Sunday was the seventh day of 2016 Eagles training camp practice. It was also the first day of open training camp practice at Lincoln Financial Field. Let's dive right in to my observations from today's session.
• Injury update: RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) and OG Brandon Brooks (hamstring) are still out. Doug Pederson said he expects them back near the end of this week. Rookie WR Marcus Johnson (quad) was out after leaving practice early yesterday. CB Nolan Carroll (ankle, cramps), WR Rueben Randle (cramps), and CB Ron Brooks (cramps) returned to practice after leaving early on Saturday.
• Fan attendance is way down. Last year's Sunday open practice had 43,000 people. This year, the number was 18,267.
Not a great day for Sam Bradford. He threw an interception on one play where he overthrew his target in the middle of the field. Jordan Hicks got his hands on the ball and tipped it up into the air. Rodney McLeod dove to make the pick. Bradford almost threw a few more interceptions. Nigel Bradham and Malcolm Jenkins both came close to picking Bradford on short throws. Bradford also overthrew a wide open Ertz on a corner route. Made me think of this ...
Sam Bradford overthrows an open Zach Ertz. Where have I seen that before? https://t.co/pY7H1rSTrL— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) July 31, 2016
To his credit, Bradford did throw a really nice deep ball to Jordan Matthews. The throw was right on the money to the outstretched arms of Matthews, allowing him to run into the end zone for the touchdown. Matthews beat Malcolm Jenkins and Leodis McKelvin on the play.
Overall, I feel like Bradford hasn't been as sharp this summer as we was last year. It's still early, but I find that odd because he's supposedly healthier now.
Chase Daniel had a good day. He connected with Chris Givens (more on that later) and Hunter Sharp in the end zone on separate plays for 50 yard touchdowns. He would have had a shot at another deep touchdown if his pass didn't go right through the hands of Josh Huff. Daniel did make one mistake: he got picked off by Eric Rowe on a throw over the middle into coverage.
Overall nice day for Carson Wentz. The rookie quarterback read the defense and found a soft spot in coverage where Hunter Sharp was open despite having three defenders in the area. He really rifled the ball in there to make it work. Later, Wentz connected on a similar play with Agholor for a 25 yard gain.
Some of Wentz's bad passes included an underthrow in the flat to his running back. He also had another pass broken up by his former North Dakota State teammate: C.J. Smith (more on him later).
Wentz doesn't take off running a lot during practice, but it's not because he's slow. Wentz totally tricked the defense when he faked a handoff to Byron Marshall and sprinted for a 10-15 yard gain before running out of bounds on the left sideline. He's fast. The crowd loved this play.
Eagles fans showed even more love for fans after practice was over. Fans on one side of the stadium were chanting "Carson!" over and over in hopes of luring him over to sign autographs. Fans on the other side of the stadium were yelling "We want Wentz!" over and over. Early preview of this upcoming season?
• FIGHT! Well, almost. Givens and Jalen Mills lined up for a rep, one-on-one. Mills went for a jam on Givens but got his hands too high and dislodged Givens' helmet. The players restarted the reps and this time Givens burned the rookie down the field for a touchdown. Givens immediately threw the ball at Mills. It him in the back, and then Mills threw it at Givens but the throw sailed high. Then they got in each others face a little bit. No punches or shoving, though. Yet.
• Mills was the burn victim on both of Daniel's deep touchdown passes, by the way.
• Cornerback talk:
Leodis McKelvin broke up a pass. He practices (and plays) with a lot of intensity.
Nolan Carroll broke up a deep pass intended for Josh Huff. Good sign for him considering he left practice early yesterday and is dealing with some soreness, per Doug Pederson.
JaCorey Shepherd got burned pretty badly by Huff at one point.
Undrafted rookie free agent C.J. Smith has stood out in a good way this summer. I liked what I saw out of him during the spring, too. Smith had a few pass breakups along with a leaping interception (while dragging his feet) in the end zone.
• Eagles rookie safety Blake Countess is also growing on me. After making a few nice plays in practice on Saturday, Countess broke up a pass near the line of scrimmage today. He also would have made a huge hit on Matthews, who caught a ball on a crossing route, if he was allowed to actually go through with the tackle. Countess could be the top safety off the bench behind starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.
• Nelson Agholor had a drop. He struggled with that in the spring, too, but he's been better overall in camp.
• Darren Sproles gashed the left side of the defense for a long run. Still so fast.
• Rueben Randle has stood out as a route-runner. He's been effective at getting open in the intermediate passing game.
• Zach Ertz dropped multiple passes. Not great. He redeemed himself a little bit later with a nice sliding catch over the middle from Daniel.
• Part of Hicks' responsibility as a MIKE linebacker is to lead the defensive huddle. He's very demonstrative in doing so.
• Left guard update: Allen Barbre did a good job of holding up in pass protection during OL vs. DL one-on-one. Rookie Isaac Seumalo had some struggles.
• The kicking competition still seems to slightly favor Caleb Sturgis. He was money on most, if not all, of his attempts, while Cody Parkey missed one or two.
• Earlier this week, I wrote that I haven't been impressed by the Eagles' undrafted free agent receivers. While that's still mostly true, Paul Turner has quietly made some nice catches in the past few days.
• Jon Dorenbos did a magic trick while the rest of the team was practicing in order to entertain the fans. He ripped up a napkin, crumpled it up, and put it in the hand of a kid. Then he unfolded it and it was completely whole again.
• The Eagles made some changes to the stadium tunnel. Chip Kelly's big "Habits Reflect The Mission" sign is gone. Some of the walls have been painted midnight green and there are new pictures hanging everywhere. Including this one of ... Marcus Smith?
• Jeffrey Lurie and Lane Johnson were talking after practice. Any guesses?
Up next: The Eagles practice again tomorrow morning back at the NovaCare Complex. Practice begins at 8:15 AM ET. Stay tuned for more coverage until then.