While plenty of folks outside the hedged fences of the NovaCare Complex are still talking about the White House visit that wasn’t, the Eagles are trying to get back to life as usual.
On Wednesday morning, that meant taking the field for another OTA practice. Their ninth of 10. It was open to reporters.
Here are 10 observations:
1. Michael Bennett and Darren Sproles are still not at OTAs. They’re expected to show up next week for the Eagles’ mandatory minicamp. Fletcher Cox and Nigel Bradham were also missing Wednesday; no reason yet from the Eagles.
The following players were at practice but did not participate, presumably for injury or maintenance reasons: Haloti Ngata, Sidney Jones, Donnel Pumphrey, Josh Adams, Joe Walker, LaRoy Reynolds, Ryan Neal and Marquess Wilson.
2. Missing practice for Donnel Pumphrey simply can’t be a good thing for the second-year running back. After a terrible spring and summer a year ago, Pumphrey really has to prove himself if he wants to try to stick with the Eagles. Can’t do that from the sideline.
3. The Eagles did some new position drills. The receivers used cattle shoots, normally reserved for running backs to work on leverage, to keep them low in and out of their breaks.
And then the quarterbacks did drills in the pocket while they had giant rubber balls rolled toward them. The focus had to be about standing in the pocket and delivering a throw as that pocket collapses.
4. Carson Wentz did indeed participate in more today than we’ve seen from him before (see story). Today, he did 4-on-4 drills and later 7-on-7s. During those 7-on-7 drills, he completed two consecutive passes to his favorite target, Zach Ertz.
5. Speaking of tight ends, rookie Dallas Goedert caught two touchdowns from Nick Foles when the team did some red zone work. That might be a sign to come if it’s a glimpse into the Eagles’ plans for the young tight end. The Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and Ertz, who both warrant a lot of attention near the goal line. That could give Goedert a chance to catch some touchdowns in his first NFL season.
6. Nate Sudfeld threw the pass of the day during 11-on-11 drills. It was a beautiful deep ball down the left sideline that was brought in by a streaking Shelton Gibson. Sudfeld tossed a few dimes today.
7. With Sidney Jones’ not practicing, De’Vante Bausby made the most of his opportunity. The young cornerback has been turning heads all spring and might have had his best day to date. He picked off two passes (he probably would have drawn a DPI on one, to be fair) and swatted another back in Foles’ face. Eventually, it’s probably going to be hard to keep Jones off the field, but keep an eye on Bausby. The hype seems real.
8. While we’re on the topic of hype, I have my nominee for this year’s Na Brown Training Camp Hero Award. I think undrafted wide receiver Tim Wilson can be that guy. The former Radnor receiver, who went undrafted out of East Stroudsburg, continues to look pretty good. He’s not incredibly athletic or fast, but he works hard, has good hands and seems to compete. He has all the makings of a training camp superstar fans will love.
9. Rasul Douglas is a skilled trash talker, which is a good thing. The Eagles are coming off a Super Bowl, so they’ll use any kind of edge they can in practice. Sometimes, it’s good to have guys to stir the pot in practice. After Bryce Treggs caught a pass over the middle, Douglas yelled to him from the sideline, telling him he didn’t think he’d survive that hit in a real game.
10. Rashard Davis made the catch of the day. The 5-foot-9 receiver settled into a zone and needed to rise up to make a catch between two defenders on a ball that sailed a little on Nick Foles.
Stupid Observation of the Day: The Eagles’ playlist was almost all country music at Wednesday’s practice. That’s unusual. Normally, they’ll toss a country song in the mix, but not exclusively country.