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Mike Groh, Jim Schwartz give updates ahead of the Eagles’ first preseason game

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The first preseason game is just days away and the coaches have a lot to keep an eye on.

Last week’s Hall of Fame game was enough to get me excited about the 2018 football season, but still clamoring for some actual Eagles plays to talk about. We are just three days away from getting to see the Super Bowl-winning team from Philly take the field and remind the Steelers exactly which team from the great state of Pennsylvania won the most-recent Lombardi Trophy.

Anyway, with just a few days until the first preseason game, the Eagles’ coordinators spoke after Monday’s practice about what they’re seeing out of some of the young guys and how the roster is starting to take shape.

OC Mike Groh

  • Nick Foles was not in pads on Monday, and was limited due to some upper body soreness — although no additional details were given, other than it was not related to his elbow injury from last season.
  • With Foles out — and Wentz still not participating in team drills — Nate Sudfeld continued to get a bulk of the reps at practice. Groh lauded the young QB’s “natural progression” and is specifically watching for Sudfeld to have command of the huddle and to see an efficient operation out of him in Thursday’s first preseason game.
  • Similarly, Groh was asked about Joe Callahan and his development since joining the Eagles roster. The OC noted that Callahan has been doing a good job with the opportunities he’s getting, and has been doing a good job in meetings and in picking up the system. He noted that Thursday’s preseason game is another good chance for Callahan to get some in-game experience under his belt.
  • Groh isn’t having a hard time adjusting from focusing on the wide receiver group over the offense as whole, and talked about his growing relationship and feeling of ease with the rest of the offensive groups as well.
  • He was asked about whether or not Isaac Seumalo would be named the center this season, but Groh emphasized that it was important to cross-train the entire offensive line at this point, but that Coach Stoutland has been doing a great job of getting them various experience. Seumalo though has the versatility needed to be successful as several different positions.
  • Groh also talked about Donnel Pumphrey, and said the running back has “put himself in a strong position to be competitive for a roster spot” this season. The OC said the biggest thing he’s looking for is to see how some of these young guys play in the games and in live competition. Groh also pointed out needing to see how they play with and without the ball in their hands, specifically how they’ve developed their pass protection since making the leap from college to the pros.

Jim Schwartz

  • Things opened with Schwartz asked about how the team was going to rotate the corners on Thursday, but Schwartz said that ultimately a Pederson question. The team does, however, plan to use different looks throughout all four of the preseason games to get a better idea of packages and to better asses some of the younger talent.
  • Schwartz on what Corey Graham brings to the roster, “Same thing he did last year. He’s a veteran player, smart player. He’s got some flexibility position-wise, and he’s a really good tackler too. I think that helped us last year.”
  • As the DC mentioned last week when he spoke to the media, one of the biggest things that the staff can gather from the preseason games is on the defense’s tackling. It’s something they aren’t able to get a lot of lives looks at during practice, so until they are in a game, there are things that need to be worked out.

“We see a lot of stuff from these guys on the field, but we have very few chances to tackle live. You want to see that, see guys finishing to the quarterback. I mean, it’s hard to rush in training camp when you’re not trying to hit the quarterback. You finish a rush by laying out and trying to knock the ball away or trying to power through, and we don’t do that in training camp. See those guys finish rushes, to see guys finish tackles.”

  • Schwartz was also asked about safety Tre Sullivan, but the DC noted “he’s had an outstanding camp”. He went on to point out that Sullivan is a young player and plays fast, but even with some work still to do, is at least trending in the right direction.