare Complex was dark.
An alert message came through to reporters at 7:52 a.m. that practice had been moved up from 12:50 p.m. to 9 a.m. because of power issues at the complex.
It ended up working out because the Eagles were able to practice before temperatures soared into the mid-90s by the afternoon.
"Yeah, it's a lot like July and August for training camp when we have those eight o'clock training camp practices and get the guys out here a little bit early," head coach Doug Pederson said. "I appreciate the flexibility by the guys because they were all kind of expecting meetings and then an afternoon practice. But yeah, this was great to get out here and enjoy some of this cooler weather."
The power came back to the complex by the early afternoon, but by that time, the entire team was already in the process of relocating to Lincoln Financial Field for afternoon meetings.
To the practice observations:
They weren't the only returning players. The two draft picks from the University of Washington - Elijah Qualls and Sidney Jones - returned for the mandatory minicamp after being forced to stay away because of the stupid NFL rule that prohibits players from schools who operate on a quarters system from being with their NFL teams until graduation. For Qualls, he now has to catch up in an attempt to make the roster. For Jones, it meant a month away from Eagles' coaches and doctors.
"As athletes, as football players, they want to be involved," Pederson said. "They want to be here. But just being back now and being in the meeting room, and being around the guys, watching practice, this is where he gets a lot of his mental reps going forward. It's good to see him here, obviously, No. 1, and now it's just a matter of getting him caught up and learning the defense as fast as he can."
Nick Foles (family reasons) wasn't on the field Tuesday. The team brought in Tulsa QB Dane Evans and Villanova LB Austin Calitro on tryouts.
Jordan Matthews (knee) is still not practicing.
2. During the first portion of 11-on-11s Tuesday, the Eagles' defense came out with a defensive line that looked like this (from left to right): Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Tim Jernigan, Fletcher Cox.
The Eagles did this some last year, moving Curry inside and Cox outside. Cox had to deal with so many double-teams last year, it's probably not a bad idea to let him work on the outside here and there.
3. On the offensive line, Peters was at practice but didn't take part in the team portion. That meant Lane Johnson was at left tackle and Halapoulivaati Vaitai was at right tackle.
Isaac Seumalo and Allen Barbre continue to split first-team reps at left guard. It appears there's a true position battle brewing, but Pederson made it seem like Barbre still has the job.
"Yeah, right now, I want to get Isaac as much as possible to get him ready and get him starter reps," he said. "Then at the same time with Allen, it's the same thing. Allen is another one of those guys that's kind of in that Jason Peters mold a little bit, as far as knowing what he can do and [our comfort level] in his ability. You know, we just wanted to get [Barbre] to camp and get him to the regular season."
4. The Eagles' offense started practice Tuesday with Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey on the field together in what the team calls its "Pony set." How much will they actually use it this year? That remains to be seen.
In addition to Sproles and Pumphrey's set, the Eagles' offense was using motions a lot in the first minicamp practice. It seems like Pederson has really been opening up the playbook some more.
5. Carson Wentz had another up-and-down day but hit Alshon Jeffery on a beautiful little curl route that was a pure timing play. It didn't look like Jeffery was his first read, but Wentz went back to Jeffery, who found a little space between three defenders (Rodney McLeod, C.J. Smith and Nigel Bradham). It was a perfect timing play between the two, but it's still a work in progress. A little while later, on an off-schedule play, Wentz roamed right and tried to motion to Jeffery to break deep, but Jeffery reacted too late.
For the most part, the defense won the day again. Several "sacks" during the team portion.
6. One of the biggest plays of the day came on a deep pass (maybe 50 yards) from Wentz to second-year receiver Marcus Johnson. Johnson ran a deep post and got behind Rasul Douglas, who couldn't catch up.
That might be the biggest knock on Douglas. While he has a big body, length and ball skills, his straight-line speed has been questioned in the past. This play Tuesday showed what might be a problem in the future.
7. The nicest play of the day came from another second-year receiver, Bryce Treggs. Treggs, largely forgotten this offseason, was covered really tight by Jaylen Watkins. Somehow the ball seemingly went through Watkins and Treggs made a tremendous catch falling to the ground.
How did he catch it?
"Concentration," he said.
8. Jalen Mills made the defensive play of the day. He was covering rookie Mack Hollins tight. He baited the quarterback into throwing his way, jumped the route and took it the other way for six.
9. Two unsung guys in the secondary who have had impressive springs: S Terrence Brooks and CB Aaron Grymes. Grymes might have a serious chance of making the roster and should have a chance to play some in the slot. These two guys combined to break up three passes that would have otherwise been caught by Trey Burton.
After Brooks' last breakup on a pass to Burton, the safety walked away saying "Hell nah, boy!"
10. For the first time this spring, I saw Pumphrey struggle just a little. He dropped two passes that weren't perfect but were probably catchable. While Pumphrey has looked so smooth in the passing game, it's easy to forget that wasn't his primary role at San Diego State. In college, he never had a season with more than 27 receptions. Pass catching out of the backfield and in the slot will be a big part of his role with the Eagles.
Sidewalk update: Rashaun Sligh, the 24-year-old football players, who has been standing across the street from the facility waiting for an opportunity to work out with the Eagles, is still there.
Tuesday was the fifth day he stood outside waiting for someone to let him into the facility to work out. He arrives early in the morning and stays until the parking lot empties.
On Monday morning, Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman stopped for a chat but didn't give him the invite in. On Monday night, Sligh met Malcolm Jenkins. And on Tuesday, he met Vince Papale, who famously made the team after a tryout in the 70s.
Stupid Observation of the Day: Defensive line coach Chris Wilson, who seems like a perfectly jolly gentleman off the field, got mad at one of his linemen Tuesday and shouted, "This is not the [expletive] NBA." Not sure what he meant by that. Maybe he's a Cavaliers fan.