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Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes: John Hightower shines (again), Matt Pryor struggles

Takeaways from Sunday’s session.

Matt Pryor at left tackle? That’s a stretch.
Credit: (Pool Photo) Chris Szagola/Associated Press.

Today marked the twelfth and final 2020 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice open to media. The team held their scrimmage at Lincoln Financial Field instead of the NovaCare Complex. Let’s get straight to my observations!

PRACTICE NOTES

EAGLES INJURY UPDATE: Carson Wentz didn’t practice due to a lower body injury. He’s listed as day-to-day and the team stressed they’re being cautious with him. One would hope that proves to be true. Jalen Reagor left practice early due to a shoulder injury that might not be too serious. [CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO ON THE EAGLES’ INJURY SITUATION.]

John Hightower has had a great summer. He’s made at least one highlight catch in every practice within the past week or so. And I can’t recall him dropping a single pass in camp.

Hightower shined today by getting past Maddox and Jalen Mills deep down the field for a touchdown from Nate Sudfeld. Hightower caught another touchdown pass — this time thrown by Jalen Hurts — on a play where Craig James got his hands on the ball but couldn’t hold on for the pick. Hightower showed good concentration to stay with the play in back right corner of the end zone while keeping both feet in for the score. Hightower got open on a curl while being covered by Rasul Douglas for a first down.

Not perfectly sure what Hightower’s role is going to be this year but he sure looks like he can play. The Eagles might just have to find a role for him in the offense. Still think he’s behind Jackson, Reagor (if healthy), JJAW, and potentially Greg Ward.

• The Eagles have some serious offensive line issues to sort out with only 14 days until Week 1. This was the first team lineup for most of practice:

Left tackle — Matt Pryor
Left guard — Isaac Seumalo
Center — Jason Kelce
Right guard — Jason Peters
Right tackle — Jordan Mailata

Pryor surrendered approximately eleventy billion sacks to Josh Sweat. Sweat’s had a nice summer, to be sure, but this wasn’t just about him looking really good. I also saw Pryor get beat by Joe Ostman in 1-on-1, which caused Jeff Stoutland to come over and talk to him. It wasn’t surprising to see Pryor struggle because he just doesn’t have extensive experience at left tackle. The Eagles simply can’t have him protecting Carson Wentz’s blindside.

Lane Johnson is listed as “day-to-day” but he’s missed seven straight practices now. Mailata, lining up in Johnson’s stead, also surrendered pressure to Sweat. The third-year offensive tackle got straight up cooked like barbecue chicken on one rep. Jack Driscoll took some first team right tackle reps later in practice.

Peters might not be willing to play left tackle without a raise but he was coaching up third string left tackle Prince Tega Wanogho after a rep in 1-on-1. PTW got bulldozed by Ostman during a scrimmage rep.

• Not a bad day for Nate Sudfeld, who mostly took first team reps with Wentz not practicing. He had a perfect fade throw to DeSean Jackson, who beat Will Parks, for a touchdown. Another fade to Zach Ertz went for another touchdown. Sudfeld made a back shoulder throw to Travis Fulgham for yet another score. I’ve noticed Sudfeld have success in the red zone in previous seasons so I guess it shouldn’t really be a surprise that he shines down there.

• Jalen Hurts had his first scrimmage throw picked off by Craig James and returned for six. Just an inaccurate deep pass from Hurts on that one. Hurts had another misplaced ball when he overthrew Marcus Green, who was open, down the field. Maddox deflected a Hurts throw meant for Reagor (on the play the rookie got hurt) that was picked by Parks. Hurts overthrew a wide open Caleb Wilson, who made a good effort at a one-handed catch, during a red zones sequence. Darius Slay dropped a pick on a Hurts throw over the middle meant for Jackson. Hurts had another pass knocked down by Duke Riley. After the play, Riley gave the Michael Jordan shrug.

Of course, it wasn’t all bad for the rookie quarterback. Hurts lofted a throw to Reagor with a quick release to connect with Reagor for a touchdown with Maddox beat. Hurts floated a ball to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside along the left sideline for a 20+ gain. Hurts hit Deontay Burnett, who received a high five from Jason Peters after the play, on a comeback along the left sideline for 25+ yards. Hurts ended practice on a high note with a deep completion to undrafted rookie free agent Manasseh Bailey, who burned fellow UDFA Michael Jacquet, in stride for a 99-yard touchdown. Hurts is poised to enter the season as the No. 3 before inevitably overtaking Sudfeld at some point.

Rasul Douglas, not Sidney Jones, came in to play first team corner when Darius Slay missed a few reps. Come to think of it, Jones only participated in 7-on-7 and not the scrimmage. So, Jones fully practiced for just two of the Eagles’ first 12 training camp practices. Stock down.

Casey Toohill beat PTW to notch a sack. Seventh-round rookie continues to be active.

Shareef Miller made a nice tackle for no gain on Elijah Holyfield. Don’t think Miller will make the team but he deserves to make the practice squad. Or get claimed on waivers by another club.

• The fake crowd noise the Eagles were playing all throughout practice wasn’t pleasant. Didn’t even sound like actual crowd noise to me as much as a noisy restaurant. Here’s just a small taste:

From what I’ve read, teams won’t be permitted to stop crowd noise at any point during the game. If it’s on, it has to be on the entire time ... even if the home team is playing offense, which is dumb.

Doug Pederson challenged the offense at one point by having them backed up at their own 1-yard line. He signaled his arms to pump up the volume and the virtual Eagles crowd obliged by getting headache-inducing loud.

• Personal note: This concludes the seventh Eagles training camp I’ve covered for Bleeding Green Nation since starting out here as a 21-year-old in 2013. I guess I’ve been having fun spending time with you all because the time has really flown by (no pun intended). I’m truly grateful to have this opportunity and I appreciate you following along with our coverage here at BGN! Can’t wait to get started on our regular season schedule soon.

UP NEXT

Eagles training camp is no longer open to the media. That’s a bummer ... but, hey, Week 1 is only two weeks away!

The Eagles will presumably have some closed practices this week leading up to roster cuts. Here’s an overview of the upcoming schedule:

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5

Rosters must be cut down from 80 players to 53 before 4:00 PM Eastern.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6

Teams can begin to build their 16-player practice squads after the waiver period ends.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 through SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

Week 1 practices and preparation.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

Week 1 — Eagles at Washington Football Team in Landover, Maryland.