Watch the Eagles practice in training camp and one thing is abundantly clear: the offense is better than the defense.
“If this was last year I’d be a little concerned,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “But this year all of a sudden you, look at a receiving core and you have Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith — competition is going to get elevated a little bit and they’re going to make some plays.”
The Eagles made improving the offense and surrounding Carson Wentz with weapons priority No. 1 this offseason, adding the aforementioned Jeffery, Smith, LeGarrette Blount and others. And while they did make progress on improving the defense, there is a clear strength in practice day to day in South Philly on the offensive side.
There is a lot of time remaining between the Eagles’ seventh practice of the summer and the kickoff of the NFL season on September 10 and the defense will have a lot of time to catch up. Simply watching the practice field gives a biased look at where the team is at. On Tuesday, players took part in live tackling for the first time and of course, Wentz wore the red jersey and didn’t get hit.
Jenkins claims that several of Wentz’ most impressive plays down the field came after he would have gotten sacked and without being able to hit the quarterback “it makes things difficult.”
Wentz also takes the field after a full NFL season under his belt and is noticeably more accurate and comfortable under center. It’s a totally different task for Jenkins and the Eagles ‘D’.
“The competition is a lot better this tear,” Jenkins said. “Last year there’s not a day we stepped on the field and didn’t think we could dominate our receiving core. We still have the same feeling but it’s going to take a much bigger effort.”
Every morning the Eagles’ secondary is pitted against the likes of Jeffery, Smith, a rejuvenated Nelson Agholor and returning Jordan Matthews. For rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas, there’s no doubt it’s making him a better player.
“It’s good,” Douglas said of facing different wideouts every day. “You get different routes and they throw you off, they do different things and they’re good at what they do.”
“Some days it’s really good for the offense and some days it’s good for the defense,” Wentz said.
True, but he’s definitely had a few more good days than bad so far.