Today marked the sixteenth Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice ahead of the 2022 NFL season. It was supposed to be the Eagles’ second practice against the Dolphins but Miami decided to withdraw due to illness concerns. And so the Eagles practiced against themselves instead. It was their final session fully open to media access this year. Here’s what I observed at the Baptist Health Training Complex in Miami Gardens, Florida.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: My BGN Radio co-host had a flight to catch, so he couldn’t record a practice recap podcast today. We’re aiming to record after I get back in Philly on Friday afternoon. Sorry for the delay. In the meantime, enjoy our conversation with Eagles preseason analyst Ross Tucker!
EAGLES PRACTICE NOTES
• Nick Sirianni met with reporters this morning and notably stated that Jalen Hurts had his “best practice he’s had as an Eagle.” Many were quick to bring this up to me after I gave Hurts a ‘stock down’ determination yesterday. If you want to make the argument that Hurts looked a little better than he was perceived to be, I think that’s reasonable. Best practice ever, though? That’s hyperbolic. And I think the vast majority of practice observers would agree with that much. It’s true that, as outside observers, we don’t totally know what Hurts was being asked to do on those plays. But it seems silly to me to be handing out gold stars to a quarterback performance where the offense struggled to move the ball. Not to mention the play where Hurts underthrew DeVonta Smith for what could’ve been a touchdown. Sirianni is obviously really big on supporting his players. Look no further than how he wears t-shirts with their names and likeness on them. And I’m not going begrudge him for having their backs, especially when it comes to the starting QB! But I do think he could’ve more reasonably said Hurts had a better day than he was credited for as opposed to claiming it was an all-time practice performance. That was a bit much to me.
• JALEN HURTS STOCK REPORT: Last year, Hurts finished training camp on a high note. My headline for my final practice observations post was literally “Eagles vs. Jets Training Camp Practice Notes: Jalen Hurts finishes strong.”
This year, not so much.
Hurts had one of his weaker showings on Thursday with the Eagles focusing on red zone work.
7-on-7: Darius Slay broke up a Hurts pass to DeVonta Smith on a route to the right side. Hurts came back with a nice back shoulder touchdown throw to DeVonta. The nice thing about that play was he threw with anticipation to a spot before the receiver’s break. Hurts had a pass over the middle to Dallas Goedert that was perhaps catchable but looked lower than it needed to be and ended up incomplete.
11-on-11: Hurts held the ball for a long time and eventually got ‘sacked’ by Haason Reddick to kill a play. Hurts had a nice completion on a Goedert out route to the left sideline to beat Zech McPhearson. Hurts threw a shovel pass to Goedert but the blocking didn’t quite allow for him to get into the end zone. Hurts threw an accurate ball to Zach Pascal, who is absolutely going to vulture touchdowns in fantasy football this year, in the front right corner of the end zone for a score. Hurts threw short/low on another back shoulder attempt to DeVonta in the end zone. Hurts threw behind an open Quez Watkins over the middle and a defender got a hand on the ball but it ended up incomplete.
Hurts ended up getting picked twice in 11-on-11. To his credit, it’s been some time now since he’s turned the ball over. Hurts threw a pass to the right side of the field that looked like it was nearly batted down by Anthony Harris, who missed it, before it actually went right to Slay for the interception. The second pick was when Hurts underthrew DeVonta on a fade and the ball ended up in the hands of a leaping Avonte Maddox. Hurts almost threw a third pick when McPhearson broke up a contested catch attempt and somehow nearly grabbed possession of the ball while going to the ground. The ref ruled the play incomplete but it was almost an awesome defensive play.
I’m quite confident that Sirianni will not be saying that this performance topped Wednesday as Hurts’ best practice ever.
• 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
Day 16: Stock down
The final tally is five stock up days, five stock even days, and six stock down days. If you want to include Hurts’ good preseason showing against the New York Jets in there, you can bump him up to six stock up days.
• EAGLES INJURY NEWS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: Derek Barnett (ribs), Shaun Bradley (illness), AJ Brown (rest), Andre Chachere (groin), Landon Dickerson (rest), Christian Ellis (hamstring), Javon Hargrave (toe), Josh Jobe (elbow), Jason Kelce (elbow), Miles Sanders (hamstring), Josiah Scott (hamstring), Greg Ward (toe)
The Barnett, Brown, Chachere, and Dickerson absences were new.
Sanders has now missed six straight practices.
Not good for the Eagles’ already-thin safety depth that both Chachere and Scott are banged up.
James Bradberry returned to practice in full after being limited on Wednesday. That’s a positive development.
• Not the sharpest day for Gardner Minshew, either. He did have a nice touchdown throw to Kenneth Gainwell. He got picked off by Tarron Jackson after a pass over the middle was deflected. Another throw on a crossing route was knocked down by Reed Blankenship, who continues to look good. Minshew threw a ball to a spot while drifting to his left and it was nearly picked by Josh Blackwell but ended up incomplete after another defender collided into him. Minshew did cap off a drive with a short touchdown throw to John Hightower in the front right corner of the end zone.
• Boston Scott had a touchdown run to the left side that the offense was fired up about. Coaches seemed to really like that one. As did Scott, who jumped up to pat the back of his offensive line’s helmets as they were huddling for the next rep.
• Kenneth Gainwell had one of his best practices of the summer. He caught a pass from Minshew over the middle in the end zone for a score and then later had a good run. Good to see him looking better recently.
• ROSTER MOVE: The Eagles filled the roster spot they opened by trading Ugo Amadi to re-sign Josh Blackwell. They had just recently cut Blackwell to get down to the 80-player limit. Blackwell will now get a chance to take snaps in Saturday’s preseason game but his return to the team will very likely be short-lived.
• Tyree Jackson was doing some running off to the side. I would guess he’ll be ready to return from the PUP list sooner than Brett Toth will. Perhaps as soon as Week 5. Of course, it remains to be seen if the Eagles want to activate him at that point.
• Two notable moments from DeVonta following practice:
1) He chose Hurts when asked to pick one player who’s going to have a big season.
2) He admitted he has a Wawa addiction.
Same, DeVonta. Same.
• Thanks for following along with BGN’s training camp coverage! I feel very fortunate to be able to say that I just completed my 10th training camp covering this team. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this was possible as a kid who grew up loving the Eagles so much. Thank you for helping me turn my passion into a career.
• Here’s hoping there’s a fun season ahead! Don’t go anywhere because we’ll be covering it every step of the way.
UP NEXT: The Eagles will have a walkthrough closed to media on Friday before playing their final preseason game against the Dolphins on Saturday evening (assuming no further cancellations). Then the Eagles must trim their roster down from 80 to 53 players at some point before 4:00 PM Eastern on Tuesday, August 30.