The Eagles hosted the Ravens for their first joint practice on Monday, and both offensive coordinator Mike Groh and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke to the media for a bit afterward about how it went and about some specific players.
The offensive coordinator said that the offense did some nice things in Thursday’s joint practice, and was specifically happy with how they ran the ball. He noted that they left some plays on the field, but will evaluate those when they watch the tape.
On the quarterbacks
Groh talked a bit about Carson Wentz and how he’s had a nice training camp. He did mention that he’s looking forward to the QB getting some live reps against the Ravens’ defense on some long passes, and work on putting some more air under some passes, but overall has been happy with Wentz’s progress.
“I thought Carson did a really good job. Like we have talked about all training camp, he is operating really, quickly. He’s seeing everything. He is communicating well. He knows where he wants to go with the ball. He’s picking his matchups. I love how he is working through his progressions. He has had a tremendous camp.”
It was pointed out that Josh McCown was getting reps with the twos on Monday, but Groh said that all the quarterbacks were rotating through that group. The OC noted that it was too early to decide whether McCown would play on Thursday, but that there is optimism based on his experience that he’ll be ready sooner rather than later.
“Well, it’ll be a process of indoctrinating him into our system, but he has the luxury of a lot of experience and background in a bunch of different systems. He’s played in them all, so I’m sure he’ll be able to draw on that experience. He’s already invested a lot of time since he’s been here in trying to learn our language and the way we call things. Obviously, there’s a rhythm and a cadence that’s different to every system and every offense, so he’s trying to acclimate himself to that, and I know that he’ll do that as quickly as possible.”
On signing Brett Toth
The OC talked a bit about signing Toth, and how it’s got to be such a challenge going from basic training to training camp and having very little football time since the Senior Bowl earlier this year. Groh likened it to McCown having to make the mental shift back to the field, but the quarterback having the benefit of 18 years experience.
“You have to give a lot of respect to him. You have to come out here and compete and not flinch, and really give his best effort.”
Groh was also asked how coming from a service academy might help Toth on the field, and the OC mentioned being disciplined and being sharp and willing to go against NFL defensive ends.
On Corey Clement’s return
Groh noted that it’s always tough to see one of your own be sidelined with an injury, but he was excited for the running back to be out on the practice field and full go on Monday.
“It’s exciting to get him back, and I know he’s worked really hard to get himself back and ready to go. He was up full today, so it was exciting.”
Clement took some first-team reps on Monday, and Groh was asked if the running back is where he needs to be in order to take back the role he had built for himself.
“Well, he’s cleared, but he hasn’t played a whole lot. I wouldn’t say he’s where he needs to be because he just needs to get more time out here. We’re trying to accelerate that process here with two weeks to go. Trying to catch him up, if that’s fair to say. Physically, he feels really good, and we just want to work him back in as quickly as possible.”
The defensive coordinator didn’t have quite as much to say as he usually does after the joint practice, but he did talk a bit about how it was good to get different looks — both on offense and defense — than what they’re used to.
On Daeshon Hall
Schwartz noted that it’s not so much that Hall has necessarily improved a lot in his time with the team, but that he’s a lot more comfortable in the scheme and has put on about 30 more pounds.
“He got to us midway through last year and he was in the transition of going from outside linebacker to 4-3 defensive end. He had been asked to lose weight in Houston, but he was gaining weight here, so he was a little bit of a work in progress there. But he’s come back, had a really good spring and he’s stacked a good training camp on top of that. He has good speed, he’s long, he fits our stuff that way, and he’s really been tough. He plays physical football for us and that’s what we are looking for.”
On rookie Shareef Miller
“We expected a lot of him, but he has been steadily improving through training camp, and that’s what you look for with guys. It’s not always perfect right away, but you want guys that are showing steady improvement. I think that’s him. And then one of the other things I like about Shareef is that he’s shown the most when it’s been sort of elevated. Like in the beginning he wasn’t really standing out when he was practicing, then we had a light practice, and he stood out a little bit more, and then we had a preseason game, and he stood out a little bit more. So, I think those are all good signs for him, too. He still has a long way to go. Let’s not put him in the Hall of Fame yet.”
On veteran players wanting playing time
Schwartz was asked about Malcolm Jenkins and Brandon Graham asking to play a bit in last Thursday’s preseason game, and the DC noted that the two are veterans and know what it takes to be ready to go once the regular season starts. Ultimately he wasn’t surprised — or seemingly impressed — that those two wanted some preseason snaps.