Tonight marked the tenth 2021 Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice. The Birds were in action in front of fans at Lincoln Financial Field. Here’s what I observed! UPDATE: And here’s the accompanying BGN Radio practice recap podcast.
• The Eagles were in pads tonight. It was the longest practice of camp at nearly two hours long.
• JALEN HURTS UPDATE: Hurts bounced back after Saturday’s real rough outing. He effectively used his mobility to create offense out of structure on multiple reps. One such play was when he rolled left (despite being right-handed) and gave Quez Watkins a chance for a deep touchdown, which the receiver caught over Anthony Harris for the play of practice.
On another rep, Hurts extended a play by rolling right all the way to the sideline and waiting for a receiver to uncover to hit him for a first down.
Hurts also had success from the pocket when he floated a ball down the right sideline to Travis Fulgham for a 30+ yard gain. The receiver got one foot and one knee in to beat Steve Nelson, who had respectable coverage.
Hurts did almost get picked off by Eric Wilson on a short throw over the middle. He had a pass meant for Boston Scott in the back right of the end zone knocked down by a leaping K’Von Wallace. Hurts straight up overthrew Dallas Goedert for what could’ve been a touchdown during red zone 11-on-11.
Not a perfect practice for No. 1, but more good than bad.
• EAGLES INJURY NEWS: Brandon Brooks (hamstring strain) was upgraded to limited participation, which is a positive sign. He did not take part in team drills. Isaac Seumalo (hamstring) was also upgraded to day-to-day after previously being listed as week-to-week. Casey Tucker (biceps), a new addition to the injury report, is week-to-week.
• QUEZ WATKINS! The Eagles’ 2020 sixth-round pick was the obvious MVP of tonight’s practice. Not only was he responsible for the play of the night (as shown in the video above), he also made several other good grabs. It started when he leaped for a contested deep ball touchdown catch over Craig James in 1-on-1. Watkins then had two nice receptions over the middle in 7-on-7. The second of those two was an absolute hospital ball by Joe Flacco. Watkins shook off the big hit, though, and didn’t miss any practice time. Shortly after taking that bump, he was lining up as the gunner on punt coverage. The feeling here is that Watkins has been the Eagles’ best receiver in training camp (mind you, DeVonta Smith has missed time with a knee injury). The team is going to need to get him on the field if he continues at this pace.
• Jalen Reagor beat Nelson with a stop-and-go in 1-on-1s for a deep reception. Reagor also made a good leaping catch on a ball thrown a little too high by Flacco. Reagor couldn't do anything with a jet sweep rushing attempt. The 2020 first-round pick also finished practice on a bad note by dropping a Flacco pass.
• For the second practice in a row, the Eagles used Sua Opeta at first team left guard and Jack Driscoll at first team right guard.
• Harris put a big pop on Jordan Howard on a run up the middle. Second time in camp that Harris has been responsible for a noticeable hit.
• Darius Slay had good coverage and a pass breakup on a downfield throw to Fulgham in 1-on-1s.
• Zech McPhearson initially allowed Jhamon Aubson to catch a ball against him in 1-on-1 but knocked the ball out before possession was established. That’s the second time I’ve seen ZMP do that in camp.
• It’s been a quiet camp for Marcus Epps. That is, until tonight. He was in good position to knock down a Flacco floater to Jack Stoll in the end zone to prevent a touchdown. Epps was also responsible for putting a big hit on Watkins via the Flacco hospital ball. And he picked off Flacco! Eppsy was tonight’s defensive MVP.
• The lethal Delaware to Delaware connection: Flacco zipped a ball over the middle to Andre Patton for a first down on a 20+ yard gain.
• The battle for TE3: Tyree Jackson made a good catch in 1-on-1s and caught several targets from Flacco, including another hospital ball. After making a red zone touchdown catch, Jackson dunked the ball over the crossbar with authority. Of course, that would be a penalty in a real game. Meanwhile, Stoll dropped a pass from Nick Mullens.
• Hakeem Butler dropped two passes in 1-on-1. Probably in jeopardy of being one of the first five cuts when the Eagles go from 90 to 85 players by August 17.
• OL vs. DL 1-on-1s: Lane Johnson held off Brandon Graham. Jordan Mailata beat Derek Barnett twice, despite initially getting driven back on the pass rusher’s bullrush attempt during the second battle. Nate Herbig stoned Hassan Ridgeway but got instantly cooked by T.Y. McGill in no time flat. Milton Williams earned a win against Brett Toth, who hasn’t looked too good in 1-on-1s. Dillard avoided getting obliterated by Josh Sweat but got beat by Barnett after the defensive end set up a move to the outside to pivot inside and draw a likely holding penalty. Kayode Awosika flashed good feet to win a rep. Luke Juriga beat a defensive lineman with good punching and hand usage to keep his opponent at bay.
• Jake Elliott was a perfect 6/6 on his field goal attempts. Makes from 28, 32, 40, 44, 46, and 53 yards out. Now up to 14/16 in training camp.
• I’ve previously written about how Arryn Siposs has done well with his hangtime on the punts that I’ve timed. But how is he as a directional punter? Some encouraging signs in that regard:
Arryn Siposs practiced directional / short punting w/ the LOS around midfield. He landed punts (all fair catches, so we didn't get to see if he could get them to check up, pitching wedge style) at the 12, the 12, the 10, the 12, the 11, the 6, the 10, & the 7. Pretty consistent.— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) August 9, 2021
• The Eagles announced a practice attendance total of 25,896, which seemed like a high estimate. Is this really 38% of their 67,594 capacity limit?
For historical context, here’s a look back at their attendance totals over the years:
2016 — 36,000 (two practices combined)
2017 — 59,000 (two practices combined)
2018 — 75,000 (two practices combined)
2019 — “More than 40,000” (only one practice)
2020 - No practices
Of course, there are a number of understandable reasons why the Linc wasn’t packed to the brim. COVID concerns, night ahead of a week day, team is coming off a four-win season, etc.
• For those curious about why the Eagles were wearing jerseys with lime green numbers, it’s in honor of the Eagles Autism Foundation.
UP NEXT: The Eagles have a walkthrough on Monday that’s closed to media. We’ll return to watch them practice on Tuesday morning.