Shelton Gibson has been Eagles’ biggest training camp surprise so far

Swoop, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images)
Swoop, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Rich Schultz /Getty Images) /

Training camp is in full swing for the Eagles, and one of the biggest surprises has been the improvement of wide receiver Shelton Gibson.

Going into the 2018 season, no one really expected Shelton Gibson to make much of an impact for the Philadelphia Eagles. With players like Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins returning, along with the addition of speedster Mike Wallace, Gibson entered camp buried on the depth chart.

In all honesty, that may be exactly what he needed.

Let’s look back to 2017.

Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles /

Philadelphia Eagles

To say that 2017 was a forgettable season for Gibson would be an understatement. He really struggled in his first professional training camp which wreaked havoc on him mentally. He seemed to have fallen into the cycle of making mistakes and struggling to move on from them.

Anyone that’s played sports knows that if you allow what’s happening to get inside your head, things can go downhill really fast. Gibson needed the confidence and swagger that players get by falling into a rhythm and just playing the way they played since they were eight years old.

A compounding factor in this is that there actually was the opportunity for early playing time last year if he proved himself.

Remember, Nelson Agholor hadn’t officially broken out yet, and there were still questions about his ability, the same questions that people and fans were starting to have about Gibson as well.

The pressure of being a rookie that’s faced with the opportunity of early playing time can be a lot for a young player to handle.

Let’s flash forward to 2018.

2017 didn’t go the way that Gibson had planned, but the Eagles still saw the talent, so they added him to the practice squad.

Now, after a full year in an offseason program, studying the playbook, and gaining experience, Gibson looks like a brand new player. The following tweet by Elliott Shorr-Parks provides evidence of that:

Even head coach Doug Pederson praised his play during one of his press conferences. Pederson said that he thinks the confidence and experience has really helped him turn things around.

Confidence and experience are great things, but one of the biggest things that one could say has helped is the fact that there weren’t many expectations for Gibson. Now, this isn’t an insult or a knock on him as a player by any means, but, heading into this year, it was going to be an uphill battle to get on the field, especially if all of the four wide receivers previously mentioned stayed healthy.

Having no pressure on him has allowed Gibson to focus on himself as a player and really work on the little things to get better. Obviously, that’s paid off. If Gibson continues to show improvement and make those “wow” plays that he’s made so far in camp, he could be setting himself up for some significant playing time in the future.

Here’s the bottom Line

The turnaround that Gibson’s made has been remarkable to watch. Fans are finally starting to see his talent as a football player, but more importantly, they can see his makeup as a person. A lot of people would just hung their head and gotten so caught up mentally that they weren’t able to make progress.

Gibson showed that he’s the type of person who can fight through adversity, work his tail off, and focus on the things that can make him a better player. Judging by what he’s shown so far this year, fans should be excited for what is to come.