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Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes: Energetic Eagles defense balls out

Philadelphia Eagles training camp practices notes from Thursday, July 31st, 2014.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Thursday was the fifth day of Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. There's a lot to talk about, so let's dive right in:

Practice Notes:

• Weather: Not really too bad outside.

• Quick injury update: Still no Riley Cooper (foot), Chris Polk (hamstring), Julian Vandervelde (back). Earl Wolff was suited up but wasn't seen active in team drills. More on this later.

• Former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst Michael Irvin was at Eagles practice. He was sporting a very fashionable purse over his right shoulder. I don't have a picture though. Sorry.

• Two CFL scouts attended practice and were keeping an eye on the Eagles offense. One of them was representing the Edmonton Eskimos.

• The Eagles kickers were very active on Thursday. Alex Henery and Carey Spear both looked good early on when it came to field goals. Kickoffs were pretty consistent as well. Henery made a 50 yarder at one point where it bounced off of the right upright and down onto the cross bar before going over. Certainly not the most graceful field goal I've seen. Later on, Henery absolutely shanked a 33 yard attempt. Not encouraging to see Henery miss a close one like that. Spear's last kick attempt came on the final play of practice. It was a 46 yard attempt that doinked off the right upright. Not the best way to end practice.

Nick Foles was mostly good but there were a few errors. During an Eagles seven on seven drill he hit one of the bug-wing defenders (picture here) for the first time in training camp. Or possibly ever. I don't remember him doing that last year in camp.

Foles also threw his second interception of training camp after throwing his first on Wednesday. This time it was a short pass over the middle. Just like the first interception, Foles had a receiver running a drag route and he threw behind him. Foles almost had a third training camp interception when Nolan Carroll dropped one in the end zone. Had Foles put a little more arc on his pass it could have been a touchdown but it was too flat.

Two of Foles' best throws came when his tight ends were involved. Foles threw an absolute dime to Zach Ertz on the sideline for a 15 yard gain at one point with Cary Williams in coverage. Williams had no chance because it was placed perfectly. Good route by Ertz as well. The play that stood out the most for Foles is when he threw a back shoulder to Brent Celek in the endzone for a touchdown. Brandon Graham was in coverage when Foles released and Celek stopped his route to make the catch. Beautiful.

• The Eagles defense balled out today, man. The secondary was especially impressive. Second year safety Earl Wolff wasn't kidding around when he said the Eagles defense is going to play with a lot more energy than last season. Nolan Carroll and Cary Williams were especially active breaking up passes and making life tough on the Eagles receivers.

• Speaking of active defenders, Brandon Boykin picked off a G.J. Kinne pass intended for Brad Smith. Prior to today Kinne was the Eagles only QB not to have thrown an interception. Poor G.J.

• With Wolff not participating in team drills, Chris Maragos took first team repetitions at safety next to Malcolm Jenkins. Now's a good time to remind you that Maragos recently told me the Eagles were the most feared team by the Seahawks in the playoffs last year.

• NFL referees attended Eagles camp today. There were a number of pass interference flags thrown because the Eagles defensive backs like to press and be physical. Bradley Fletcher and Carroll were flagged on consecutive plays at one point in a wide receiver versus cornerback one-on-one drill. Wide receiver Arrelious Benn was flagged for offensive pass interference at one point. Later in that drill Jeremy Maclin faked the heck out of Maragos on a route that got him wide open for an easy touchdown. Get your jokes out of the way now.

• I thought Brandon Boykin(g) looked pretty good as a kick returner. He returned one for at least 35 yards during practice. I'm really not sure how the Eagles KR/PR situation is going to play out but it'll be something to watch.

• Here's a lineman observation for you: the Eagles did a one-on-one offensive lineman versus defensive lineman drill and I thought Taylor Hart looked pretty impressive. Undrafted rookie free agent Karim Barton had his lunch eaten by fifth round draft pick Hart, who looked strong. Figuratively, at least.

Nate Allen dropped a Matt Barkley passed that hung in the air too long. Jimmy Kempski joked that Allen could have called fair catch on Barkley's pass. Allen really should have had that one. Barkley redeemed himself with a beauty of a pass to Damaris Johnson later in practice. Johnson ran a post and Barkley floated the pass over the defense and into the hands of a leaping Johnson. Johnson's had a rough camp but that was an impressive catch by him.

• Speaking of Jimmy Kempski... he's absolutely put a curse on second year running back Matthew Tucker. Kempski noted Tucker's catching ability earlier in the week but ever since then he's been Mr. Butterfingers. He dropped at least one pass on Thursday.

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]
July 31st - [Practice Report]
August 1st
August 3rd (Public Practice @ LFF)
August 4th
August 5th
August 6th
August 7th
August 10th (Public Practice @ Franklin Field)
August 11th
August 12th (@ New England Patriots)
August 13th (@ New England Patriots)
August 14th (@ New England Patriots)
August 17th*
August 18th*
August 19th*
August 20th*
August 23rd*
August 24th*
August 25th*
August 26th*
August 27th*

* = Media only allowed to watch the first 20 minutes of practice starting August 17th.

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