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15 observations from Eagles training camp practice

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Here’s we what learned today.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles-Minicamp Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Today marked the sixth 2019 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. It was a lighter day since it was a 10-10-10 session. Read on to see what I observed!

PRACTICE NOTES

CARSON WENTZ UPDATE: The first team didn’t get as much work as they would in a standard practice so today was a bit of a break for Wentz’s arm. Wentz did connect with Alshon Jeffery a couple times, which is encouraging. Wentz threw a touchdown pass to Jeffery in the front right corner of the end zone during red zone drills. Wentz hit Jeffery again in stride over the middle for a 35-plus yard gain. Improved timing between those two. Nelson Agholor dropped what would’ve been an impressive diving catch on a Wentz pass.

EAGLES INJURY UPDATE: The Eagles gave Jason Kelce, who turns 32 in November, a rest day. Same for the 37-year-old Jason Peters. Mack Hollins and Paul Worrilow missed another practice.

Andre Dillard took first team left tackle reps with Peters resting. He looked good. Dillard showed explosive quickness out of his stance to stifle Josh Sweat.

Kelce’s absence meant Isaac Seumalo took first team center reps with Stefen Wisniewski filling in at left guard. It goes without saying that an interior trio of Wis, Seumalo, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai is a significant drop off from Seumalo, Kelce, and Brandon Brooks.

Joshua Perkins, Tre Sullivan, L.J. Fort, and Andrew Sendejo and are roster bubble players who notably line up on the first team special teams coverage/return units.

Perkins making the team as a fourth tight end makes some sense if the Eagles are truly going to be running a lot of 12 personnel (two tight ends) ... and maybe even some 13 personnel (three tight ends).

Sullivan took first team reps as the third safety with the Eagles often utilizing their big nickel package today. Sullivan was playing on the back end of the defense with Malcolm Jenkins and Sendejo both in the box. Avonte Maddox and Rasul Douglas were the outside cornerbacks in this situation so that left Sidney Jones on the sideline.

Keeping both Fort and Sendejo on the roster past Week 10 means the Eagles won’t receive a 2020 fourth-round compensatory pick for losing Jordan Hicks. (It could also mean they won’t get a 2020 fourth-round comp pick for losing Golden Tate if Jordan Matthews gets cut by the 49ers before Week 10.) It’s looking like the Eagles might bite that bullet and just keep the veteran players on the roster. Doug Pederson recently had some praise for Sendejo:

Matt Pryor, who usually lines up as the second team right guard, took some left tackle reps given that Dillard was with the starters. I also noticed the Eagles’ 2018 sixth-round pick was on the first team field goal protection unit. I lean towards Pryor being on the 53-man roster.

• I’ve often described Nate Sudfeld’s offseason as “up and down.” Today was more up than down. Sudfeld connected with Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, and Richard Rodgers for red zone touchdowns. He also threaded a tight window back shoulder throw to Marken Michel along the back of the end zone. (The defense claimed Michel was out but some offensive players disagreed. Regardless, it was a legit throw.) Even going back to last summer, I feel like the red zone is an area where Studfeld plays well. He makes good decisions and throws an accurate ball.

• Another day, another Rasul Douglas highlight. Today he tipped a Sudfeld pass into the air and it got picked off by Sullivan. Suuuuul just has a knack for making plays on the ball.

And for a new twist: Douglas took some third team reps as a nickel corner. Prior to this offseason, the Eagles never had him lining up there. Jim Schwartz talked about this a little on Tuesday:

He’s not going to take any safety reps in training camp and he only did last year because it was all-hands-on-deck-emergency-type situation, where he had to go in and play safety. He has played a little bit of nickel, which is something he hasn’t done in the past but our nickels, when Cre [Cre’von LeBlanc] got hurt, our nickels numbers went down and he stepped in.

So, the Douglas nickel reps are more injury-related than anything, but can’t hurt to get some more experience there.

• Instead of going from Sudfeld to Clayton Thorson — the standard progression from No. 2 quarterback to No. 3 quarterback — the Eagles went from Sudfeld to Cody Kessler in some team drills. And even when Thorson got in, the Eagles did not throw a ton.

• A leaping Kamu Grugier-Hill knocked down a Kessler screen pass. Kamu makes plays.

Shelton Gibson dropped a catchable pass for the third day in a row. He also failed to get open deep against Maddox, who covered him well, on one rep.

JJ Arcega-Whiteside saw some first team action in red zone drills. He didn’t do much with his opportunity, though. JJ also struggled to block Josh Adams during a special teams drill, which led to him getting some feedback from an Eagles assistant. When the roles were reversed, Adams did a good job of blocking JJ.

• Eagles cornerbacks Jeremiah McKinnon and Josh Hawkins both had decent springs and they’ve made some plays in camp as well. Hawkins broke up a Sudfeld red zone pass meant for Dallas Goedert. Rarely does Goedert not come down with the ball when it’s thrown his way. McKinnon, meanwhile, followed a good showing on Tuesday by breaking up a pass intended for Greg Ward. Not sure if either player makes the team but it doesn’t hurt that they’re looking good while the Eagles are banged up at corner.

• No issues with Jake Elliott. The Eagles’ kicker has been pretty accurate all offseason long. Elliott only missed one try today and he drilled his longest attempt of 52 yards.

Brandon Graham led the pre-practice team huddle. As some Eagles defensive backs were approaching the huddle in the middle of the end zone, they were jumping and pretending to alley oop a ball to each other before Avonte Maddox ultimately threw down a reverse dunk to finish it off. Then they celebrated. I’ve written it before but just another reminder that the Eagles’ defensive back room is an energetic, fun-loving group.

UP NEXT: The Eagles will have their longest practice of the summer tomorrow, Thursday, August 1. Start time is 9:15 AM and end time isn’t until 11:55 AM. Stay tuned to BGN for more coverage, as always.