Friday was the fourth day of 2015 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. There's a lot to talk about, so let's dive right in.
• The Eagles wore pads for the second practice in a row.
• Quick injury update: Kiko Alonso (concussion), DeMarco Murray (illness), and Jerome Couplin (?) did not practice. More details here.
• The real action gets started with wide receivers versus defensive backs, one on one.
Sam Bradford targeted Jordan Matthews for a short pass over the middle but Malcolm Jenkins knocked it down. I've seen Bradford have that issue a couple times in spring and in camp.
Riley Cooper made a nice grab on a Tim Tebow pass that was thrown a little behind him. Or maybe that was intentionally a back shoulder throw? Can't really know for sure, but either way, the Florida Gators connection is still alive. Byron Maxwell was covering Cooper close on the play, but it was a good (or lucky?) pass by Tebow.
Matthews versus Malcolm Jenkins is one of my favorite matchups to watch. Those are two dudes are really love to compete, as cliche as that sounds. They really go at it and get physical. They each have their fair share of wins, too. Matthews caught a pass over Jenkins on Tuesday. Today, Jenkins broke up a few passes intended for him. And then Matthews got the best of him again. They really bring out the best in each other.
Matt Barkley threw a pass to no one in the dirt.
Tebow gets picked off by Nolan Carroll. Bad decision/throw. He tried to let the wide receiver fight for the ball but Carroll made the play. Good pick by the cornerback. Shortly after, Tebow hits Josh Huff on a really nice deep ball. Huff burned his defender to get open and made the play for a would-be touchdown. Then Tebow thew a pass that got picked off by Jenkins. The highs and lows of Tebow, everyone.
• General note: This could be anecdotal (I mean, most of this stuff is) but Bradford's wide receivers seem to drop a lot of his passes. One would know this by ever watching any of Bradford's tape with the Rams, but it's seemed to be an issue here so far as well. And it's weird because they're not bad passes. They're where they need to be. Maybe Bradford's wide receivers just hate him. Kidding, but something to watch moving forward.
• Eagles worked on the short passing game quite a bit today. Lots of swing passes and screens. Ryan Mathews, who took first teams reps since Murray sat out, dropped another pass today. That's his third one that I can remember through three practices. That's something that needs to be fixed.
• G.J. KINNE, the greatest wide receiver in NFL history, had a great hands catch while running towards the sideline on an out. Tebow's ball was just slightly out in front but he snagged it and managed to keep two feet in bounds. Really impressive play, especially for a guy who is new to the position.
• John Moffitt got some first team reps at right guard today when 11 on 11 opened up, which is new. Previously it's been Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner splitting time there. Moffitt will have a chance to earn the spot as well.
• Sam Bradford had the prettiest pass of the day. He hit Huff up the seam for a would-be touchdown with a cornerback trailing in coverage. Good catch by Huff, but the throw was perfect. Right on the hands. Beauty. The play drew noticeable excitement from fans attending Thursday's practice. On a side note: Huff has been way more active this summer than he was in the spring. Seems like a good sign.
• Eric Rowe worked with the first team defense at cornerback opposite of Byron Maxwell. This is the first time he's been there. Carroll, meanwhile, worked with the second team. Rowe looked OK. He had a good play during a red zone drill where Zach Ertz caught a pass short of the goal line. The Eagles don't allow tackling to the ground but Rowe gave Ertz a shoulder and knocked him to the ground, which got the defense excited. Boom. Rowe also had a bad play where one of the NFL referees attending threw a flag on him for pass interference while covering Huff. The ref came up to him after the play to explain what he did wrong.
• Mark Sanchez took a very few first team reps. But to put his first team reps in perspective, Raheem Mostert was the first team RB. So make of that what you will. Through four days, Bradford has still mostly worked with the starters and it's not even close. "Quarterback competition."
• Bradford's first seam pass was the best, but his second one wasn't too shabby either. He hit Brent Celek on this one. Bradford put the ball right on the money while the linebacker was in tight coverage. Only the tight end could get it, though.
• Sanchez was almost picked off by Emmanuel Acho on a short throw. The linebacker bumped Agholor aside as the ball was coming in. Unfortunately for Acho, he dropped the interception. Sanchez also had a tendency to throw passes towards his sideline targets way out of bounds today. He did that last year at times during camp as well. He's just not as good outside the numbers as he is on the inside.
• Bradford ran through a seven on seven series where he looked very sharp. His best throw was on a corner to Zach Ertz. Ertz was wide open after rookie Jordan Hicks lost him, so Bradford's throw didn't need to be perfect, but it still was.
• Randall Evans fell down while trying to cover Miles Austin. Not good. The veteran ran a good out route to shake the rookie lose.
• TEBOW TIME: The backup quarterback had a very nice series where he completed three tough passes in a row. The first was a a seam pass catch to newly signed receiver Mike Johnson. JaCorey Shepherd tried to fight for the ball in the air, but Johnson reeled it in. Then it was Quron Pratt who made a diving over the shoulder catch. Raheem Mostert caught the last ball on a wheel route. Great ball placement by Tebow to beat the defense.
The crowd really liked this series, by the one. Some people clapped. Tebow was PUMPED. He gave a fistpump after the drive was over.
• Red zone drills:
Bradford connected with Huff just short of the goal-line before finding Cooper on a screen pass for a TD. Then Bradford found a crossing Cooper again smack dab in the middle of the end zone for another score.
Nelson Agholor almost made a sick one-handed catch on a fade pass look easy but he lost control as he ran out of bounds.
• Ertz made one of the best catches in practice: the third year tight end leaped for a ball thrown a touch high by Sanchez. He grabbed it despite being tightly covered, got hit hard, and still held on.
• Here's a throwback to 2014 training camp: Sanchez hits Matthews on a 10 yard gain, Matthews runs the length of the field through the back of the end zone. The guy never stops hustling.
• QUARTERBACK RECAP: Pretty good day for Bradford. Not perfect, but an encouraging performance for sure. Sanchez is Sanchez, solid but unspectacular. Barkley didn't do all that much to impress. Tebow is up and down, but he was a little more up than down. Prior to Eagles training camp, I felt there was a pretty good chance that Tebow would make Philadelphia's final roster. My mind hasn't changed. I'm pretty confident he makes the team.
• List of Eagles players getting extra work in after practice includes, but is not limited to: TEBOW, Matthews, Agholor, Pratt, Rasheed Bailey, and newly signed wide receiver Josh Reece. Some video here:
• Big shout out to Prime Stache, Brent Celek's restaurant, who catered the media lunch for today's practice. This is the Stache Burger, and it was great:
Up next: Practice again tomorrow on Friday starting at 11:40 AM ET.