Today marked the thirteenth 2021 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. It was the first of the Birds’ two joint sessions against the New England Patriots. Here’s what I observed! UPDATE: The BGN Radio podcast recap is live!
• JALEN HURTS UPDATE: More good than bad from Hurts, especially if we weigh full team drills as the most meaningful evaluation.
1-on-1: Hurts hit Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins for deep touchdowns. Throws were right on the money.
7-on-7: Hurts found Reagor over the middle in a relatively tight window.
11-on-11: Hurts connected with both Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz on crossers in stride. Though his repetitive accuracy can be lacking, Hurts does a nice job of setting up his targets for yards after the catch when he does hit them. By contrast, that was not a strong suit for Carson Wentz. Hurts made a real nice anticipation throw to Quez Watkins that was right on the receiver after his break. Hurts hit Reagor deep for a touchdown.
On the whole, Hurts and the Eagles’ offense didn’t totally stall out against the Patriots like it has against the Eagles’ defense in practice.
1-on-1: Hurts was picked on a contested catch opportunity for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside that the receiver lost. A back shoulder throw for JJAW was instead thrown into the back of a Patriots defender.
7-on-7: Hurts had a short throw to the sideline knocked down by J.C. Jackson. Hurts got picked off when a high throw to Goedert bounced off the tight end’s hands. Hurts got picked off again when a short throw to Kenny Gainwell over the middle bounced off the rookie’s hands. The ball may have been a tad behind the target but it still should’ve been caught.
11-on-11: Hurts had Watkins open deep down the field and seemingly saw him but hesitated to pull the trigger and instead got “sacked.”
• EAGLES INJURY UPDATES: The big news is that DeVonta Smith (knee) continues to get closer to returning. Smith was officially upgraded from “day-to-day” to “limited” in today’s practice. Smith had pads on and did some running on a side field along with John Hightower (groin). Seems like Smith should be back in full next week at the latest.
K’Von Wallace (groin) was also upgraded to “limited” after previously being described as “week-to-week.”
Kerryon Johnson (knee) is “week-to-week.” Not good for his roster chances as he tries to win a spot in a crowded backfield.
Joe Ostman (concussion) is “day-to-day.”
Darius Slay got shaken up after a big collision in the middle of the field. He remained on the sideline, though, and seemed to be OK. He was jovial after practice.
Luke Juriga got banged up at one point in practice. He was evaluated in the tent but returned to the sideline to watch the rest of Monday’s action.
Andre Dillard (knee), who is still “week-to-week,” was wearing a sleeve and brace on his right leg.
Andre Dillard sporting a brace. #Eagles pic.twitter.com/Q0Ht2Vz2GT— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 16, 2021
• Wasn’t very impressed by Cam Newton or Mac Jones. And it’s entirely possible they’re not good. Still, give the Eagles’ defense credit for playing well. They didn’t allow the Pats to move the ball with ease. They also stopped the Pats in a crunch time situation with Javon Hargrave pressuring Newton into throwing a pick right to Eric Wilson.
• I thought this was one of Reagor’s better practices of the summer. That’s not a very high bar to clear, to be clear. Still, there were some encouraging moments, including when he burned J.C. Jackson for deep catches in both 1-on-1 and 11-on-11. The only drawback is that Reagor bobbled both of them instead of catching them clean. That needs to be ironed out. It looked like Reagor caught a touchdown on the final play of a simulated crunch time situation but the ref standing right next to him said he was out of bounds. To reiterate a previous general observation, Reagor has looked significantly better in 1-on-1 than 11-on-11 drills.
• Joe Flacco made one of the best throws of camp when he lofted a ball to Andre Patton (!) in the back right corner of the end zone during a crunch time drill. Patton’s been pretty solid relative to expectation as a camp body. Flacco has talked about being able to trust him to be in the right places. On the downside, Flacco did sail a pass to Jason Croom (who is back in team drills) and then Kenny Gainwell deep along the right sideline.
• Darius Slay won his 1-on-1 reps against old friend Nelson Agholor. Slay disallowed a deep connection by disrupting the receiver’s route. Slay then broke up a shorter Cam Newton throw to Agholor.
• The Eagles’ starting defense only allowed one noteworthy catch to Agholor. Agholor did feast against Philly’s backup, though. Agholor burned Michael Jacquet and Zech McPhearson on different occasions. Agholor fell down on a downfield target from Newton with Avonte Maddox in coverage. Agholor wanted a flag but the refs didn’t oblige. True to form, Agholor also dropped a downfield target.
• Fletcher Cox had a “sack” on Newton.
• Alex Singleton nearly picked off Newton twice in 7-on-7. The linebacker did a good job of reading the quarterback’s eyes. Couldn’t hang on to the bullet passes, though.
• Steven Nelson had a pass breakup while covering N’Keal Harry in 1-on-1.
• Quez ran a real crisp route in 1-on-1 to beat Jackson. He then jawed at the cornerback a little after the play. Later in practice, Watkins was a little heated talking to Matt Judon after the Pats got called for being offside. The coaching staff pulled Watkins back towards the huddle to get to the next play. Don’t mind seeing some fire out of Quez.
• Miles Sanders is up to at least four drops in camp. Today’s drop came when he was wide open in the flat. Not very encouraging when it comes to him rebounding in that department this season.
• Tyree Jackson dropped two passes. His hands have been pretty good on the whole but he struggled today.
• Derek Barnett absolutely CRUSHED Patriots tight end Matt LaCosse on a play where the defensive end dropped back into coverage. It was a bang-bang play that caused LaCosse to leave practice early and not return.
• Newton threw two hospital balls where Marcus Epps was in position to absolutely deck the receiver on both reps had they been in an actual game setting. Epps still managed to force an incompletion on one of them.
• Though he often got beat in coverage, Jacquet did pull off a Peanut Punch for a forced fumble. The Eagles have been especially emphasizing attacking the ball in camp and it paid off there.
• Andrew Adams dropped two arm punt picks thrown by Mac Jones. Gotta have ‘em.
• Josiah Scott had a rough go in 1-on-1 drills and dropped a pick later in practice.
• Nick Mullens had a pick dropped on a quick slant throw.
• Nick Sirianni yelled at Hakeem Butler from about 50 yards away after the receiver originally made a nice contested catch but kinda carelessly dropped it as he went to the ground. Sirianni was vocally fired up at times today.
UP NEXT: The Eagles and Patriots will face each other again in tomorrow’s practice starting at 10:00 AM ET. Stay tuned to BGN for complete coverage, as always.