Today marked the 10th day of 2017 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. The Eagles were wearing pads on for their second live tackling session of the summer. Let’s get right to my notes.
• Injury updates: Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) is still out. ESPN’s Tim McManus says: “There doesn't seem to be a great deal of concern surrounding Alshon Jeffery's shoulder injury. One source suggested he could get some work Friday.” LeGarrette Blount missed a third day in a row due to personal reasons. Nick Foles (elbow), Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring), and Josh Andrews (hand) are still out. The perpetually-injured Mychal Kendricks (quad) is a new addition to today’s list. Paul Turner (shoulder) also missed practice today. Elijah Qualls (groin) and Alex McCalister (hamstring) returned to practice.
• Another strong day for Carson Wentz. The second-year quarterback has had a very good camp overall. One thing I’ve really been impressed with is his deep ball accuracy. There was a ridiculous knock on Wentz’s inability to throw the ball down the field last year (see: AIR YARDS). Anyone who actually watched the games and understood the Eagles’ awful wide receiver situation realized that he didn’t have any legitimate deep options to target. Now that Wentz has some of those, he predictably looks a lot more capable pushing the ball down the field. Today he connected with Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith for multiple deep touchdowns. The ball was always right on the money.
• The final play of Thursday’s practice featured Agholor burning Rasul Douglas for a score. The entire offense celebrated the touchdown by lining up like bowling pins in the end zone. Agholor then rolled the ball at the players and they all fell down. Nice to see the Birds are working on their touchdown celebrations in camp.
• Agholor continues to look legitimately good. He’s not dropping the ball nearly as often as he did in the past. He’s running sharp routes and looking quick when he cuts. He’s also shown the ability to burn defenders on numerous occasions. We still have to see him prove it in real game action. For now, there’s reason to believe he might actually be a worthwhile receiving option in the passing game.
• The Eagles worked on a lot of running plays today. There was a good mix of successful runs from the offense and run stuffs from the defense.
• Wendell Smallwood has been making the most of Blount’s absence. He’s running hard in these practices. I don’t think Smallwood is anything special but I think he can at least be an effective player.
• Nigel Bradham stuffed the crap out of Darren Sproles on one run up the middle. The impact was very loud and the defense got really fired up after that play. Sproles didn’t actually fall down but the play would have been whistled dead in a real game.
• Random running drill notes: Tim Jernigan yelled “LET’S GO!” after stuffing a number of run plays. Kamu Grugier-Hill stuffed Byron Marshall in the backfield. Steven Daniels came off the edge unblocked to tackle Smallwood for a loss.
• Nate Gerry took some first team weakside linebacker reps with Kendricks missing practice. Jim Schwartz previously talked about wanting to see how Gerry fares in the run game as he transitions from safety to linebacker.
• Jalen Mills was up and down. He had a nice hit on Jordan Matthews immediately after the receiver made a short catch. Mills later got burned by Agholor for a deep touchdown. The second-year defender also whiffed on a tackle attempt on Burton. Mills failed to get low and Burton shrugged off the corner before turning up field for extra yards.
• Bryce Treggs caught a pass from Dane Evans on a slant and took it to the house. Poor tackling efforts from the defense allowed him to slip by and outrun everyone. Treggs hasn’t had a bad offseason. I don’t think he’ll make the final roster but another team could claim him on waivers.
• Zach Ertz caught a really nice fade pass from Wentz during a red zone session.
• Billy Brown had a rare drop in the end zone on a jump ball play he should have been able to make. Credit to Don Cherry for doing his best to make it tough on the rookie.
• Joe Walker stuffed Marshall to give the Eagles a good stop at the goal line.
• Fletcher Cox beat Darrell Greene like a drum to record a “sack.”
• Ron Brooks has a nice open field tackle on Jordan Matthews.
• Offensive line versus defensive line one-on-one notes: Isaac Seumalo got the best of Tim Jernigan during their matchup. They’ve have a lot of good battles this offseason. After practice, Reich talked about how Seumalo has benefited from going up against a tough challenger like Jernigan. Iron sharpens iron, as Doug Pederson likes to say. Jason Kelce and Chance Warmack did a good job of blocking two defenders (didn’t see who). Warmack generally looked good in this drill. Derek Barnett used his bend to get around a blocker.
• Tempers flared at practice today. Jason Kelce and Rodney McLeod got into a scuffle during red zone drills. Aaron Grymes yelled at Matthews for grabbing his face mask and JMatt pointed at him and shouted back.
• Terrence Brooks practices with attitude. The 5-11, 200 pound safety got into a shoving match and exchanged some words with the 6-4, 235 pound Anthony Denham following a rep in one-on-one pass protection drills. Later in practice, Brooks popped Corey Clement after the rookie ran up the middle. The play was pretty much over, so the hit was unnecessary. Jim Schwartz deemed as much and pulled Brooks from the drill.
• More from that one-on-one pass pro drill: To no surprise, Nate Gerry got around Adam Zaruba real easily. Zaruba isn’t used to blocking due to his rugby background. Billy Brown blocked Kamu Grugier-Hill really well. He didn’t give up any ground and actually pancaked the linebacker at one point. Darren Sproles stood up Steven Daniels despite the fact the latter is five inches taller and 55 pounds heavier. Byron Marshall got pushed back real easy. Joe Walker bullrushed Corey Clement and the running back didn’t stand a chance. After practice, Frank Reich admitted Clement’s pass protection needs work.
• Darren Sproles threw a touchdown to Trey Burton after catching the ball on a toss. There was no defense because it was just group install but the offense celebrated like the play happened in a real game. Funny. The Eagles ran this Sproles play at least once during spring drills. I’d love to see the reaction to Sproles throwing a TD in a real game.
• Some more interesting notes from install: Halapoulivaati Vaitai lined up as tackle-eligible in the red zone and Wentz threw a touchdown to him. Big V doesn’t have bad hands for a big dude. The Eagles also ran a bunch of looks with Dillon Gordon as the goal line fullback. He did more than just “block” on these plays; the college tight end caught two touchdowns.
• Jordan Hicks fully participated in tackling drills despite breaking his pinky earlier this summer.
• Shelton Gibson dropped at least one pass today.
• Both Mack Hollins and Marcus Johnson stood out during a punt coverage drill where they were required to either be the gunner (the guy on the outside of the field who tries to run down and tackle the punt returner) or the jammer (the guy who has to block the gunner). They consistently shed blocks to get down the field. They also did a good job of jamming.
• Jeffery didn’t practice but he spent part of practice working with a trainer on a side field. He also played catch with his fellow wide receivers on the sideline. Seems to be fine.
• Nice observation here:
• Check out video from Eagles practice via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page (click here or watch below).
EAGLES PRACTICE! Second day of live tacklingPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Thursday, August 3, 2017
Up next: The Eagles have a light 10-10-10 practice tomorrow starting at 9:05 AM. Stay tuned here to Bleeding Green Nation for more coverage.