Today marked the eighth day of 2018 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. Today’s session was on the lighter side after doing live tackling in two out of the last four days. Here’s what I observed.
• Daily Carson Wentz update: For the fifth practice in a row, Wentz did not participate in 11-on-11. With the Eagles not doing any kind of 1-on-1 or 7-on-7 drills, he really didn’t do much at all. Wentz being scaled back has caused some to worry the Eagles’ franchise quarterback has suffered some sort of setback. Doug Pederson continues to deny that’s the case. Rather, the explanation is that they feel good about what they saw out of him when he WAS doing 11-on-11s and he doesn’t have much more to prove by continuing to practice. The risk outweighs the reward for them. Call me naive but I believe they’re being cautious. I remain optimistic that Wentz WILL start in Week 1. He still has 33 days before the season opener is here.
• Injury updates: Zach Ertz didn’t practice but Pederson said it was just a rest day for the 27-year-old tight end. Richard Rodgers sat out with an “upper body injury.” Matt Jones still has a “lower body injury.” Josh Sweat missed practice with a “lower body injury.” Shelton Gibson missed practice with a very high upper body injury, also known as a concussion. Haloti Ngata returned to practice after having off on Thursday.
• Pederson talked about how today’s practice is one where both sides of the ball are trying to give each other certain looks. They’re not necessarily practicing stuff they’ll utilize as much as they’re trying to practice stuff they can prepare for. Good question asked by BGN’s own Benjamin Solak.
Q. During the two-minute drills, there was a lot of jet-motion, orbit-motion. Was there extra value getting that pre-step motion during those hurry-up plays?
DOUG PEDERSON: There are, but those were against our defense. Offense was kind of servicing the defense, and that’s what the defense wanted to see in that period. A practice like today is more about when the defense is up, our starters, the offense has a set of plays that the defense wants to get accomplished and vice versa. When the offense is working, we want to set up defensive plays to work against our offense and vice versa. They’re servicing each other. So, that was the situation that [Eagles defensive coordinator] Jim [Schwartz] wanted. A lot of jet sweeps in this league. Just want to be prepared for everything.
• Sidney Jones was back as the first team nickel corner today. That’s four days of him, three days of De’Vante Bausby, and one day of Jalen Mills so far. I still feel like I haven’t seen a ton out of Jones to make me feel strongly either way about how he looks. I haven’t been overwhelmed or underwhelmed ... just whelmed. I’m hoping that changes when we see him in game action.
• Nate Sudfeld had a nice accurate throw to a slanting Kamar Aiken on a RPO. Threw it into a tight window. Sudfeld also threw a bad pick to Chandon Sullivan in the end zone. He rebounded with back-to-back fade throws for touchdowns to Bryce Treggs and DeAndre Carter. I noted the other day that Sudfeld completed three of those fade passes in a red zone drill. He’s good at that throw.
• Joe Callahan overthrew Josh Perkins, who was running up the seam, by a mile. Then he had a red zone throw broken up by Rodney McLeod.
• Dallas Goedert was the beneficiary of Ertz and Rodgers missing practice. Lots of reps with the first team.
• Rasul Douglas broke up a red zone pass intended for Goedert. When he’s not getting burned deep down the field, Douglas always seems to be around the ball.
• Mack Hollins made a great contested jump ball catch in the front left corner of the end zone with Douglas playing him tight. Mack always seems to make the most of his targets.
• The Eagles were often utilizing the defensive line combination of Chris Long and Derek Barnett at defensive end with Fletcher Cox and Michael Bennett at defensive tackle. Pretty strong group. It’ll only get better when Brandon Graham is back.
• Bennett was absolutely terrorizing Toby Weathersby. Joe Ostman got the best of the rookie right tackle as well.
• Darren Sproles was getting work as the first team kick returner. It’ll be interesting to see if the new kickoff rules give the Eagles a new edge on returns. The thought of setting up this loaded Eagles offense with strong average starting field position is exciting.
• Sproles was also very active on offense. He’s definitely going to have a role this season.
• Still no fights, but we did have another little scuffle today. Bausby wasn’t digging undrafted rookie free agent Anthony Mahoungou blocking him after the whistle. Nothing too exciting.
• Strong day for Jake Elliott. The Eagles’ kicker nailed all of his field goal attempts, including one long attempt at the end of practice that allowed players to get out of having to go to meetings tonight. Elliott even recovered a surprise onside kick that went the full 10 yards it needed for him to be able to legally touch it. Pretty nifty.
• The Eagles’ kick return team wasn’t fooled by Elliott’s second and third surprise onside kick attempts. They recovered those ones.
• The Eagles ran some tempo stuff today. Chip Pederson. Doug Kelly.
• Ever wonder who the Eagles’ emergency long snapper is now that Brent Celek and Trey Burton are gone? Seems like it could be Mack Hollins, who has been seen long snapping before warmups start. I’m still curious who the Eagles’ emergency quarterback is ... assuming Greg Ward Jr. doesn’t make the roster.
• Cool little moment before practice. Malcolm Jenkins walked up behind an unsuspecting young fan wearing a black No. 27 jersey, patted him on the back, and said “Hey, I like that jersey!”
• I want to note here that I called the end of practice a few minutes before it happened. “As I can attest,” Solak said, doubting that I would actually include this useless information in my notes. Take that, Ben.
UP NEXT: The Eagles have off tomorrow. Then they return to practice on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s the first of two training camp sessions open to the public this summer. Hopefully you already managed to get your tickets for it.