Today marked the 15th day of 2017 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. The Eagles wore pads for their third and final live tackling session of the summer. It was a long, humid, 2.5 hour practice. Let’s get right to my notes.
• Injury update: Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) continues to be a limited participant in practice. He took some reps in 7-on-7 but not 11-on-11. Brandon Brooks (ankle), Nick Foles (shoulder), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee), Ron Brooks (hamstring), Marcus Johnson (hamstring), Wendell Smallwood (hamstring), Josh Andrews (hand), Anthony Denham (calf), Paul Turner (shoulder), Bryce Treggs (calf), and Aaron Grymes (personal reasons) did not practice. Chance Warmack left practice early. Torrey Smith got banged up on a play near the end of practice but didn’t seem seriously injured.
• One other notable absence:
No Jordan Matthews here at Eagles practice today.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 12, 2017
• Ronald Darby couldn’t practice today because Matthews still needed to pass a physical with the Bills. He was at practice, though. Here’s proof.
Here's a picture of Ronald Darby here at Eagles practice today pic.twitter.com/09GC5HNYfJ— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 12, 2017
For real, though, Darby is the guy in the bucket hat talking to Ron Brooks and Sidney Jones in the background.
OK, enough of my unfunny jokes that no one cares about. Let’s get to the real notes!
• The starting wide receivers in group install: Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and Nelson Agholor. No surprise there. Agholor and Smith rotated in the slot, though the former was mainly there.
• The Eagles’ first team receivers looked a little different than the group I just mentioned. It was Mack Hollins on the outside due to Jeffery and Johnson not practicing in 11-on-11.
• Speaking of Hollins, the rookie wide receiver dropped the first pass thrown to him. This officially means the Eagles were very dumb to trade JMatt.
• Carson Wentz was OK today. He threw a nice deep pass to Torrey Smith, who burned Jalen Mills, for a touchdown. He also had several solid connections with Zach Ertz. One pass was a dart in the red zone to the big tight end. Corey Graham had coverage over the top of Ertz while Mills was playing underneath. The defensive backs looked like they knew exactly what was going to happen on the play but they couldn’t stop it anyway. Wentz gave Ertz a big high-five as they walked off the field.
Some of Wentz’s throws were a little off target today. He overthrew Smith at one point. Nothing egregiously bad, but just not the sharpest performance from him.
• Part of the reason Wentz didn’t look so great is because Jordan Hicks did. The third-year linebacker broke up a number of passes in practice today. He batted down a Wentz pass at the line of scrimmage that almost could have been a pick since he got both hands on it. Hicks also had a one-handed pick on a Matt McGloin throw into end zone. And he put a big hit on Hollins on a throw over the middle. Hollins was a little slow to get up and Lane Johnson picked him up off the ground.
• Hicks wasn’t the only linebacker who looked good in coverage. Kamu Grugier-Hill had a pick on Dane Evans.
• Hardly a shock: Fletcher Cox dominated his matchups with Chance Warmack
• LeGarrette Blount made a nice one-handed catch that was thrown above and behind his head while the defense was bearing down on him. I’ve said it before: he seems to have good hands for a guy who isn’t thought of as a pass catcher.
• Donnel Pumphrey fumbled on a run up the middle after Steven Daniels, who got cut after practice today, popped him real hard. Pumphrey fumbled in the preseason game and muffed a punt. Ball security has been an issue for the rookie. Not a great sign.
• Shelton Gibson made a few nice catches. One came on a play where it looked like C.J. Smith was either going to intercept it or knock it down but somehow he missed the ball. Gibson stayed focused and made the reception. I still doubt he makes the roster but he could be on the practice squad. Earlier in camp, I didn’t even think he’d make it there.
• Mills and Douglas both had nice pass breakups on short attempts thrown to Jeffery.
• C.J. Smith broke up a deep pass thrown by McGloin. The offense had a free play since a defender jumped offside. Nice awareness by Smith to make sure the offense didn’t take advantage.
• One-on-one blocking drill notes: Billy Brown failed to stop Rodney McLeod. Adam Zaruba put forth a really good effort blocking Najee Goode and earned praised from his fellow tight ends after stopping the linebacker. Zaruba pancaked Joe Walker earlier in a team drill. He’s still a long shot but those are encouraging signs. Want to know why Corey Clement probably won’t make the roster? He struggles in pass protection. He couldn’t handle a pass rush from Daniels (the guy who got cut today). Nate Gerry got stuffed by Trey Burton.
• The Eagles lined up Corey Graham at first team safety when Malcolm Jenkins moved down to play the slot. Jenkins was playing that role due to Ron Brooks being out.
• Destiny Vaeao got really good pressure up the middle on one play.
• Aaron Neary isn’t looking very good. He snapped a ball that rolled on the ground today. Neary struggled with snaps in the first preseason game and also was responsible for two false starts.
• It doesn’t seem like a good sign that Tyler Orlosky is being used at right guard when Neary is ahead of him and really struggling.
• Alex McCalister jumped into the backfield to record a tackle for loss. He’s flashed a little recently. I still think Steven Means is better, but McCalister is at least showing something.
• Miscellaneous mistakes: Hollins lined up on the wrong side of the formation and got yelled at by Ertz. Patrick Robinson dropped a pass during individual drills. Vinny Curry jumped offside at one point. Darren Sproles dropped a short checkdown. Mitchell White missed a bunch of tackles.
• Check out video of Eagles practice via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here or watch below).
LIVE from Eagles training camp practice!Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Saturday, August 12, 2017
• Check out video of Doug Pederson’s press conference via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here or watch below).
EAGLES coach Doug Pederson talking for the first time since the Jordan Matthews tradePosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Saturday, August 12, 2017
Up next: The Eagles practice again tomorrow starting at 9:15 AM. Stay tuned to BGN for more coverage.