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Eagles Training Camp Practice Observations: New linebackers already in the mix

Notes from the NovaCare Complex.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Today marked the eighth Philadelphia Eagles training camp practice ahead of the 2023 season. Here’s what I observed at the NovaCare Complex. NOTE: Stay tuned for today’s BGN Radio practice recap podcast that will be embedded directly below once the episode goes live.


JALEN HURTS WATCH: Up-and-down day for Hurts.

THE GOOD: Hurts rolled right and threw a strike downfield to a crossing Quez Watkins with Avonte Maddox trailing behind. Hurts completed all of his 7-on-7 passes, twice connecting with DeVonta Smith through accurate, on-time throws. Hurts also had a deep completion to Olamide Zaccheaus in that series.

THE BAD: Hurts overthrew a wide open D’Andre Swift on a swing pass. Hurts threw a pick to Reed Blankenship when the safety made a diving effort to catch an undethrown deep ball to Watkins along the right sideline.

Also notable: Hurts threw a pick to Justin Evans on a play that seemed to be a fourth-and-goal situation. He was looking for a tightly-covered A.J. Brown and threw a prayer up into the end zone that didn’t come close to working out. Can’t kill him for this interception since he was in a spot to force the issue ... but maybe he could’ve handled the rep better to not put himself in that position.

We’ll see if Hurts can heat up this week and carry that momentum into next week’s joint training camp practices against the Cleveland Browns. He’s been in a bit of a cool down since his hot start.

EAGLES INJURY REPORT: James Bradberry (groin) returned to practice, albeit in a limited capacity. He did not participate in team drills.

Nakobe Dean (ankle) is still not practicing. To this point, he’s missed team drills in four of the eight practices the team has held. Can’t say that’s ideal. On a positive note, Dean was doing some conditioning work on a side field and the team continues to say he’ll be back soon.

Devon Allen (calf) was activated from the active/non-football injury list. He was listed as limited and did not participate in team drills. Allen has an uphill battle to make the roster. He’ll really need to take advantage of his preseason snaps.

Patrick Johnson (ankle) missed his second straight practice after getting carted off on Friday. He’s expected back sooner than later.

Haason Reddick (groin soreness) and Avonte Maddox (toe) are no longer limited participants.

Deon Cain (ankle) missed his fifth straight practice. He seems to be nearing a return since he was doing some conditioning work on a side field.

Moro Ojomo was back in full after leaving practice early on Sunday due to getting poked in the eye.

NEW LINEBACKER UPDATES: Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham practiced with the Eagles for the first time since signing with the team. Jack took two of the five first-team reps at off-ball linebacker during the first 11-on-11 period. Christian Elliss took the other three while Nicholas Morrow played all five. Cunningham, who switched from No. 46 to No. 52 with Davion Taylor getting cut, was largely working next to Shaun Bradley on the second-team defense. Neither new guy did anything especially noteworthy.

• Second straight practice where Elliss has made a standout play in run support. Made a “tackle” for no gain today.

• Another good day for Quez Watkins. In addition to his aforementioned reception, he also had a contested catch down the left sideline on a deep ball slightly underthrown by Marcus Mariota. Watkins beat Josh Jobe to make the play. He’s had a relatively encouraging camp but we still need to see it translate to real game action.

• This was one of Mariota’s better practices. Perhaps his best? It’s not like he was awesome but I don’t have a lot of negative notes on him.

• Joseph Ngata continues to make a lot of catches. The man I once referred to as a poor man’s A.J. Brown has been especially effective on slants. Ngata’s strong hands stood out on a short grab where Kelee Ringo immediately tried to rip the ball out of his grasp. Do the Eagles keep him on the 53? Tough to say right now. He could force them to keep him around by shining in the preseason games.

• Offensive line vs. defensive line 1-on-1 notes: Cam Jurgens got pushed back by Fletcher Cox but managed to stay in front of the veteran. Jason Kelce stoned Jordan Davis. Davis drove the recently re-signed Josh Andrews backwards. Landon Dickerson shut down Milton Williams, who’s generally been good in 1-on-1. Case in point: Williams later managed to get around Jurgens. Jalen Carter and Sua Opeta had a good battle that ended in a stalemate. Carter pushed Josh Sills into the ground. Tyler Steen shoved Janarius Robinson after holding up against him. Steen also shut down Kyron Johnson. Marlon Tuipulotu quickly drove Andrews back into the simulated quarterback. Nolan Smith looked very fast rushing against Fred Johnson; the rookie seems hard to block when he moves so quick and it’s difficult to get your hands on him. Lining up at right tackle, Jack Driscoll got worked by Brandon Graham and Haason Reddick. Dennis Kelly fended off Tarron Jackson nicely. Ojomo has had some quality moments in 1-on-1; I think the rookie makes the roster.

• Andrews replaced Brett Toth as the backup center. A change was overdue with Toth struggling to properly snap the ball.

• There was a rep where the Eagles had Dallas Goedert and D’Andre Swift lined up out wide with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith on the inside. The Eagles’ first-team corners were on the outside targets and the play ended up being a Hurts completion over the middle to DeVonta.

• Sean Desai has experimented with mixed units on defense more than Jonathan Gannon did. Today the Eagles had a mix of first-, second-, and third-team guys working together at different points. One such combination had Terrell Edmunds and Sydney Brown as the safeties.

• UDFA CB Eli Ricks broke up an Ian Book throw to a receiver running an out route. Good PBU but also speaks to Book’s lack of arm strength.

New guy Johnny King, wearing No. 43, logged a catch during the end of practice developmental period.

• The Eagles had Boston Scott, Rashaad Penny, Kenneth Gainwell, Devon Allen, and ... A.J. Brown practicing some returns early in practice. Safe to say it would take a really unique situation to see No. 11 play that role in a real game.

• I noticed a fan who was wearing a No. 98 Robert Quinn Eagles jersey after practice. I have questions. Quinn, 33, is still a free agent after posting four tackles and zero tackles in nine games with the Birds.

UP NEXT: The Eagles practice again tomorrow morning starting at 10:00 AM Eastern. It’ll be the second of three straight practices this week.

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