Here’s what we learned today.
Today marked the third day of 2018 Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp practice. The Eagles were in pads for the first time but they didn’t do any live tackling drills. Here’s what I observed.
• Daily Carson Wentz update: I already wrote about Wentz’s practice performance at length here. The short of it is that I’m very confident he’s starting in Week 1. One thing I didn’t mention in that piece is that Wentz threw multiple picks today. Time to bench him (jk). The first one took place in a 3-on-2 drill where Matt Jones seemingly stopped running his route and Wentz threw right to Jordan Hicks instead. The second one came on an underthrown ball to Mack Hollins. Maybe it was a miscommunication but I’ll put that one on Wentz for now. Wentz was picked off a third time when he targeted Hollins again but the ball ended up in the hands of the Green Goblin. It looked like Wentz was expecting the receiver to stop his route shorter. Maybe those two guys need to do a better job of getting on the same page. Even with the interceptions, there was way more positive than negative from No. 11.
• Dallas Goedert (AKA Philly Goedert) just looks unguardable out there sometimes. He made a great contested catch on a throw from Wentz while a linebacker was draped all over him. I don’t know how he managed to catch it and hold on. Later on, Goedert got open down the field for a 25-yard gain. He just gets open and catches the ball. Good things to do as a tight end. For real, though, this second-round rookie has had a very encouraging offseason. [Benjamin Solak wrote more about Goedert’s big day here.]
• Add Jalen Mills to today’s list of standout players. As noted yesterday, Mills has had a strong offseason. He’s stood out in camp with multiple pass breakups on a daily basis. He even notched an interception on Wentz today. I know some suggest Mills should go to the bench but that’s not happening. Jim Schwartz loves him and Mills is not playing like a guy who deserves to lose his starting job.
• Mills’ influence is clearly rubbing off on some of the young guys. Undrafted rookie free agent safety Stephen Roberts broke out his finger wag after deflecting a pass today.
• Sidney Jones was back at first team nickel corner today. That’s two days for him now with De’Vante Bausby getting one. Jones stood out to me on a play where Wentz threw to Agholor in the flat and Jones flew over to make the “tackle” on Nelly to eliminate any YAC potential. Bausby, meanwhile, had a nice leaping pass breakup during 7-on-7.
• I continue to be impressed by Nelson Agholor, who just looks faster than ever. Not to say he was slow before ... it’s just that he looks even faster. For example, he burned Rodney McLeod deep with ease in a WR vs. DB drill. Agholor led the Eagles in average separation yards last season and he’ll likely do so again this year.
• Hollins burned Rasul Douglas deep on a double move in WR vs. DB drills. Real smooth route-running from the receiver.
• Douglas bounced back with a pass breakup on his next rep. He got beat on the play but his long arms saved him from allowing a completion.
• Rashard Davis burned Malcolm Jenkins deep during WR vs. DB.
• Not surprising but Michael Bennett was absolutely destroying second team offensive linemen like Matt Pryor and Taylor Hart. The 32-year-old vet sure looks fresh. He also got fired up on a play where Steven Means made a stop at the line of scrimmage. He ran out from the sideline to high-five his teammate.
• Fletcher Cox blew up a running play with a tackle for loss. Keep an eye on that guy. He seems to be pretty good.
• Isaac Seumalo continues to struggle with snapping the ball. When I say he snaps the ball high at times, he snaps it so high that the quarterback doesn’t even really have a chance to get it. The Eagles’ second team center did this once during practice today and earned a scolding from both Doug Pederson and assistant offensive line Eugene Chung. “Cut that out, Isaac!” — In other Seumalo news, the Eagles are still using him as a big tight end in certain first team packages. But then again that was when Halapoulivaati Vaitai was giving Jason Peters a break at left tackle. It could easily be Big V who replaces Seumalo in that role when Peters is playing.
• Shelton Gibson had a bad drop during team drills. He was wide open over the middle. Shades of 2017 Training Camp. He did rebound by showing off more consistency throughout practice.
• Corey Nelson and Nate Gerry both got some first team WILL linebacker reps. Kamu Grugier-Hill was lining up at both SAM and MIKE at times with some of the backup units.
• Another interesting linebacker note: the Eagles put Jordan Hicks at first team WILL with Joe Walker lining up at MIKE and Nigel Bradham at SAM. Never seen that one before. It only lasted for one rep.
• Every year there’s a guy in training camp who is practicing hard to the point where it can be obnoxious. Ernie Sims used to be this guy. He’d get a little too physical at times to the point where he was kind of just being a dick. Terrence Brooks did this a few times last year and actually got called out by the coaching staff at one point. This year’s version of that guy appears to be LaRoy Reynolds. I noticed him aggressively try to strip the ball out from a receiver after a play was over. Might not be the worst way to toughen up some young guys but he’s probably asking for a fight if he does that with some of the more established vets.
• Tre Sullivan continues to receive first team reps when the Eagles utilize some three safety looks. He has the potential to take over the Corey Graham role.
• Destiny Vaeao seems to be getting a decent amount of first team defensive tackle snaps with Haloti Ngata working with the second team. Interesting.
• I’ve received a good amount of questions about how Jordan Mailata looks. The answer: not very good, overall. He did have one encouraging moment today, though, when he picked up Danny Ezechukwu on a stunt. One Eagles coach shouted out “Nice pickup!” which is funny because BGN alumuns Jimmy Kempski said the same exact thing a few seconds before that.
• Donnel Pumphrey lined up wide at open point during install and had a reception. I continue to be cautiously optimistic about what I’ve seen from him overall. Emphasis on the caution. I did find it curious that he was lined up as a jammer (guy who blocks the gunner) during special teams drills instead of just being one of the returners.
• Punt returners included Darren Sproles, Nelson Agholor, and Markus Wheaton.
• Matt Jones broke off a nice little run at one point where he juked a defender in the backfield and then exploded to the edge for a good gain. Jones earned praise from the coaching staff after that play.
• Joe Ostman, a favorite of mine, sniffed out jet sweep to Rashard Davis and had him dead in the backfield for a tackle for loss.
• Richard Rodgers dropped a pass during group install (no defense). He doesn’t often impress. He’s pretty much Just A Guy, which is ultimately fine for the third tight end spot.
• Cameron Johnston’s punting is still inconsistent. As Solak tweeted, the Aussie punter has power, but he’s not great when it comes to directional kicking.
• I enjoyed seeing Chris Long and Malcolm Jenkins race to where the ball was placed to begin 11-on-11 drills. The competition isn’t just limited to the on-field drills. Not sure who won; it looked pretty close.
• Some Eagles fans started to do the “FOLES!” version of the Vikings’ SKOL chant as the Super Bowl MVP walked past Eagles fans and back into the locker room today.
• Another post-practice highlight was when Doug Pederson, with a cup of mango water ice in his hand, popped in during Mike Groh’s press conference and jokingly asked: “Coach, I know you don’t want to put a timetable on Carson …” before laughing and taking off. Long live Doug.
• I forgot to mention the Rita’s Water Ice cart at Eagles practice has the same four flavors from last year: Swedish Fish, mango, lemonade, and blue raspberry. I just listed them for you in order of best to worst. The former two (SF and mango) are in a much higher tier than the latter two. I still maintain Sour Patch Kids red is the best Rita’s flavor of all time. Meanwhile, pumpkin pie is their worst.
• Here’s 42 minutes worth of video from Eagles training camp. (Click here if you can’t see the embed.)
LIVE FROM EAGLES TRAINING CAMP PRACTICEPosted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Saturday, July 28, 2018
Up next: Right back at it tomorrow with another Eagles training camp practice. Sunday’s start time is set for 9:15 AM ET. Stay tuned to BGN, as always.
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