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Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes: Ronald Darby makes good first impression

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Observations from Eagles practice.

Photo via @JohnBarchard of @BGN_Radio

Today marked the 16th day of 2017 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. Let’s get right to my notes.

PRACTICE NOTES

• Injury update: Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) was limited in practice yet again. The most he did was 7-on-7 drills. The following players were out: Fletcher Cox (back spasms), Brandon Brooks (ankle), Nick Foles (elbow), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee), Ron Brooks (hamstring) Wendell Smallwood (hamstring), Josh Andrews (hand), Anthony Denham (calf), Paul Turner (shoulder), and Bryce Treggs (calf). The following players returned to practice: Marcus Johnson (hamstring), Aaron Grymes (personal reasons). Torrey Smith, Chance Warmack, and Trey Burton also practiced despite getting banged up on Saturday. Beau Allen, who’s still on the NFI list, did some conditioning work off on a side field today. Foles was doing some light throwing before practice, which could means he’s close to returning.

• It didn’t take long for the Eagles to line up Ronald Darby with the first team defense at left cornerback. He took reps there in group install and then in team drills. Overall, I thought Darby had a nice first practice. He generally had good coverage and didn’t get beat. I only noticed two noteworthy catches that he allowed: 1) a good strike from Carson Wentz to Nelson Agholor over the middle. Agholor made the catch as he went to the ground. Darby was right there. Just a better throw and catch. Darby gave up a deep reception as he had tight coverage on Jeffery but Alshon may have gotten away with offensive pass interference on a push-off.

• The Eagles rotated their cornerback configuration today. Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson split time opposite of Darby. Robinson also split reps with Aaron Grymes as the first team nickel cornerback. Robinson has arguably played the best football of his career in the slot. While playing in the slot, Robinson had a nice pass breakup on a ball thrown to Hollins at the goal line.

• Carson Wentz didn’t have his sharpest practice today. The Jordan Matthews trade has suddenly made him bad, clearly. Nah. The issue wasn’t his receivers. Wentz just struggled with his accuracy today. Some passes were a little off target. He overthrew Zach Ertz on a pattern towards the sideline. He threw a ball over the middle to Mack Hollins that was a little too far out in front. Tay Glover-Wright broke up a Wentz pass in 3-on-3. Wentz threw two picks. The first one was thrown into the end zone and intercepted by Malcolm Jenkins. The second one was a fade pass that got underthrown and was easily picked off by Robinson. In fairness to Wentz, who didn’t look sharp, the defense stepped up today.

• Wentz did have a nice deep throw to Jeffery, who showed off his deep speed, in 3-on-3 drills. Mitchell White got burned on the play. Jeffery had another nice catch along the sideline a few plays later. I’ve been really impressed without how Jeffery uses such subtle movements to create separation. Think back to his big reception against the Eagles last season when he got Mills to bite on his double move. He seems to really catch defenders with his head fakes.

• Torrey Smith, Marcus Johnson, and Nelson Agholor were the first team receivers today. The former two were on the outside while the latter was in the slot.

Shelton Gibson took a first team rep (!) or two. He made a nice leaping catch in the end zone during red zone drills while working with the backups.

Corey Graham has practiced well since signing with the Eagles. Jim Schwartz went out of his way to praise the former Bills safety for how quick he’s picked up the defense. Graham had a pass breakup today and also popped Corey Clement on a run up the middle. The 32-year-old is lining up on the first team special teams kickoff coverage unit as well. He’ll make the team and have a role this year.

• Best catch of training camp: Matt McGloin threw a pass over the middle that was tipped (and almost picked) by Mychal Kendricks. Trey Burton tracked the ball off the tip, made a sweet one-handed catch, and started running down the field to salvage the play. The fans in attendance rewarded Burton with applause. Burton later made a good touchdown grab in the back of the end zone. Good day for him.

Rasul Douglas got beat by Hollins on a double move during red zone drills. Hollins was wide open.

• Nate Gerry got shook by LeGarrette Blount during a one-on-one matchup. Blount may be big but you can’t say he’s not crafty.

• Mychal Kendricks trying to cover Darren Sproles on a wheel route was as big of mismatch as you’d expect it to be. That play aside, I thought Kendricks had a nice practice. He broke up a few passes. Appropriate tweet:

• David Watford had a few nice grabs, including a deep reception on a pass thrown by Dane Evans. Jomal Wiltz got burned on the play. I know those might sound like a random collection of names you don’t really care about. But Watford’s performance had me thinking that there really hasn’t been a “bad” receiver in camp other than Gibson, who has mostly struggled. That’s part of why the Eagles felt comfortable making the Matthews trade.

• One-on-one blocking drill notes: Corey Clement did a real nice job of standing up Joe Walker. Encouraging sign since he’s struggled in pass protection. But then Clement got beat by Najee Goode later on. Terrence Brooks easily got by Burton. Jordan Hicks got around Darren Sproles, who’s pretty good in pass pro despite his size, pretty easily. That says a lot about how good Hicks has become at shedding blocks. Billy Brown stuffed Don Cherry. Byron Marshall didn’t st

Derek Barnett got the best of Dillon Gordon in his matchups with the Eagles’ backup left tackle. He’s just not easy to block off the edge. I’d really like to see the Eagles give him some first team snaps in the remaining preseason games.

• Caleb Sturgis was 8/10 on field goal attempts. He missed wide left from 48 and wide right from 41. Sturgis hasn’t had an awful camp but he hasn’t been perfect by any means.

Steven Means celebrated a “sack” after using a spin move to get to the quarterback.

• Alex McCalister did a nice job of not being fooled by a read-option. Instead of pursuing the running back, he stay disciplined for the “sack” on Evans.

• Adam Zaruba dropped a pass in one-on-one. I think he might be a better blocker than receiver.

• The Eagles already gave out Jordan Matthews’ No. 81 number to newly signed undrafted free agent receiver Keevan Lucas. Like Matthews, Lucas lined up in the slot (with the third team).

• Ron Brooks pulled off a sweet moonwalk as Billie Jean came on at practice today. That hamstring must not be too bad!

• The Eagles’ defensive backs dance more than any other position group on the team. Brooks and Sidney Jones are two of the most frequent dancers.

• Check out video of Eagles practice via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here or watch below).

LIVE FROM EAGLES TRAINING CAMP

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Sunday, August 13, 2017

• Check out video of Jim Schwartz’s press conference via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here or watch below).

EAGLES DC JIM SCHWARTZ talking for first time since Ronald Darby trade

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Sunday, August 13, 2017

Up next: The Eagles practice again tomorrow starting at 9:15 AM. Stay tuned to BGN for more coverage.