Today marked the fourth day of 2018 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. The Eagles were in pads for the second day in a row. Here’s what I observed.
• Daily Carson Wentz update: The Eagles took it a little easier on Wentz today. He didn’t participate in 11-on-11 at all. This is an example of the team being cautious with him, for those of you who might suggest they’re “rushing” him. Wentz still took in part in 7-on-7 and all other passing drills. He didn’t have his best day today with a few picks thrown and some tipped passes. His conditioning might not be 100% still and, even if it is, it’s hard to blame him for being tired after a long and hot Saturday practice. One of Wentz’s highlights came when he aired it out deep to Mike Wallace, who burned Rasul Douglas, for a touchdown in WR vs. DB drills. Fans liked that one. So did Wallace, who spun the ball and then high fived some on-lookers.
• Injury updates: Doug Pederson said Brandon Brooks, who missed practice due to illness, is fine. Tight end Adam Zaruba was carted off the field at one point. Not good for him. I saw Josh Adams leave practice (while holding his hand?) and didn’t see him return. Aziz Shittu went inside the building after visiting the trainer’s tent but he eventually came back out to the field. Bryce Treggs (currently on the NFI list) is reportedly expected back at practice next week.
• De’Vante Bausby was back at first team nickel corner today. Through four days of camp, Sidney Jones and Bausby have each received two days as the starting slot guy. I don’t think either player has really created separation in that battle so far. With that said, I thought Bausby struggled a little in coverage at times today, especially in WR vs. DB. He got beat by Rashard Davis a couple times. Jones had a nice 1-on-1 rep where he broke up a short pass for Nelson Agholor but he also had one where he got flagged for defensive holding on Shelton Gibson.
• Speaking of Gibby, I’ve buried the lede! The second-year wide receiver made the play of the day. During an 11-on-11 drill, Nick Foles rolled to his right a little and chucked a pass deep down field into double coverage. An underthrow caused a jump ball situation but Gibson managed to come down with it despite being tightly covered by Malcolm Jenkins and Ronald Darby. Legitimately made me say “Wow” out loud (WOL). Impressive play by the young man who couldn’t even catch a cold last year. Gibson had some more good reps in 1-on-1. He also made a nice diving adjustment on an underthrow by Nate Sudfeld. The 2017 fifth-round pick also drew praise from Doug Pederson after practice. I’d say Gibson is in good position to be the Eagles’ fifth receiver (or sixth at worst).
• Another standout from today’s practice: rookie sixth-round pick Matt Pryor. The 6-7, 338-pound behemoth got to take some first team reps at right guard after Pederson kicked Chance Warmack out of the drill for committing a false start. Later in practice, I saw Pryor throw Michael Bennett (!) to the ground in offensive linemen versus defensive lineman drills. Then he got beat by Elijah Qualls, so he’s not perfect, but his progress thus far is intriguing. Pryor, who boasts guard/tackle versatility, might make one of Warmack or Isaac Seumalo expendable when it comes to shaping the 53-man roster.
• Nate Gerry took some first team WILL linebacker reps. He had a nice diving pass breakup during team drills. Then he got smoked by Darren Sproles in 2-on-2.
• Think I’ve already said this, but in case I didn’t ... Sproles looks healthy and spry as ever. No need to worry about him.
• Josh Sweat notched a pass deflection when he jumped up to knock down a Sudfeld throw at the line of scrimmage. Not a bad summer for the rookie defensive end.
• Sudfeld connected with Agholor on a deep bomb during 1-on-1. Nelly roasted Jenkins on the play.
• Tre Sullivan picked off Wentz in a 1-on-1 situation. The young safety made a nice basket catch while beating the receiver to the spot he should’ve been. During 7-on-7, Sullivan knocked down a deep Wentz pass.
• Jalen Mills covered Hollins so tight in 1-on-1 that Foles wasn’t even able to get a throw off. Locked down.
• Ronald Darby had suffocating coverage on Markus Wheaton during a 1-on-1 rep. He knocked the ball down at the catch point after the quarterback tried to fit it in. Strong day for Darby overall. It could’ve been even better if he didn’t drop a tipped Foles pass that came right to him. He was incredibly frustrated with himself after that one.
• Speaking of players who need to work on their hands ... Nigel Bradham dropped an interception on a Wentz throw. Bradham has acknowledged that he needs to get better at catching those. Bradham’s coverage skills were on display during another portion of practice when he stayed with Josh Adams on a wheel route and ultimately forced an incompletion.
• Rasul Douglas had an interception during team drills. It helped that Joe Callahan threw behind undrafted wide receiver Tim Wilson, who tipped the ball and allowed Douglas to make the play.
• Richard Rodgers had his most impressive day so far. The veteran tight end made a nice leaping catch over the middle of the field after beating Rodney McLeod in coverage. Then Sudfeld dropped a dime to Rodgers about 30 yards down the field. Rodgers isn’t overly spectacular for the most part but he seems like a safe bet as the third team end, especially considering the decent amount of first team reps he gets.
• Corey Clement had a real impressive run on 11-on-11. It’s hard to fully judge the running backs when they’re not able to be tackled but it’s not like he got bottled up near the line of scrimmage like some other guys. The Eagles are high on No. 30.
• Jay Ajayi dropped a short pass in 11-on-11.
• Dallas Goedert beat Jeremy Reaves on a crosser in 2-on-2. Goedert has been getting the best of the undrafted free agent safety all offseason long.
• Anthony Mahoungou logged a deep reception on a throw from Joe Callahan. There’s your lethal fourth preseason game connection.
• Kamu Grugier-Hill picked off Callahan in 2-on-2.
• Chandon Sullivan got beat deep by Agholor but a Wentz throw allowed him to recover and get an arm up to knock the ball down.
• Here’s a positive note on Jordan Hicks.
Speaking with several people in the Eagles building, LB Jordan Hicks has looked really impressive. He’s fully cleared coming off an Achilles last season. Injuries have been an issue, but he’s a playmaker. It would be huge for this defense to have him back for a full season— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) July 29, 2018
• The Eagles continue to experiment with lining Donnel Pumphrey out wide and throwing to him in group install (no defense). Haven’t seen this so much during team drills.
• Bennett made the loudest entrance to the practice field. He yelled out “GOOD MORNING!” to the kids watching Eagles fans exit the building to head to the field. He seems to bring a good energy to the team in addition to his on-field contributions.
• Jake Elliott went 4/6 on field goals during practice. One of the misses appeared to be from extra point range. Another miss was in the 40’s. Elliott’s been pretty good overall, but man, it looks like those short kicks still might be an issue for the kid.
• Mack Hollins led the huddle for the group of running back/wide receiver/tight end/defensive backs players who warmed up together. Nice to see Mack already taking a leadership role in Year 2.
• Kamar Aiken has dropped at least one pass in every day of practice so far. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he probably doesn’t make the team.
• Jenkins threw a football to a group of kids who were screaming the names of various players during team drills. The one kid who caught was holding onto that thing for dear life the rest of the practice.
• Here’s one thing that makes me laugh to myself: when defenders act like they would’ve absolutely lit a receiver up who made a catch near them. I mean, sometimes you can see this way true. But other times it seems entirely possibly the receiver could’ve put a move on them and they could’ve missed the tackle. It’s just funny to me how they act like that’d never happen.
Up next: No Eagles training camp practice tomorrow. The players have Monday off before returning to action on Tuesday. Pederson said there will be live tackling on the day the Birds resume drills. Tuesday’s practice starts at 9:15 AM ET.