Today marked the fourth day of 2017 Eagles training camp practice. Today also marked the first full team practice, though it was only a 10-10-10 session. [Click here] for more info on what that means. Let’s get right to my observations.
• Injury update: Jordan Matthews practiced after nearly missing the entire spring. He didn’t look hampered at all. After practice, Doug Pederson confirmed Matthews was a full go. Good sign. Jordan Hicks also participated in practice but not in a full capacity. The linebacker’s gloved right hand had some tape wrapped around it. Hicks said he could definitely play if the season started today but the Eagles are taking caution with him. Sidney Jones and Beau Allen obviously aren’t practicing after being placed on the active/non-football injury list. Former Canadian rugby player Adam Zaruba is still absent from practice while he tries to get a work visa.
• There was a funny moment during Eagles warmups today. I’ll have more on that in a separate post because I don’t want anyone to miss it. Very important. UPDATE: Click here to see what I was talking about.
• Noteworthy lineup stuff on offense: no major surprises with the first team unit but the Eagles did rotate their slot guy quite a bit. Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Zach Ertz, and Trey Burton all got looks there. LeGarrette Blount took the bulk of the first team carries in the backfield. First team offensive line: Jason Peters - Isaac Seumalo - Jason Kelce - Brandon Brooks - Lane Johnson. Second team offensive line: Dillon Gordon - Chance Warmack - Stefen Wisniewski - Josh Andrews - Halapoulivaati Vaitai. After practice, Pederson noted the development of Gordon and Big V helped the team feel comfortable about trading Allen Barbre.
• Noteworthy lineup stuff on defense: Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson are still the first team outside cornerbacks with Ron Brooks lining up in the slot. Rasul Douglas and C.J. Smith are the second team corners. Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham were the first team defensive ends while Derek Barnett and Chris Long were the backups. Najee Goode took some first team middle linebacker reps when the Eagles were holding Hicks out.
• Carson Wentz connected with Alshon Jeffery deep down the field for a touchdown. There was no defense on the field, of course, but it was still nice. Wentz lobbed up a pass down the field to Jeffery along the sideline and the wide receiver made the contested grab despite having Smith and Jaylen Watkins covering him. Jeffery is a beast. You have full confidence he’s going to make the play when you watch him. He sees the ball and he goes up and gets it. It’s that simple. He’s not letting anyone stop him.
• Jeffery is good in part because he puts the work in. During special teams drills, he’s not off to the side watching like some players. Instead, he finds someone on the staff to throw passes to him so he can work on catching. Jeffery was also working on the JUGS machine long after practice was over.
• BIG SCOOP: Donnie Jones walked up to BGN alumnus and PhillyVoice writer Jimmy Kempski (who was standing next to me) after a special teams drill. The two eventually got to talking about how there was a rumor on Twitter that Jones plans to retire. Jones didn’t just deny the rumor; he went as far to say he plans to play four more seasons. He just turned 37 this summer and he wants to retire after turning 40 years old. Long live Donnie Longball.
• Mack Hollins made a real nice catch on a pass thrown high by Foles. Hollins had his back to the ball and extended his arms high in the air to make the grab. Hollins has had a nice offseason.
• Matthews also came up with a good contested catch in the end zone. Foles lobbed the ball down the field for a jump ball opportunity and JMatt made the play against who I believe was undrafted free agent cornerback Randall Goforth.
• Agholor had a deep throw go through his hands as he made a diving attempt to get it. Not the easiest play to make, but the ball was catchable.
• Wendell Smallwood really impressed me on one rep where he lined up out wide and caught a contested pass on a curl route. I thought it was a receiver who made the play before I realized it was him.
• Barnett beat Big V around the edge for a “sack” on one play. Barnett looked good in spring practices so this doesn’t come as a surprise. The next step is for him to show up when the pads go on.
• Backup weakside linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill had some nice moments in practice. He totally sniffed out a screen meant and blew it up. He also forced a fumble on Ertz after the tight end caught a ball over the middle and started running up the field.
• Anthony Denham looked good earlier this offseason but struggled to catch the ball today. Undrafted rookie free agent Billy Brown, meanwhile, continues to impress. Brown might convince the Eagles to keep a fourth tight end. He just needs to show something as a blocker.
• The battle for the third safety spot isn’t close, in my view. Terrence Brooks picked up right where he left off in spring practices. He broke up some passes today and put himself in positions for big hits. The Eagles aren’t tackling yet, so he can’t follow through, but you can tell he could really light someone up.
• Donnel Pumphrey had a drop today. Season over. Just kidding, I haven’t really seen him do that too much.
• Gordon got flagged for a false start when there was no defense or noise to deal with. Not so nice.
• Brandon Graham broke the team huddle for one of the team’s warmup groups. Brent Celek was leading the other one.
• Check out video from Eagles practice via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here or watch below).
EAGLES!!! LIVE FROM TRAINING CAMPPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Thursday, July 27, 2017
• Also check video from Doug Pederson’s post-practice press conference (click here or watch below).
Eagles HC Doug Pederson talking after practice!Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Thursday, July 27, 2017
• Also check video from Jordan Matthew’s post-practice press conference (click here or watch below).
Jordan Matthews speaking nowPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Thursday, July 27, 2017
Up next: Back at it again tomorrow with practice beginning at 8:15 AM ET. That’s a little earlier than the 8:50 AM starts over the past few days. Stay tuned for more coverage.