The Philadelphia Eagles concluded their modified OTA practice schedule today and I was there at Lincoln Financial Field to observe the relatively brief portion open to the media. Here’s what I gleaned!
- Practice kicked off with Nick Sirianni addressing the entire team before DeVonta Smith and Travis Fulgham were pitted against each other in Catch The Ball On A String.
Nick Sirianni addressing the team. pic.twitter.com/1HJ3ZUbkU7— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) June 4, 2021
The competition seemingly dragged on a little longer than expected with neither player dropping the ball. Of course, with Smith and Fulgham being the ones throwing it to themselves, they could mitigate the risk of their throws. Eventually, the drill was called. Not exactly sure if it was in favor of the defense or offense. But the more relevant point is Sirianni’s emphasis on competition. He also had two defensive backs do some kind of running drill. Couldn’t really get a good view since it was on the opposite side of the field and a lot of players were standing in the way. After practice, Sirianni said it involved backpedaling and racing.
Nick Sirianni on why he has the Eagles doing a lot of competition drills: “If you practice at competing, you’re going to get better at competing.” pic.twitter.com/ligEDaIbP4— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) June 4, 2021
- A football bounced over to me along the sideline at one point. I was thinking about flipping it over to Jalen Reagor underhanded but instead decided to grip the laces. I hit him on target without totally embarrassing myself. Maybe. Either way, no one cares. But I bring it up because ...
- ... my glorious pass prevented me from snagging a sick DeVonta Smith one-handed catch on video. Thankfully, ESPN’s Tim McManus caught it while standing next to me. BEHOLD:
DeVonta Smith with a one-handed grab. pic.twitter.com/7QbgkoHUHy— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) June 4, 2021
I mean, sure, there’s no defense and he’s not even wearing pads. But just look at how easily he caught that with one hand in stride! That’s awesome. That catch made the legendary Merrill Reese (also standing nearby) put his hands on his head in awe. Buy all the DeVonta stock while you can, folks.
- More DeVonta, because I know you can’t get enough:
Great stuff. High-points the ball and has the body control to keep his feet in.
- Bonus DeVonta: The following clip isn’t from today’s practice; it was instead filmed at the NovaCare Complex earlier this week.
He’s just so smooth. It looks like he’s running forward at full speed before smoothly transitioning to come back for the ball. You have to trust me when I say not every receiver looks this refined in their practice reps. He’s not just some really athletic lining up out wide. He’s a polished player who actually knows how to play the wide receiver position.
- DeVonta Smith and Jalen Reagor were the first team boundary receivers with Greg Ward lining up in the slot. Now, it’s only June 4, so there’s plenty of time for things to change. But it’s still worth noting that Travis Fulgham wasn’t running with the presumed starters.
- The Eagles need Miles Sanders to improve when it comes to catching the ball (league-high eight drops last year) and also maintaining possession of the fumble (tied for third-most RB fumbles) last year). Here’s him working on those aspects of his game:
- Jalen Hurts’ accuracy will be worth monitoring this offseason after he struggled in that regard as a rookie. There was some inconsistency when it came to hitting the target in the following drill but here’s one rep he did nail:
- Speaking of QB drills, the Eagles brought back those flyswatters they used to use during the Chip Kelly era. Not the exact same devices but the purpose of simulating jumping defensive linemen is the same.
- A note on the defense:
For the very little it’s worth, first-team secondary for the Eagles today is McLeod & Harris at safety, Slay, Maddox inside and Michael “straight” Jacquet on the other side.— Bo Wulf (@Bo_Wulf) June 4, 2021
Probably not ideal to be heading into training camp with Michael Jacquet III as CB2.
- Eagles punter Arryn Siposs was one of the first players out on the field this morning to get some reps in.
I timed the hangtime of one of his punts at 4.48 seconds. For context, that mark would rank as the fifth-best average from all punters last year.
- Eagles special teams coordinator Michael Clay successfully made a drop kick from about 30 yards out. I don’t know about you but I’m a sucker for rare NFL plays like the drop kick or the fair catch kick.
UP NEXT: With spring drills now over, the Eagles are off until training camp begins on July 27! Stay tuned to BGN as we trek through the dead zone together.