Wednesday was the fourth day of Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice after the team had off on Tuesday. There's a lot to talk about, so let's dive right in:
• Weather: Not really too bad outside.
• Quick injury update: Julian Vandervelde (back), Riley Cooper (foot), Chris Polk (hamstring) did not practice. Bennie Logan (hamstring) did return to practice.
• The Eagles wore full pads today, just like they did during their open practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday.
• One of the rule changes the NFL made this year involved increasing the height of the uprights. Here's a picture of what they look like. The black stripes are where the old height used to be.
Here's a look at the extended NFL uprights. Black line is how tall they used to be. pic.twitter.com/ei2h0WjEUk— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) July 30, 2014
• Short, simple video to watch. Here's one of the Eagles OL.
• Possibly THE most important training camp update right here.
The first interception of Eagles 2014 training camp! It's Malcolm Jenkins who picks off Mark Sanchez in a 3 on 2 drill. It wasn't a terrible throw from Sanchez but Jenkins jumped the route and made the play. Easily would have been in a pick six in a real game. I think Sanchez was targeting either Brent Celek or Zach Ertz, but I'm not 100% sure.
Not too long after Jenkins picked off Sanchez, fellow Eagles backup quarterback Matt Barkley threw his first interception of training camp. Barkley lofted one to Josh Huff down the sideline. Again, far from a terrible pass, but Williams out battled Huff for position on the ball. Williams was fired up after the play.
The third interception came in a redzone drill where Sanchez was picked off by Brandon Boykin. Sanchez was targeting Benn. This is only the first of many interceptions to come for Boykin.
Interception number four -- that's right, four interceptions in one day after three training camp practices with NONE -- came on a Nick Foles pass intended for Darren Sproles. Jenkins was playing Sproles tight and made the play for another would-be pick six.
• Now's a good time to mention that Malcolm Jenkins has had a really good training camp, and I'm not just saying that because he had two interceptions today. He's been a nuisance in coverage having recorded a number of pass deflections. As I pointed out above, he's being used to cover multiple positions: running backs, tight ends, wide receivers. Jenkins has definitely been impressive.
• Nick Foles wasn't exceptionally sharp on Tuesday. Along with the interception to Jenkins he also threw a pass behind a WR over the middle of the field that was dropped by Earl Wolff. One positive about Foles is that he looks less awkward this year on the QB keeper off of the read option.
• Speaking of Wolff, the second year safety ran with the first team group today. He previously had been running with the second team. Wolff's playing has certainly been encouraging in camp but at the same time it's best not to read into these things too much. For example, Najee Goode was taking reps with the first team in place of DeMeco Ryans at one point. The Eagles like Goode but it doesn't seem likely he would start over a healthy Ryans. There are other examples of the Eagles rotating players in and out.
• On the first play of 11 on 11s Zach Ertz lined out wide and Jeremy Maclin was in the slot. It ended up being a running play but I wouldn't be surprised to see that quite a bit this year. Ertz lined up wide again a number of times in practice, including a play where Foles threw him a nice back shoulder pass. The ball landed incomplete but that could be a great weapon if Foles and Ertz master that play.
• I'm already several bullet points into this post and I haven't mentioned The Best Wide Receiver in NFL History: rookie pass catcher Jordan Matthews. Apologies. Joking aside, Matthews was awesome. It felt like Mark Sanchez wasn't even throwing to any other second team receivers... and that's mostly because it was true. Matthews did a great job of working the middle of the field and getting open. Matthews is a monster with yards after the catch because of how hard he runs once he gets the ball.
In a one-on-one WR/CB drill, Matthews dominated his competition. Safety Earl Wolff had no chance on a play where Matthews ran a crisp route to create space for a Foles throw. Matthews caught the ball over his shoulder with ease. Soon after his touchdown catch, Matthews outmuscled backup safety Chris Maragos for a tough catch over the middle.
The most impressive Matthews play came on a diving catch from a Sanchez pass. The Eagles defensive backs standing on the sideline behind Nolan Carroll, who was covering Matthews, thought Carroll had made the diving interception. Matthews got to it first though and then got up to run down the field. That quickly quieted the Eagles DBs.
Matthews finished a dominant day by making two toughly contested catches in the red zone. I wasn't sure who was in coverage because the Eagles were practicing all the way at the opposite side of the field... but Matthews was clearly impressive. The first pass was thrown nice and high just to where he could get it and he snagged it with ease.
I'm just going to leave this here.
Based on his training camp performance today I really don’t think it’s too soon to say Jordan Matthews is the best WR in NFL history.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) July 30, 2014
• I haven't written a lot about Darren Sproles yet and that needs to change. Sproles was effective on red zone runs to the outside and he looked very dangerous as a receiver in the short passing game.
• Along with the four interceptions today there were some nice pass break ups. Cary Williams swatted down a tipped ball in the endzone intended for Jeremy Maclin. Marcus Smith II knocked down a Sanchez pass at the line of scrimmage. Damion Square knocked down a Nick Foles pass.
• Daily JUGS update: almost every Eagles WR was getting in extra work after practice. Riley Cooper and Chris Polk, who both missed practice, were among those players. Video:
Up next: Right back at it tomorrow with another practice. Same time, same place.
Remaining Eagles training camp schedule:
July 26 - [Practice Report]
July 27 - [Practice Report]
July 28th (Public Practice at @ LFF) - [Practice Report]
July 30th - [Practice Report]
August 3rd (Public Practice @ LFF)
August 10th (Public Practice @ Franklin Field)
August 12th (@ New England Patriots)
August 13th (@ New England Patriots)
August 14th (@ New England Patriots)
* = Media only allowed to watch the first 20 minutes of practice starting August 17th.