Today marked the fifteenth Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice ahead of the 2022 NFL season. It was the first of the Birds’ two joint sessions against the Miami Dolphins. It was also the penultimate Eagles practice fully open to reporters this summer. Here’s what I observed at the Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Florida. UPDATE: Today’s BGN Radio practice recap podcast is LIVE!
EAGLES PRACTICE NOTES
• Pretty hot and humid day in Florida. I was sweating through my clothes (apologies for the visual) just watching from the end zone view. I can only imagine what it was like to be the players practicing in this weather.
• Big picture takeaway: The Dolphins were the better team on Wednesday. Their offense moved the ball with relative ease while their defense prevented the Eagles’ offense from getting much cooking. First time in the Nick Sirianni era that the Birds weren’t the better team in a joint training camp practice. The undefeated streak is over.
• In fairness to the Eagles, home field advantage may have been in play with the Dolphins players more used to the weather. The Dolphins also had a rest advantage from having last played on Saturday while the Eagles played on Sunday. And the Fish were at home while the Birds were on the road in Cleveland. Of course, the Dolphins actually played their starters in their second preseason game while the Eagles completely rested theirs.
• JALEN HURTS STOCK REPORT: While he didn’t make an obviously terrible throws, he also didn’t flash much. The offense as a whole failed to get much going against the Dolphins’ defense and the quarterback didn’t help them get going.
1-on-1: Hurts put a ball a bit far in front of A.J. Brown down the left sideline (first rep in this clip) but the wide receiver managed to tip it to himself with one hand to beat Xavien Howard. Brown also beat Howard by faking a deeper route and then coming back inside for a short completion. Brown’s not too bad, huh? Hurts made a good back shoulder throw to DeVonta Smith on the right side of the field. Hurts overthrew Quez Watkins twice down the left sideline.
7-on-7: Hurts had a good throw over the middle to Quez Watkins (second rep in this video). He had completions to Brown and Dallas Goedert along the sideline.
11-on-11: Doing his best Sam Bradford impersonation, Hurts checked the ball down a ton. I don’t think he attempted more than one pass over 20 yards in full team drills. There’s obviously some value to be had in checking it down as opposed to forcing it. But there’s a balance to be struck when it comes to being aggressive. I’m not sure Hurts did his best to maximize his opportunities as much as he went conservative to avoid big mistakes. And the result was a relatively stagnant offense that failed to move the ball. The Dolphins deserve credit for playing well; they have talent in the secondary and they blitzed Hurts a decent amount. Still would have been nice to see more from Hurts. At one point, he was sacked on back-to-back reps after holding the ball too long. He had a short pass knocked down by Melvin Ingram, who dropped into coverage instead of rushing. Hurts seemingly* connected with DeVonta Smith for a gain of at least 30 yards but a better throw in stride could’ve set up a touchdown instead of needing Smith to Moss Nik Needham to make the catch.
Again, there’s a fine line when it comes to a quarterback aggression. You obviously don’t want to see Hurts being careless with the ball. And, to his credit, he largely hasn’t been. But you also don’t want your quarterback leaving big plays on the field with regularity. And it felt like Hurts could’ve given his receivers more chances than he did today. He certainly felt more comfortable doing that much last week in Cleveland.
Hurts was clearly the lesser of the two former Alabama quarterbacks in today’s practice. By contrast, Tua Tagovailoa (who I’ve never even been a big believer in) was better.
*The result of this play was in dispute. Some thought Smith didn’t complete the catch; the Inquirer’s Josh Tolentino noted that the refs at practice ruled an incompletion. From where John Clark and I were standing, we were pretty confident it was a completed pass.
• JALEN HURTS STOCK TRACKER OVERVIEW
Day 1: Stock even
Day 2: Stock down
Day 3: Stock down
Day 4: Stock even
Day 5: Stock up
Day 6: Stock down
Day 7: Stock even
Day 8: Stock up
Day 9: Stock even
Day 10: Stock up
Day 11: Stock down
Day 12: Stock up
Day 13: Stock up
Day 14: Stock even
Day 15: Stock down
• EAGLES INJURY NEWS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: Jack Anderson (ribs), Shaun Bradley (illness), Christian Ellis (hamstring), Javon Hargrave (toe), Josh Jobe (elbow), Jason Kelce (elbow), Miles Sanders (hamstring), Josiah Scott (hamstring), Greg Ward (toe)
Sanders has now missed five straight practices.
The Anderson, Bradley, Jobe, and Scott injuries are new following the Eagles’ second preseason game. Hopefully they’re not too serious.
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: James Bradberry (groin)
Good to see Bradberry taking a step closer to returning.
INJURED DURING PRACTICE: Darius Slay was limping after this rep:
This is the play Darius Slay seemed to hurt his leg. A 1on1 vs Tyreek Hill is almost unfair— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) August 24, 2022
Slay would come back in. But then seemed to be favoring his leg again. And then met with trainers. And didn’t return for last few 11on11 drills
He didn’t immediately miss time, though, coming back to face Hill for another 1-on-1 rep. He gave up a completion over the middle this time. Slay was later seen sitting on the ground and getting looked at by a trainer. He didn’t participate in practice after that. The early indication is that the lower body injury isn’t super serious but the Eagles could be smart to shut him down for a bit.
Landon Dickerson and Lane Johnson missed some reps towards the end of practice. Could have been heat-related but it’s unclear.
• FIGHT! The Dolphins did not like how Dickerson pancaked Jaelan Phillips on a run to the right side. Some shoving led to a scrum that quickly got broken up. We’ll see if that heats up again tomorrow.
• Cam Jurgens did not back down after Dolphins defensive tackle Raekwon Davis got in his face following a 1-on-1 rep. Davis used a bullrush to drive Jurgens back but the rookie kept the rusher contained in front of him.
• Even more chippy behavior: Derek Barnett was getting into it a bit with the Dolphins’ offensive line. Surprise, surprise.
• First team kickoff coverage unit from left to right: Zach Pascal/Marcus Epps (rotated), Mac McCain, Patrick Johnson, Davion Taylor, Kyron Johnson, Jake Elliott, Boston Scott, K’Von Wallace, Nakobe Dean, Tay Gowan, Kary Vincent Jr.
Josiah Scott, Bradley, and Jobe would be running with that unit if they weren’t hurt. McCain, Gowan, and KVJ were the ones likely elevated with their absences.
• Between this week and last, Jordan Mailata’s gotten called for multiple false starts in practice. Something to clean up.
• Wasn’t just the Eagles’ passing offense that struggled to get going. The Dolphins had their running game on lock. Run to the left by Kenneth Gainwell? Swallowed up. Hurts pitch to Boston Scott on an option play? Dolphins were there to force the pitch and then stuff Scott for either a loss or no gain.
• Overall good day for Gardner Minshew. He made multiple anticipation throws to a spot that allowed Zach Pascal to catch the ball in stride. Pascal really had his way with the Dolphins’ second team defense. One bad Minshew moment was when he underthrew an open Pascal for what could’ve been a deep completion.
• I didn’t happen to catch his best moments but Haason Reddick was said to have had a strong practice today. BGN Radio spoiler alert: Jimmy Kempski made him his MVP in today’s episode. You can listen for the reasoning.
• Jack Stoll bobbled a catch for what might’ve been a fumble; not perfectly sure if he got two steps down or if it was incomplete. Either way, not great considering there was no one even near him.
• I noticed Slay hug Teddy Bridgewater before 1-on-1s. Maybe he was thanking the Dolphins’ backup QB for not trying to tackle him on his fumble return touchdown against the Denver Broncos last year.
• For context purposes, here’s where I was watching today’s practice from. As opposed to most other reporters taking the easy route by sitting in the shaded bleachers! And as opposed to the Browns practice setup where you had to pick a sideline to be on so you were closer to one field and further from the opposite one.
In Miami for Eagles vs. Dolphins practices. pic.twitter.com/cY5argPiSU— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 24, 2022
• Today in Jimmy Kempski’s daily training camp interview series for BGN Radio: Dave Zangaro.
UP NEXT: The Eagles will practice against the Dolphins again on Thursday starting around 10:15 AM Eastern. It’ll be the final Eagles training camp practice open to media this summer. Then the Birds will have a walkthrough on Friday before playing their preseason finale on Saturday.