Despite the threat of rain, the Eagles worked outside on Tuesday and were lucky: Drops never fell during the hour and a half practice.
Here are 10 observations from the fourth practice (second open to reporters) of OTAs:
1. We’ve spent so much time over the last couple years talking about Carson Wentz’s knee and his back. Let’s talk about his right arm. Because he has an absolute cannon and it was on full display today. He fired several passes into tight windows. Those are just throws that not a lot of guys in the world can make.
It’s hard to pick his best throw of the day, but he did hit DeSean Jackson perfectly in stride on a post to beat Avonte Maddox, who actually had tight coverage. Just before that, he hit Zach Ertz with a beautiful touch pass. Earlier in the practice, he threaded a pass to Jordan Howard.
It’s still just May, but Wentz looks good. He doesn’t look like his knee or back are bothering him. He’ll need to prove he can stay healthy, but this could be the beginning of a great season for No. 11.
2. Let’s do attendance. I didn’t see the following players at practice: Mack Hollins, Alshon Jeffery, Malcolm Jenkins, Corey Clement, Jalen Mills, Paul Worrilow, Nigel Bradham, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox.
• Rodney McLeod and Miles Sanders were at practice but were just watching. Sanders wasn’t practicing last Tuesday either. Not a great start for the rookie running back, who did participate in rookie camp after the draft.
• Linebacker Zach Brown was at practice but also not participating. He was not on the field at all last Tuesday when the voluntary OTAs began.
• Nate Gerry and Derek Barnett were at practice, but didn’t participate in team drills. Gerry’s injury is unknown, but Barnett is still coming back from his shoulder surgery during last season. No need to rush him.
• Josh Adams, who had shoulder surgery this offseason, was practicing. He was off to the side last week.
3. The Eagles’ cornerback situation was a little different today than it was last Tuesday. In first-team nickel, Rasul Douglas was outside and Sidney Jones was in the slot. Jones played some outside and inside today. Expect Jim Schwartz to tinker with lineup combinations all spring and summer. They did that last year with even less depth. The second-team corners were Josh Hawkins and Jeremiah McKinnon outside and Cre’Von LeBlanc in the slot.
Another defensive depth chart observation: Without Worrilow or Gerry, the Eagles had Kamu Grugier-Hill, L.J. Fort and Alex Singleton as their base LBs.
4. The Eagles’ first-team offensive line remained the same: Andre Dillard, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Jordan Mailata. Stefen Wisniewski took some first team reps at center to give Kelce a breather.
5. One of the most action-packed plays of the day came when Vinny Curry tossed aside offensive tackle Tyreek Burwell to pick up what would have been a sack. (The play before, Curry blew up a run.) But since there was no whistle, Clayton Thorson threw up a deep jump ball that was caught by rookie wideout Carlton Agudosi over Maddox. Agudosi is 6-6 and Maddox is 5-9.
6. The first-team defense had been shutting down the first-team offense in a red zone drill until Wentz threw a perfect back-shoulder ball to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for a touchdown. Sidney Jones offered tight coverage on the play, but he had no chance. This was our first chance to see Arcega-Whiteside show off his body control and focus, two defining characteristics of the second-round pick. He might not get a ton of playing time this season, but it would make sense for the Eagles to utilize him in the red zone.
7. Jackson worked in as a punt returner today, which certainly brings back memories. I’m not sure if he’ll hold that role permanently for the Eagles; he is 32 now. But it is possible they’ll throw him back there in big situations.
While this one was in the air, he commented on punter Cameron Johnston’s leg strength.
8. Nate Sudfeld made two impressive throws for touchdowns in red zone drills. One went to Richard Rodgers in the back left corner and the other went to Dallas Goedert in the back center part of the end zone. He didn’t have a great day otherwise, but these plays saved it.
Third-string QB Clayton Thorson also showed off his arm on a deep pass to Braxton Miller. The ball fell incomplete but it looked like Miller slowed down unnecessarily. Maybe he didn’t think Thorson could rifle it into the wind like that. He’ll know for next time.
9. The Eagles ran a flea flicker today. Wentz to Boston Scott to Wentz to Nelson Agholor down the field. Agholor made a few impressive catches on Tuesday. This wasn’t necessarily one of them, but he did have one that he caught with his fingertips and a one-hander that forced him to turn around his whole body.
10. Josh Perkins jumped offsides on a hard count and was tossed out of the huddle, replaced by Dallas Goedert. Coaches never have time for a mental mistake like that.
Stupid Observation of the Day: It looks like DeSean already has a celebratory handshake with Carson Wentz and one with Nelson Agholor.
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