Eagles

Eagles Camp Observations: Tough day for Josh Huff

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Eagles Camp Observations: Tough day for Josh Huff

The bad news: The Eagles are "a little short" at wide receiver, says offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur. More on that here.

The good news: They're not short at cornerback, as Curtis Marsh (remember him?) has come out of nowhere and is making plays. More on him here.

More observations from Day 9 of camp:

Rising stock
Aside from Marsh, Malcolm Jenkins and Cary Williams put forth strong practices. He broke up a touchdown pass in 7-on-7s and smothered the elusive Damaris Johnson down the right seam in 1-on-1s to force an incompletion. Williams kept towering wideout Ifeanyi Momah in check down the left sideline on a deep pass from Foles down the left sideline in 7-on-7s.

Falling stock
Rookie receiver Josh Huff had a tough time making routine catches and getting separation. He dropped a real easy one at the 5-yard line from Mark Sanchez in 11-on11s with Marsh in front of him. Must have heard those footsteps. Also got out-muscled by Brandon Boykin in 11-on-11s, which Boykin turned into a pick. Huff did have a nice third-down reception along the left sideline that appeared to be out of bounds, but he was given the benefit of the doubt.

Reminder of the Day
Brent Celek might be behind Zach Ertz on the targets totem pole for tight ends, but he’s still a dangerous weapon in the end zone. He caught a 5-yard touchdown from Nick Foles. Celek beat DeMeco Ryans to bring in Foles’ quick hit.

Throws of the day
Tie between Mark Sanchez's threading a small window in the end zone to find a sprawling Damaris Johnson and Nick Foles’ back-shoulder touchdown toss to Brad Smith on a back-shoulder throw at the goal line along the right sideline with Brad Fletcher covering.

Critic of the Day
Lito Sheppard, an intern coach and former playmaking corner from the Super Bowl team, hardly praised Davon Morgan for his breakup on a Hail Mary at the end of an 11-on-11 drill. After hearing Morgan strut his stuff, Sheppard chided the rookie corner for not getting the pick.

Tips of the Day
Inside linebacker Emmanuel Acho stretched high to break up Matt Barkley’s toss to James Casey in the right corner of the end zone. A few plays later, safety Malcolm Jenkins did the same to disrupt G.J. Kinne’s pass to Emil Igwenagu.

Duel of the Day
The highlight of practice was the slot battle between Boykin and receiver Jordan Matthews. Boykin played tight and physical with Matthews, who’s adapting to the slot and asked Boykin to give him his best shot.

Boykin jammed the ball away from Matthews during a 1-on-1 breakup. In another 1-on-1, Boykin started his press before the ball was even snapped, jarring Matthews so early the play had to be restarted. Matthews then beat Boykin across the middle for a nice catch. Later, in 7-on-7s, Boykin again got physical to break up a Nick Foles pass to Matthews on the left side.

Blow-up of the Day
Defensive end Cedric Thornton capitalized on a blocking miscommunication and barreled through scrimmage before the running play play could develop.

Keep an eye on …
Offensive tackle Andrew Gardner. He’s been running at second team left tackle. The team needs a third reserve offensive lineman behind Matt Tobin and Julian Vandervelde (or third-string center David Molk) while Lane Johnson serves his four-game suspension. Gardner, in his fifth season, has held his own at camp and stands to be that guy, at least until Johnson returns.

The team is allowed a roster exemption for the first four weeks. Gardner, a 2009 sixth-round pick by Miami, has signed with five different teams in his career before coming to Philly. He played three games in 2011 and three more in 2012 with Houston.

Henery vs. Murderleg
It wasn’t even close. Alex Henery made all five of his attempts, including two from beyond 50, while Cary Spear hooked three of his five wide left.

Injury update
Bryan Braman took a few plays off after colliding with Darren Sproles on kick-return duty. Looked like got the wind knocked out of him. Read here for the rest.

Up next
The Eagles have a light walkthrough on Wednesday as they prepare for Friday’s preseason game against the Bears. They usually have a walkthrough two days before a game and do some running and special teams work the day before.

Eagles rookie report: Barnett's best game; Hollins' 1st score

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USA Today Images

Eagles rookie report: Barnett's best game; Hollins' 1st score

The rookies contributed in a big way to the Eagles' 34-24 win over the Redskins at the Linc on Monday night (see breakdown).

First-round pick Derek Barnett played his best game, WR Mack Hollins scored his first TD and RB Corey Clement showed off his improving skill set for the 6-1 Eagles.

Let's take a look at some of the highlights in this week's rookie report.

1st quarter, 5:05, 1st-and-10 at WAS 7 - Redskins 3, Eagles 0
Corner Rasul Douglas was the first rook to make a play in this one. Playing off coverage as he has for most of the season, he lined up against WR Ryan Grant, the lone receiver on the left. Grant ran a short hitch. Douglas made another aggressive play on the ball, reading the route and the quarterback and tackling Grant immediately for a three-yard gain.

1st quarter, 4:26, 2nd-and-7 at WAS 10 - Redskins 3, Eagles 0
Barnett made a rookie mistake on this play. QB Kirk Cousins faked the handoff to RB Rob Kelley to the right and then rolled back to his left. With all of Barnett's momentum going right, a slight chip block from TE Jordan Reed knocked Barnett off balance. As Barnett is on the ground, Cousins was allowed to roll left and find TE Niles Paul for a 32-yard completion.

1st quarter, 3:05, 3rd-and-2 at 50 - Redskins 3, Eagles 0
It didn't take long for Barnett to get redemption. The Redskins unwisely tried to block Barnett with a tight end. This might work on defensive ends who don't have a high pursuit level, but as we've seen, that's not the case with Barnett. Every play that I've seen him 1-on-1 against a tight end, he won the matchup with ease. He got right around Reed and brought down Cousins for his first solo NFL sack (he recorded a 1/2 sack last week in Carolina). 

2nd quarter, 3:19, 2nd-and-16 at PHI 36 - Redskins 10, Eagles 3
This was really the turning point of the game. The Eagles couldn't get much going and Carson Wentz just took a sack to make it 2nd-and-long. Hollins lined up on the line to the right with Alshon Jeffery bunched behind him. Hollins ran down the field and gave a great head fake on a corner route to safety D.J. Swearinger before he turned on the jets and left Swearinger in the dust. Wentz threw a dime and Hollins snagged his first NFL touchdown. The route tree at North Carolina isn't exactly sophisticated. It's something Hollins has worked on and it really showed on this play.

3rd quarter, 9:43, 3rd-and-goal at WSH 9 - Eagles 17, Redskins 10
If the Hollins' touchdown was the turning point, this might have been the nail in the coffin. Coming out of the locker room, the Eagles drove right down the field and were in danger of having to settle for a field goal. Wentz lined up in the shotgun with Clement lined up next to him on the right. Washington sent a heavy blitz. Clement ran a wheel route on LB Zach Brown. Wentz defied physics to get off a tremendous throw under pressure. Brown had tight coverage but the ball is in a perfect spot where only Clement can get. And boy did Clement get it. He made an unbelievable catch and did an even better job keeping his feet in bounds.

3rd quarter, 4:12, 2nd-and-6 at PHI 48 - Eagles 24, Redskins 10
This was a tremendous play by Barnett. He set a hard edge on a bull rush against perennial All-Pro tackle Trent Williams and drove the veteran tackle backwards. He then came from behind to tackle Kelley for a one-yard loss. This play was even more impressive than the sack given it was against arguably the best left tackle in football.

4th quarter, 12:59, 3rd-and-6 at PHI 48 - Eagles 24, Redskins 17
This was an interesting play call. Doug Pederson either saw something the Redskins were doing on third down or really trusts his defense. Clement took the ball off tackle left. Backup tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai did a great job driving his defender backward while Clement patiently waited behind him. Clement was able to get the first down and keep what eventually turned into a touchdown drive going.

Analysis
Barnett was tremendous. He looked like a completely different player than he did in Week 1 against Williams (granted Williams has been hobbled by an injury). He's starting to get more comfortable in his secondary pass rush moves, including breaking out a nice spin move on one play. His confidence is growing week by week (see Roob's observations). With his two sacks tonight, he's now recorded 2.5 sacks the last two weeks. Not too shabby.

When Hollins was drafted by the Eagles, they acknowledged his prowess on special teams, but Howie Roseman was quick to point out that Hollins was more than that. He certainly showed that tonight. As previously mentioned, route running wasn't considered Hollins' strength coming out. But you could see on his college tape that he had the quick feet and suddenness to turn into a decent route runner. Hollins had just one catch, but he made it count.

Clement had a fumble in the fourth quarter that he recovered but maximized the rest of his touches. The work he's put in on becoming a better pass catcher has clearly paid off. And yet again he shows off his patience and vision when running the ball. Not bad for a guy who seemed like a long shot to make the team when the preseason started.

Jake Elliott apparently is human. After making his 12th straight kick — a 50-yarder — earlier in the game, he missed a 45-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.

Eagles 34, Redskins 24: Studs, duds, turning point and more

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Eagles 34, Redskins 24: Studs, duds, turning point and more

The Eagles didn't look like the best team in the NFL. Not even close.

For most of the first half on Monday Night Football, the Eagles were a mess. They were committing penalties, giving up big plays and floundering on offense.

Then things changed.

Then Carson Wentz started to look like an MVP. And then the Eagles started to look like the team fans in Philadelphia have become used to seeing over the first half of the season.

They started to look like the best team in the NFL again.

The Eagles recovered from their early missteps to beat Washington 34-24 at the Linc on Monday night to remain in control of the division and the conference (see 10 observations).

With the win, the Eagles are 6-1 and are all alone with the best record in the NFL. They also gained more ground, sweeping the season series with Washington, which fell to 3-3.

While the Eagles picked up a big win, they did suffer a couple losses. Jason Peters (knee) and Jordan Hicks (ankle) both left the game and did not return. The Eagles have lost important players before but these will be hard to overcome. 

Wentz was dynamic on Monday Night Football. In a second straight nationally televised game, Wentz dazzled and showed why his name is at the forefront of the NFL MVP discussion.

Wentz completed 17 of 25 passes for 268 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. His four touchdowns went to four different receivers. Wentz finished the game with a passer rating of 126.3. It's the third game in a row he's had a passer rating over 100 and it's just the sixth such game of his career.

Turning point
The Eagles looked awful early in the game, but then they broke out of a funk when Wentz hit Mack Hollins on a 64-yard touchdown bomb. That changed the game and brought some life back into the Linc.

Key stat
Before the Arizona game, Wentz had never had a three-touchdown game. He has three in a row now and 11 in three games.

Wentz has more touchdown passes in the last three games (11) than 19 teams have all season.

Offensive stud
Wentz is the real deal. After a bad start, he made some spectacular plays and carried the team. He's a legitimate MVP candidate.

Offensive dud
Torrey Smith didn't have much of an impact. He didn't have a catch and was targeted just once.

Defensive stud
Malcolm Jenkins played a great game on Monday night. He was everywhere. He stopped Jordan Reed on a key third down before Wentz hit Hollins on the deep touchdown pass.

Defensive dud
We'll give this to Najee Goode but that's probably unfair. It looked like Chris Thompson was his responsibility on the touchdown. Hard duty, as Jim Schwartz would say.

Key plays
• Corey Graham picked off a Kirk Cousins pass to give the Eagles great field position and Jake Elliott drilled a 42-yarder to add three more points.

• On 3rd-and-8, Wentz somehow pulled off a magic trick and escaped a sure sack. He was able to escape and scramble for 17 yards. He capped the drive with a touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor. It was Wentz's fourth TD pass of the game and it put the Eagles up 31-17.

• Cousins hit Reed on a short touchdown pass to cut into the Eagles' lead. It made the score 24-17.

• Wentz threw a ridiculous pass while getting hit by two guys and hit Corey Clement in the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown. Clement tapped both feet in to put the Eagles up 24-10.

• After a Washington three-and-out, Wentz and the Eagles got the ball with 1:52 left in the half and drove down to score another touchdown. The big play on the drive was a 46-yarder to Zach Ertz, who then caught a four-yard touchdown pass to put the Eagles up 17-10.

• Wentz hit Hollins on a 64-yard touchdown bomb in the second quarter to tie the game at 10-10. It was Wentz's fourth 50-yard pass of the season. He had just three all last season.

• Cousins found Thompson for a seven-yard touchdown to put Washington up 10-3. Thompson was wide open in the flat and the Eagles were missing Jordan Hicks and Mychal Kendricks.

• Elliott drilled a 50-yarder to start the second-quarter scoring. It was his 11th straight make.

• Derek Barnett picked up his first solo sack to end a Washington drive in the first quarter. It came at a good time.

• After Washington kicked a field goal on their opening drive, the Eagles' first offensive drive was a disaster. They had four penalties and gained just five yards. It ended when Wentz threw a deep interception that was basically an interception.

Injuries
Ronald Darby (ankle) might return next week but was inactive against Washington. So was Mychal Kendricks (hamstring), who popped up on the Eagles' injury report during the week.

The Eagles lost Hicks (ankle) on the second play of the game and Peters (knee) on the first drive of the second half (see story).

Up next
The Eagles have two more home games before their bye week. Next Sunday, they'll face the winless 49ers and then face the Broncos before their week off.