Wednesday was the ninth day of 2015 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. It's going so fast. There's a lot to talk about, so let's get right to it.
• The pads were on for today's session.
• Quick injury update: DeMeco Ryans (maintenance day) did not practice. Kiko Alonso (concussion) and Jerome Couplin (appendicitis) still aren't back. Zach Ertz got shaken up during practice for the second day in a row but didn't leave early. Mychal Kendricks seemed to be limited to some extent. DeMarco Murray worked with trainers during position drills before rejoining team drills later on. More to come on the injury situation in a separate post.
• Special teams to start practice. Cody Parkey didn't look extra sharp during a field goal drill. Jimmy Kempski had him down for 7/10 with three misses coming from 42 yards out. Distance hasn't been an issue; just direction.
• The Eagles did a drill where they worked on their tackling. One defender would hold up a single pad while another defender tried to run up to them, get low, and practice tackle form by running into them without completely knocking them over. This drill was funny at times because defensive backs would get matched up against defensive lineman. The 207 pound Byron Maxwell didn't move the 304 pound B.J. McBryde very far, for example. Conversely, it was funny to see Fletcher Cox essentially pick up the defensive backs like they were nothing. Seems like a good way to toughen up the DBs.
• Jordan Matthews trucked Walter Thurmond one on one at the line of scrimmage to get open for a catch. To Thurmond's credit, he did his best to get in good recover position trailing the wide receiver. Later, Thurmond broke up a Mark Sanchez pass intended for Jeff Maehl along the sideline.
• Randall Evans picked off a Tim Tebow pass that the quarterback left hanging in the air. Evans hasn't had a great camp but he's seemed to step up since the JaCorey Shepherd injury, which is convenient.
• Earl Wolff got beat one on one. Tebow had the pass, not sure about the wide receiver.
• Nelson Agholor ran a great comeback route to shake his defender and get open. The rookie's route running is really something to watch. He's just so fluid when he changes direction. It's like a nasty crossover in NBA. Just filthy and leaves the defender looking like they never even had a chance.
Agholor's hands are impressive, too. He really snags the ball out of the air. For example, he made a spectacular leaping effort in the end zone to pluck the ball and keep two feet in. The rookie's only bad moment on Wednesday came when he dropped a deep pass when he was open. Would have been a deep touchdown for sure.
• Josh Huff burned his defender to make a deep catch. He's been doing this often throughout camp. The second year pass catcher doesn't have problems getting behind defenders. He's really improved since last summer. He's making good plays instead of dropping passes. Don't sleep on Josh Huff.
• Denzel Rice fell down with covering Riley Cooper. Not good! Later, Rice batted down a deep Tebow pass intended for Seyi Ajirotutu. Redemption.
• Jordan Hicks dropped a Tebow interception. Not a great practice for Tebow. Too many mistakes.
• Lineup notes: Ryan Mathews was up first at running back in 11 on 11 before Murray replaced him shortly after. Miles Austin replaced Riley Cooper with the first team. This left the Eagles with Austin, Matthews, and Huff as the starting trio.
Andrew Gardner got the nod at first team right guard. That puts him in the lead for most days at right guard so far with three.
Trey Burton got some first team reps.
• DAILY SAM BRADFORD UPDATE: Another good day. Ho hum. He had one off series where some of his passes weren't on target and an interception was dropped by Byron Maxwell, but otherwise looked sharp.
His first great pass came on an anticipation throw to Matthews over the middle. Bradford led his wide receiver with the ball to put him in open space to get YAC after the catch.
Bradford hit Huff in the back of the end zone at one point for a touchdown. He made a similar throw on Sunday. He must like that option.
Bradford hit Huff running up the seam. Easy money. Perfect placement, good catch. Routine at this point.
One of Bradford's most impressive throws was on a short strike to Maehl. He put the ball juuuuust where the wide receiver could dive for it but the linebacker (Emmanuel Acho) could not knock it down. He's been great at fitting the ball into tight spaces.
Bradford's pocket presence is impressive. Now, you can say that about most quarterbacks (if not all) when they're not facing real pressure, but he doesn't panic. He looks calm and in control. The real test will obviously be seeing how he looks when he's taking shots.
• The Eagles ran a play where the ball was hiked to the quarterback in the shotgun, and then the quarterback immediately pitched it to the running back standing next to him. Looks weird.
• Eagles Shoulderpads Guy (Sean Young) was at practice but he wasn't wearing his shoulder pads. So maybe he was just Eagles Guy.
• Sanchez threw a pass to Ajirotutu along the sideline. As the ball was in the air, I full expected the pass to go out of bounds since Sanchez usually struggles with those throws. But it didn't! Good completion.
• E.J. Biggers had a pass breakup. He's had a few of those in camp. Chris Prosinski also made a diving effort to bat down a pass. Prosinski has quietly had a decent summer. He's picked off three passes so far. I've noticed him more than I've noticed Wolff.
• Sanchez forgot Sproles is only 5-6 at one point and threw a short pass way over the running back's head.
• After making a good play in Tuesday's practice, Marcus Smith showed up again on Wednesday. He used his power to drive back the right tackle (Matt Tobin) and would have lit up Tebow from behind if contact was allowed. Maybe the light is coming on for the 2014 first round pick.
Up next: Practice again tomorrow on Thursday starting around 11:40 AM ET.