Today marked the sixteenth 2021 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. It was the first of the Birds’ two joint sessions against the New York Jets in Florham Park, New Jersey. Here’s what I observed! UPDATE: Today’s practice podcast recap is live on BGN Radio!
• JALEN HURTS UPDATE: Hurts wasn’t flawless but there were a number of positives.
Hurts had a solid completion to an open Zach Ertz on a post route for a first down. The tight end had to slightly slow down for the ball as opposed to being hit in stride but, hey, I’m nitpicking.
Hurts found a wide open Miles Sanders (who didn’t drop it!) for a first down and then some.
Hurts completed a back shoulder throw to Jalen Reagor along the right sideline as the two defenders in the area both had their backs to the ball.
Quez Watkins made the play of the day when he leapt high in the air for a jump ball catch after Hurts broke the pocket to roll left. Great grab. And a difficult throw for Hurts to make considering he’s right-handed. Thankfully Watkins was OK to return after falling really hard on his back and taken inside to briefly get looked at. Fan video:
Pretty ball to Dallas Goedert, who was able to make the over-the-shoulder catch. This is what I mean when I say that Hurts — for all the valid concerns about his inaccuracy issues — doesn’t totally lack touch:
Hurts to Goedert for the over the shoulder catch. pic.twitter.com/GxazHiGepc— Gayle Saunders (@EagleSessions) August 24, 2021
Hurts led the Eagles on a touchdown drive to cap off practice for the Eagles’ first team unit. He did have assistance from two pass interference penalties but he ultimately capitalized with a goal-to-go throw to a Reagor in the end zone.
E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES! chant breaks out from the Jets’ fan section here at practice after Hurts connected with an open Reagor on an out in the front right corner of the end zone.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 24, 2021
An issue that’s been present throughout camp: Hurts not getting rid of the ball quickly enough. He got ‘sacked’ on at least two reps where he didn’t even get a pass off after sitting in the pocket for a while. He completed another pass after clearly getting ‘sacked’ (side note: a problem with citing training camp stats as gospel). Hurts failed to recognize a cornerback blitz and/or wasn’t able to get the ball to his hot route. Hurts holding on to the ball can obviously be a good thing in that it can allow him to extend plays or eventually take of running. But regularly inviting pressure has consequences. This an area to monitor considering PFF charted Hurts for the second-highest percentage of pressures generated by defense charged to quarterbacks in 2020.
Hurts had a throw intended for Reagor on a slant route knocked down by Bryce Hall.
Hurts overthrew an open DeVonta on a deep crossing route. Big play to leave on the field. A Jets defender broke up another intermediate-to-deep shot to DeVonta.
Hurts seemed to be called for a pre-snap penalty considering a ref pointed at him after throwing the flag and he went over to ask for the explanation.
Hurts said he was debating whether to tell the Eagles about how he was hurting. Said he doesn’t always tell the team if something is bothering him.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 24, 2021
• EAGLES INJURY UPDATES: Andre Dillard (knee) is still listed as a limited participant but he was back in team drills today. Same with Fletcher Cox (groin).
• WR vs. DB 1-on-1, offense edition: Hurts overthrew John Hightower deep. Joe Flacco threw a deep touchdown to Reagor, who got past Jets undrafted rookie free agent Isaiah Dunn. (Reagor continues to excel in 1-on-1.) J.J. Arcega-Whiteside looked too slow on a deep route; he couldn’t separate and he failed to win the jump ball catch opportunity. Travis Fulgham made an impressive one-handed grab as he was sliding towards the right sideline on a ball from Hurts. Watkins had a few tough catches with his hands outstretched away from his body. The best for last: DeVonta Smith pulled off a nasty route to generate separation against Jets cornerback Bryce Hall. That play made both NJ.com writer Chris Franklin and I go ‘oooooooh!’ as we watched standing near each other. It was pretty nice. Some additional context here:
It's worth noting that Connor Hughes (who covers the Jets for the Athletic) said Hall has had the best camp of any Jets player on defense, behind only Carl Lawson. I think it's safe to assume that Smith is going to be good. https://t.co/xE7y3Ifsnc— Patrick (@76Iggles) August 24, 2021
Fletcher Cox was asked about which Eagles player is ready to make the biggest leap. He said he has two, a 1A and 1B: Quez Watkins and Josh Sweat. Been really impressed by them.— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 24, 2021
• WR vs. DB 1-on-1, defense edition: Darius Slay got beat deep but recovered enough to knock an over-the-shoulder catch out of a receiver’s hands. Avonte Maddox had a deep pass breakup. Steve Nelson got beat badly by 2020 Eagles UDFA signing Manasseh Bailey ... who actually just got waived by the Jets.
• I was mainly focused on the Eagles’ offense versus the Jets’ defense when the teams were using two different fields but I did check in with BGN alumnus and NJ.com writer Mike Kaye to see if there were any defensive highlights I missed. He told me that Slay had a near pick on a play where he got beat deep but recovered and bobbled the interception right back into the receiver’s hands, who couldn’t hold on. What a rollercoaster.
• The Jets’ starting offense didn’t have much success against the Eagles’ starting defense. NYJ fumbled away their first possession before then going three-and-out on their next try when practice narrowed down to one field towards the end of the session. Philly’s defensive line was causing a lot of trouble for New York. Javon Hargrave was especially disruptive.
• I didn’t specifically pay attention to him as there was a lot to see but my BGN Radio co-host Jimmy Kempski remarked to me that he liked what he saw out of Le’Raven Clark. Perhaps he could make a late push to be the Eagles’ swing tackle? Or at least the backup left tackle? Very possible he’s a better option than Andre Dillard.
Andre Dillard just got trucked by Jets Lineman Jeremiah Valoaga— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 24, 2021
For context, Valoaga is a 2017 UDFA signing who’s been on five teams since entering the league. He has one sack and seven tackle in 13 games played. Hasn’t played a snap since December 2019. Probably not great to be getting trucked by him.
• Andrew Adams picked off Josh Johnson on an overthrow intended for a tight end running up the seam to end practice. Adams finally didn’t drop a pick!
• Joe Flacco got picked after chucking up a YOLO instant release deep ball that looked like an arm punt. It was wiped out by a Jets pass interference penalty. Flacco overthrew a deep shot to Fulgham, who could’ve had a touchdown with a better throw.
• I felt like this was Travis Fulgham’s best practice in a bit. He did have a really bad drop on a throw from Flacco but he made several tough grabs on comeback routes.
• Here’s a view of the Jets’ practice fields from the big deck where the press conferences were being held.
• If you watched the preceding video, you may have noticed this highlight:
I’m a big fan of this tree in the middle of one of the Jets’ practice fields. pic.twitter.com/OiU54KNvo3— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 24, 2021
• Nick Sirianni and a guy the Eagles interviewed for their head coaching vacancy prior to meeting with Sirianni (Jets head coach Robert Saleh) sat down for an interview with Albert Breer before Tuesday’s practice. Interested to see what came out of this.
• A number of jets flew over the field during today’s practice. So that’s where they get the name from!
• Post-practice lunch: I haven’t been to White Castle in, like, 10 years so I had to stop at the one on Route 1 in Monmouth Junction. Got the Castle Pack 8 and it hit the spot.
• For what it’s worth, the Eagles have now been the better team in three out of their three joint training camp practices (two against the Patriots, one against the Jets). Then again, they are also 0-2 in preseason games with the worst point differential in the league.
UP NEXT: The Eagles and Jets will face each other again tomorrow morning starting around 10:20 AM ET. Stay tuned to BGN for complete coverage, as always.