Position battles heat up as Eagles training camp winds down

Ed Benkin
August 12, 2019 - 7:01 pm
Philadelphia Eagles running back Josh Adams

Bill Streicher/USA Today Sports

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As the Eagles prepare for their second preseason game, several players are approaching a critical part of the summer.

The second preseason game in Jacksonville on Thursday will be a second chance for players to show off their skills in real game action. The last official day of training camp is Tuesday, and after Thursday's game, the players on the bubble will have only two weeks to make a strong impression.  

Running back Josh Adams is one of the players fighting for a roster spot. He said all he can do is execute to the best of his ability each day at practice.

"I'm just going out here every day and trying to get better," said Adams. "I have to prove, whatever I can, how I can best help the team, whether that's on the offensive side or on special teams.  

"The emphasis I am taking is trying to do everything I can to the best of my ability and let the other stuff take care of itself."

Offensive coordinator Mike Groh has the unenviable task of helping to decide which of his talented skill players stay and which will be sent packing. Adams led the Eagles in rushing last season, but the presence of Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, Darren Sproles, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood means Adams — or someone else — will likely have to be cut.  

Groh echoed Adams, saying players just have to come out to practice each day and work hard in order to help their chances on cutdown day.

"First of all, do his job, be assignment sound, and run the way that we know Josh is capable of running," Groh said. "Obviously, we are spreading the ball around right now, trying to evaluate everybody and make the most of his opportunities when he gets them." 

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The players are getting plenty of opportunities in practice. Coach Doug Pederson has ramped up the tempo throughout the past few weeks. Rookie wideout J.J. Arcega-Whiteside won't have to worry about missing the cut — he's a lock to make the team.

But the receiver understands how the practice tempo has made a difference in game action, both for the veterans and the players trying to keep their football dreams alive.

"We practice hard and we practice fast," said Arcega-Whiteside. "When you get to the game, it's slower. I saw that last Thursday. It was good."

As far as Adams, even a strong preseason may not be enough. Howard, Sanders and Sproles will make the team, and most believe Clement will also be back. The team may not carry more than four running backs, and Smallwood is making the case to be a fifth with another strong camp.  

However, Adams believes the competition is the best way to prove himself.

"There's always going to be competition," he added. "You had a lot of guys here last year in the running back room. The great thing about that is guys are able to compete with each other and make each other better. The great thing about our room is you have the best of the best and it gives you a chance to kind of test yourself."