Today marked the fifth day of 2018 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. The Eagles were in pads and they began live tackling periods for the first time this summer. It was the most physical camp day so far. Here’s what I observed.
• Daily Carson Wentz update: Wentz didn’t participate in 11-on-11 for the second practice in a row. Not exactly surprising that he’d be sitting out on a day where there’s a lot of contact. And you can’t say the Eagles aren’t being cautious at all. Wentz still did 7-on-7 work and everything else. His best pass of the day was a deep bomb to Nelson Agholor, who burned Malcolm Jenkins down the field.
• Injury updates: Brandon Brooks returned to practice after missing Sunday’s session. Shelton Gibson left practice early after a collision in the middle of the field where his helmet popped off. He slowly walked into building with a trainer. Matt Jones also left practice early with what appeared to be a shoulder/arm injury. D.J. Killings sat out of practice but did some conditioning on an unused field. Same thing for Josh Adams, who expects to be back at practice tomorrow. Adam Zaruba, who got carted off the field on Sunday, was not at practice. Bryce Treggs was doing some light running on the sideline; he should be coming off the NFI list soon.
• It was hard not to notice Jordan Hicks today. The fourth-year linebacker is showing no signs of injury. Rather, he’s flying around the field and making plays. He notched a “sack” on Nick Foles at one point. Another rep involved him sticking Dallas Goedert in coverage and knocking the ball down as it arrived for the rookie tight end. Hicks also landed a big hit on Greg Ward Jr. after the receiver caught a short pass over the middle of the field. Having a healthy Hicks could be such a big boost for the Eagles’ defense in 2018. He’s a stud.
• Interestingly enough, Hicks continues to receive some reps at WILL with Joe Walker coming in to play MIKE in the Eagles’ base defense. I don’t think this is about the Eagles wanting to move Hicks outside, though, as much as it is them trying to get their three best linebackers on the field. If the Eagles feel Walker is better at MIKE than the WILL guys (Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Corey Nelson) are at their spot, they’ll just shift Hicks over and bring in Walker. I don’t think that’s how things are ultimately going to end up but this is the time of year to experiment with that stuff.
• Sidney Jones took first team nickel cornerback reps once again. Three days of him, two days of De’Vante Bausby so far. This was probably his best day so far. Jones had a nice pass breakup on a throw over the middle intended for Greg Ward Jr. Jones almost had another pass breakup while tightly covering Nelson Agholor in the flat but the wide receiver caught the bobbled ball. There were other times when Agholor was clearly getting the best of Jones, but in fairness, Agholor has proved to be a pretty tough cover in camp this year.
• With live tackling beginning today, Tuesday was a big test for Donnel Pumphrey. I’d say he passed. The second-year running back showed a good combination of shiftiness and power. He slipped out of a defender trying to tackle him near the line of scrimmage to pick up a decent gain on the ground. Then he showed some good wiggle on a screen play. Let’s hope he keeps building on his positive progress so far.
• Gibson was having a good practice before he got hurt. The 2017 fifth-round pick even saw some first team reps on the outside in place of Mike Wallace. In another example of how he’s improved from last year, Gibson made a nice hands-extended catch during 3-on-3.
• Keeping with the theme of reporting on the Eagles’ 2017 NFL Draft class, allow me to say Mack Hollins leaped up in the air to snag a 15-yard reception over the middle of the field. He immediately got drilled by two defenders but held on. #MackHollinsIsLiterallyUnstoppable. Hollins had a bad moment when he dropped a deep touchdown pass from Foles. Nice job of getting open against Jalen Mills but he bobbled the ball and Mills made it so that he couldn’t recover. Hollins scored a touchdown on a play where someone completely forgot to cover him.
• Now let’s move to 2017 undrafted free agent signing Tre Sullivan. The Division II Shepherd product logged a leaping pick on Wentz in 3 on 3. That’s the second time he’s intercepted a Wentz pass in the past couple days. Sullivan’s open field tackle on Corey Clement, who had gotten out in space on a screen play, was impressive. It looked like Clement was about to do some damage but Sullivan flew in and wrapped him up.
• The Eagles heavily rotate their backs so it doesn’t mean everything but I will note that Clement took the first running back rep when the Eagles began tackling to the ground. Nice hustle by Josh Sweat to tackle Clement along the sideline.
• Up and down day for Bausby. More good than bad, though, I think. Bausby broke up a pass on the play where Gibson got hurt. He also had a nice interception on a throw made by reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. (Benjamin Solak took a closer look at that play.) There were some other times where it looked like he was giving up plays in coverage. I still think he’s played his way on to the team so far.
• Joe Callahan had a bad throw intercepted by Chandon Sullivan in the end zone. The quarterback got too much air under the ball. If it was a real game, Sullivan would’ve been called for pass interference though because he shoved Anthony Mahoungou before making the play. Callahan came back later in 11-on-11 and made some really nice throws on the move. He seems like he’s pretty good at doing that. He completed one ball to Mahoungou in a tight window on a bench route. Then Callahan scrambled and completed a pass to Rashard Davis, who shook some defenders and took the ball down to the red zone for a big gain. The final play of practice was when Callahan rolled out to his left and threw to a tightly covered DeAndre Carter in the end zone for a touchdown. Good throw, good catch. (Although unfortunately Pederson called offensive holding on the play!) Callahan has a fighting chance to be the Eagles’ No. 3 quarterback if Foles gets traded.
• Michael Bennett got real fired up after making a run stop to bring up a “fourth down” in practice. “LET’S GO!” The guy certainly practices with emotion.
• Ronald Darby continued his strong summer with a pass breakup on a Foles throw to Zach Ertz.
• Rodney McLeod flew down and hit Ertz as the tight end was getting the ball to force an incompleton.
• Mike Wallace dropped a pass in 11-on-11.
• Kamu Grugier-Hill notched a leaping pass breakup on a Sudfeld throw during 7-on-7. He continues to look comfortable in coverage.
• Rasul Douglas had good coverage on Agholor in a red zone drill. Didn’t even allow Foles to get a throw off.
• Steven Means broke out his signature celebration after beating Halapoulivaati Vaitai for a “sack.”
• Joe Walker made a nice open field tackle on Goedert.
• Solak said he saw LaRoy Reynolds take at least one first team rep at SAM linebacker. I didn’t see it so it doesn’t count.
• Elijah Qualls stood out on one play with a nice run stuff.
• Wendell Smallwood started to stand out in camp last year when the pads went on. He had a nice run in the red zone today. Smallwood hasn’t been overly impressive but he hasn’t disappointed. I think he’ll have a shot to catch on with another team if he doesn’t stick here. On a completely different note, it’s dawning on me that I use the word “nice” way too often in these posts.
• Billy Brown made a nice sliding reception on a throw from Sudfeld. I don’t think he’s seriously challenging Richard Rodgers for the No. 3 job right now but he does appear to be the No. 4 tight end.
• Tight end Josh Perkins, who was inexplicably praised by Doug Pederson in an exclusive PhiladelphiaEagles.com interview, dropped a pass today.
• Markus Wheaton had a would-be deep touchdown completion go right through his hands during 3-on-3. Wheaton did do a nice job of getting open on an angle route where he shook De’Vante Bausby off him and made the catch.
• Another day, another dropped pass by Kamar Aiken.
• 1-on-1 offensive line versus defensive line notes: Matt Pryor stonewalls Qualls. Chance Warmack holds up against Aziz Shittu before then shoving him to the ground on the next rep. Bruce Hector shows nice bend to get around Jordan Mailata. Steven Means beats Mailata like a drum. Joe Ostman absolutely works Toby Weathersby.
• Here’s a note on Sudfeld from NFL insider Adam Caplan, who is very plugged in to the Eagles. I’m showing you this so you don’t think it’s just me irrationally hyping up #STUDFELD.
#Eagles #3 QB Nate Sudfeld, once again, with a very impressive practice. It's not a secret how good he was in practice last season, played well vs. Dallas, improvement this time around very clear. He's scheduled to be a restricted free agent after this season.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) July 31, 2018
• As I mentioned in a different post, former NFL offensive tackle and current NBC Sports Philadelphia analyst Barrett Brooks told me he saw some quality team drill reps from Jordan Mailata today. That’s encouraging. Mailata looked up and down to me during 1-on-1 OL vs. DL.
• I met Joe Callahan’s dad (Joe Callahan Sr.) today. Very nice guy. And I’m not just saying that because he reads Bleeding Green Nation! (Hey, Joe!) Mr. Callahan told me that some West Coast teams (Raiders and Chargers) were interested in his son this offseason but it was a no-brainer when the Eagles came in with an offer. Mr. Callahan also confirmed that his son has one more year of practice squad eligibility, which is good because I wasn’t sure on that. Mr. Callahan said the Eagles have legitimately great guys in their QB room. And that Aaron Rodgers was really cool and generous when his son was back playing for the Green Bay Packers. The memories of his son’s stint with the Cleveland Browns weren’t as fond.
• As Pederson walked out to the practice fields today, a man stopped him to introduce him to his young son. Pederson bent down and said “Hey there!” The little boy was shy and his dad tried to tell him “That’s Doug. He’s a Super Bowl winning head coach!” Pederson noticed the boy’s blue mouth and said “Hey! I see you got yourself some [Rita’s] Italian Ice already!” I say this a lot but Doug is such a dad.
• Check out some video of practice via the BGN Facebook page (or click here if you can’t see it):
EAGLES TRAINING CAMP PRACTICEPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, July 31, 2018
• Watch Jim Schwartz’s presser below (or click here if you can’t see it):
Eagles DC Jim Schwartz speaking nowPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, July 31, 2018
UP NEXT: The Birds are back at practice tomorrow starting at 9:15 AM ET. Stay tuned to Bleeding Green Nation, as always. We’ll never abandon you like some others will.