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Eagles mailbag: RB workload; expectations for Dallas Goedert

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After what ended up being a pretty intense week of work, the Eagles are off today. 

They’ll be back for tomorrow night’s practice at the Linc. And they play their first preseason game in just five days. Can’t wait. 

Let’s get to the questions: 

This is a big question this summer. The Eagles have said Jay Ajayi is their lead back, but what does that really mean? To me, it means he’s going to be the guy to get the first crack to start games and he’ll get opportunities to run the ball first. But as much as Ajayi gets billed as a three-down back, Corey Clement and especially Darren Sproles are just more suited for third downs. I think they’ll end up splitting most of them. Really, that’s more interesting to me. Clement’s emergence came well after Sproles went down. I know some folks think Sproles won’t get many touches this year, but I think Doug Pederson is going to use him more than you think. 

We gotta call him Dallas Goedert. Sorry. It’s his name. 

Anyway, I think we’re going to see an immediate impact for the second-round pick. That’s saying a lot about him, because rookie tight ends sometimes struggle to make immediate impacts and Pederson’s offense is really demanding on tight ends. But what we’ve seen from Goedert so far is really impressive. 

Goedert looked great in the red zone this week, something I anticipated would be a big area for him. Think about it, he’s a big-bodied guy with great body control and hands. He’s made for the red zone. So while Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor draw focus from defenses, Goedert can make them pay. 

Don’t want to speculate too much, but this is pretty weird. I can’t think of something exactly like it, but it’s not uncommon for there to be some mystery surrounding an NFL player. I think the most likely case is his injury is more significant than originally reported. Think about it: He agreed to a drastic pay cut, which makes me think the other option was getting cut. That doesn’t happen if he’s healthy. I expect him to miss the first six games on the NFI and then we’ll see. 

Well, first, Jordan Hicks has looked really good in the first week of camp. If he’s healthy, it’s one of the more important developments of this training camp. He’s going to start next to Nigel Bradham and a WILL to be named later. It’ll be either Nate Gerry, Kamu Grugier-Hill or Corey Nelson. Gerry seems to be in the lead. Based on what I’ve seen this summer, the Eagles’ linebacker depth is better than I thought it was. With Gerry, KGH, Nelson and Joe Walker, I think they’ll be OK without Mychal Kendricks. 

Another big takeaway from training camp is that the top corners have looked really good. Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills have been great. I think it’ll be those two and Sidney Jones on the field this year. That leaves good depth with Rasul Douglas, De’Vante Bausby and rookie Avonte Maddox. They’re in a good position at corner. 

At safety, Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are the starters and Tre Sullivan is the third safety right now. Corey Graham is still on the street, so that’s still possible. Sullivan looks good though. 

Fair question. So far, nothing to be concerned about. They added some veterans but those guys are fitting in. Mike Wallace is a great and affable guy. Haloti Ngata is a respected veteran. And Michael Bennett is an odd guy, but brings a fun vibe to the locker room and on the field. He’s the one I wondered about, but all good. 

As far as work ethic, this has been a really intense training camp. Don’t get the sense anyone is resting after winning the Super Bowl. As a group, they’re still hungry. 

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