Today marked the second day of 2017 Eagles training camp practice. It wasn’t a full team practice because only quarterbacks, rookies, and selected veterans have reported so far. With that in mind, here’s what I observed.
• Newly signed rugby-player-turned-tight-end Adam Zaruba was not at practice despite officially signing with the Eagles on Monday. The Canadian can’t return to the team until he’s granted a work visa.
• The Eagles started off practice with some special teams drills. During one drill, one player was required to block a simulated gunner trying to tackle the punt returner (a dummy). Joe Walker did a nice job of blocking Derek Barnett in this drill. Rasul Douglas also did a good job; he totally flattened wide receiver Greg Ward. Defensive backs coach Cory Undlin saw Douglas do that and it got him fired up. Shelton Gibson didn’t look so hot in this drill. Mack Hollins earned praise from special teams coordinator Dave Fipp for his ability to shed a block.
• Greg Ward had another strong day of practice. No one-handed catches but he still caught everything thrown his way, including a deep over-the-shoulder reception on a pass thrown by Nick Foles. Ward ran a precise route that helped him find a soft spot in the zone coverage. Ward also made a tough contested catch at the goal line during a red zone drill. I’m not 100% sure that the ball didn’t touch the ground, but from my view it looked like he held on. Good hands.
• Carson Wentz’s first red zone throw went through the hands of a diving Mitchell White. He followed that up with a nice touchdown thrown to Marcus Johnson in the back corner of the end zone. Douglas trailed in coverage behind Johnson.
• Here’s an under-the-radar name to keep an eye on: Don Cherry. The former Villanova linebacker came up with two interceptions in practice. (Now that’s what I call “Cherry picking!”) Matt McGloin tried to look off the defense on fake screen before throwing a quick slant, but Cherry wasn’t fooled. He came up with the ball. Cherry’s second pick came on a tipped pass in the end zone. After practice, Jim Schwartz really praised Cherry (more on that later).
• Undrafted free agent tight end Billy Brown continues to impress. Haven’t seen him drop a pass yet. He stood out today with a nice over-the-shoulder sideline grab. Walker trailed in coverage behind him.
• UDFA S Tre Sullivan picked off UDFA QB Dane Evans on an overthrown deep ball intended for rookie WR Mack Hollins. Credit to Brown for hustling back and stripping the ball out of Sullivan’s grasps even though the rep was practically over.
• Corey Clement had a nice catch in the flat for a touchdown with Walker in coverage. On another rep, Walker covered Clement perfectly. Series tied.
• Walker recorded an interception on a play where Jomal Wiltz tipped a Foles pass thrown towards the goal line. The ball went high up in the air and a big group of defensive backs tried to jump for it. But Walker skied over everyone and came down with the jump ball. Nice athletic play.
• David Watford made a nice catch on a fade pass that was thrown behind him (by McGloin) in the end zone. Sullivan got beat in coverage.
• Ron Brooks had another strong day. Like I said yesterday, he should be looking good considering he’s a veteran player going up against young guys. Still, it’s nice to see there are no lingering effects of the quad injury he suffered last year. Brooks got a lot of playing time on the outside. He broke up a McGloin fade pass meant for Johnson and earned praise from Undlin.
• Eagles defensive line Chris Wilson was really getting in Derek Barnett’s face during one drill. Wilson stared down the rookie and yelled: “The confrontation has to happen sooner! SOONER!”
• Wentz and Foles seem really buddy-buddy. I’ve noticed them talking a lot off to the side when McGloin or Evans is throwing.
• Check out video from Eagles practice via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here or watch below).
Eagles training camp practice! Live from Day 2Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, July 25, 2017
• Also check video from Jim Schwartz’s post-practice press conference (click here or watch below).
Eagles DC Jim Schwartz is speaking now!Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, July 25, 2017
• Also check video from Carson Wentz’s post-practice press conference (click here or watch below).
EAGLES QB Carson Wentz speaking now!Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Up next: Right back at it tomorrow with another Eagles training camp practice starting at 8:50 AM ET. Stay tuned for more coverage.