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Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes: The defensive line dominates

Here’s what we learned today.

Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp Photo by Yong Kim-Pool/Getty Images

Today marked the fifth 2020 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice open to media. Let’s get right to what I saw.

PRACTICE NOTES

• The Eagles were in pads today as they went “live” for the first time in training camp. The first team units were doing “thud” whereas the backups were doing more full tackling to the ground. Lots of physicality out there today.

EAGLES INJURY UPDATE: New injuries to report include Zach Ertz (upper body) listed as day-to-day and Marcus Epps (upper body) as day-to-day. Jalen Reagor, Deontay Burnett, Rasul Douglas, and Shareef Miller missed practice due to unspecified “illness.” Josh Sweat returned to practice after missing Thursday due to “illness.” The likes of Miles Sanders, Derek Barnett, Javon Hargrave, Dallas Goedert, Boston Scott, and Sidney Jones are all still out. Jason Peters came up limping at one point and was in and out of the first team lineup with Matt Pryor sometimes filling in at right guard. Undrafted rookie free agent Noah Togiai was having his foot looked at after a collision on a catch attempt, which leaves Josh Perkins and Caleb Wilson as the only two healthy tight ends. Might have to add another body at that position.

CARSON WENTZ UPDATE: I know I express this a lot but I can’t help but remark how Wentz to DeSean Jackson is just such a money connection. The injury risk must be weighed appropriately but I’d be one to draft Jackson in fantasy football. Just some advice there. Jackson beat Darius Slay cleanly on a short curl in 7-on-7. Wentz targeted Jackson several more times for completions. Slay and Jalen Mills did manage to effectively cover Jackson at one point where the receiver couldn’t get to the deep passing attempt.

Wentz had some accuracy issues today. Unlike in Week 15 against Washington last year, he overthrew Greg Ward on a fade attempt where he just didn’t loft the ball enough. Same issue happened on a Wentz throw to John Hightower in the end zone. Wentz overthrew Ward again on a post.

Wentz almost threw two picks where the defensive back made a good read and got a great jump on the ball. The first one was an out route or a comeback along the sideline that Avonte Maddox got his hands on. The second was when the Eagles were backed up along their own goal line and Rodney McLeod dropped the ball as he was going to the ground. The defense gave McLeod a hard time for that one.

• J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who was the first team X receiver once again, made good catches from Wentz throws on back-to-back plays during an early series. He made the first reception with his hands extended away from his body towards the sideline as he had to go to the ground. Then he made a leaping contested catch along the sideline for 20+ yards as he managed to keep his feet in. Nice to see JJAW doing some good things. The 2019 second-round pick also had a short touchdown reception with a defender on his back as he came towards the ball.

• The defense really won the day today. The defensive line was especially dominant. They were straight up feasting on the offensive line when the offense was trying to simulate a scenario with not too much time left on the clock. Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson were very active and so were backup guys like Josh Sweat, Hassan Ridgeway, Joe Ostman, and Casey Toohill.

Sweat had a great move to beat Andre Dillard on the inside to notch a “sack.”

Ostman regularly wins his matchups with Jordan Mailata. Mailata threw his helmet into the ground after the final rep of practice in frustration. Doug Pederson was nearby and talked to Mailata about that.

Toohill logged two sacks going against Jack Driscoll after struggling earlier by jumping offsides and getting shut down by Prince Tega Wanogho.

I haven’t noticed Genard Avery much in camp. He certainly wasn’t beating Mailata the way that Ostman was.

• The offensive line has struggled two days in a row now. Not great. Peters missing some reps also doesn’t seem very ideal with the season only 23 days away.

Nate Sudfeld had his best day of camp so far. It wasn’t spectacular and he still held the ball too long at times. But he finally had some positive flashes worth writing about. Sudfeld threw a good ball to Caleb Wilson on an out in 11-on-11, which impressed Brandon Graham watching from the sideline. Sudfeld had another completion to a tightly covered Robert Davis on a back shoulder throw. Sudfeld connected with Marcus Green deep on a play where Cre’Von LeBlanc got beat. Sudfeld did have another throw knocked down by Strap. And the quarterback was almost picked off by Craig James twice, who had good coverage on Quez Watkins on a deep route. But Sudfeld even got to take some reps with the first team today. Doug Pederson wasn’t joking about the team viewing him as the No. 2 quarterback because he got a lot more work than Jalen Hurts did.

• Speaking of Hurts, some defensive starters on the sideline kept calling for him to stop running the ball since the defense isn’t allowed to hit him. Hurts had one of his attempts knocked down by T.J. Edwards.

• Quez Watkins made a good catch on a Hurts throw. He also had a drop today.

• Undrafted rookie free agent safety Grayland Arnold showed some physicality today. He came up from playing free safety to make a good tackle in run support in the middle of the field. Then, with the assistance of another defender, he lifted Killins into the air and tackled him into the ground. The defense really loved that play. Arnold might very well be able to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.

Corey Clement had another good long run like he did earlier this week. Did a nice job of breaking through contact and getting to the open field. That play drew praise from the offensive sideline once again.

Elijah Riley almost had a pick six for the second day in a row. The Army alumnus had a chance to intercept a tipped ball on a Sudfeld dump pass thrown too high.

Maddox and Slay spend a lot of time hanging out with each other on the sideline. There appears to be a bromance between the Eagles’ starting cornerbacks.

• Adrian Killins got absolutely demolished by Alex Singleton in pass protection. Certainly a concern for a running back who checks in at 5-8, 177 pounds.

Will Parks (6-1, 194 pounds) did a great job of jamming Robert Davis (6-3, 210) while the receiver was trying to cover a punt as a gunner. The Philly native gave Davis a forceful pop in his chest. Parks was also very physical on defense and made a number of good tackles. He plays with energy and swagger so it’s no surprise Jim Schwartz likes him.

• Quez Watkins was the returner when the Eagles ran through their first kickoff attempt. Adrian Killins handled it from there. With Reagor out, Killins also fielded all the punts ... except for one he dropped, which caused the defense to boo him.

• After seeing this, there’s no way the Flyers don’t beat the Montreal Canadiens to close out their first round playoff series tonight:

• Some Eagles WR drill action for your viewing pleasure:

• Jalen Hurts likes to get some dancing in before practice each day:

• Haven’t noticed any missed kicks from Jake Elliott in camp thus far.

UP NEXT: The Eagles have off tomorrow before starting another five day practice stretch on Sunday, August 23. Stay tuned to BGN, as always.