The Eagles had a short and light practice Tuesday on one of the hottest days of training camp so far.
No pads or helmets today, so it was basically a walkthrough. (They’ll ramp up the next two days.) But there was still plenty to observe on the sideline and with depth charts.
I got through the temperature check with a 98.6 today; my second-highest of the summer.
Let’s get to it:
1. I watched for several minutes on Tuesday as former Eagle Jason Avant coached up Jalen Reagor on the sideline. Avant is helping to coach the receivers during training camp this summer as a part of the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Fellowship.
When the Eagles brought in Avant, I really liked the move. Plenty of folks didn’t understand how a former slow slot receiver would be able to help a speedy 1st-round pick, but to me it’s obvious. Avant never had the physical gifts Reagor has and he was still able to have a very successful NFL career. He did that because of technique, route running and excellent hands. All things that can be taught.
On Tuesday, Avant worked with Reagor on releases and using his hands to gain separation. The best sign was that Reagor wasn’t just listening but also asking questions, trying to understand the reasoning. We’ve heard that Reagor is a coachable young player and seeing it up close was pretty cool. He wants to get better and he’s wisely listening to a guy who carved out an impressive NFL career despite his athletic deficiencies.
Back in April, before he was coaching, Avant called the Reagor pick a “gutsy” one. And now he gets a chance to help groom the rookie.
2. Here are the additions to the Eagles’ injury report on Tuesday:
Not a good sign for Mailata, who was already having a tough training camp. Sidney Jones, Lane Johnson and Miles Sanders missed practice yet again.
The good news was that Andre Dillard (upper body) returned to practice. Even though it was a light session, he was able to take part in the walkthrough.
3. Without Johnson and Mailata, this was the Eagles’ starting OL: Dillard, Isaac Seumalo, Jason Kelce, Jason Peters, Matt Pryor.
The Eagles are hoping Pryor can become a replacement for Halapoulivaati Vaitai. They hope he can backup at guard and tackle. If there’s an injury to anyone on the line this season, Pryor will likely be the next guy in.
4. We’ve seen the Eagles mix and match at linebacker with the first team. The constant has been these three in base: Nate Gerry, T.J. Edwards and Duke Riley.
What has been revolving is the two ‘backers in the nickel package. Today, they were Gerry and Riley. Previously, Edwards has been in there too. It seems like Riley’s athleticism gives him a slight edge.
5. Corey Clement has been getting a ton of offensive reps as Sanders misses practices. But he’s going to have a role on special teams. Clement likely won’t be the punt returner — that didn’t work last year — but he has been the primary up back for the kick return team.
6. The Eagles have plenty of qualified coaches, but it’s pretty clear one of the most intelligent offensive minds in the building belongs to Jason Kelce. He had a suggestion for Jeff Stoutland today and the hearing the two of them go back and forth on a concept was pretty fascinating. Kelce has such a great understanding of the offense; his mind is a weapon.
7. The Eagles’ new tight end, Tyrone Swoopes, was at practice today, wearing No. 48. He’s a big guy (6-4, 254) and he might have a decent shot here. The favorite to win the third tight end spot is UDFA Noah Togiai, but Swoopes has spent three years in the NFL and if he picks up the offense, he’ll be in the mix.
He was getting coached up by assistant TE coach Mike Bartrum on the sideline Tuesday.
8. Saw Darius Slay get a few reps as the nickel corner, which is something we haven’t seen much. But if he’s going to follow top receivers this season, that will sometimes mean following them into the slot. He won’t do it all the time, but he needs to be prepared for it.
9. Speaking of the slot, the Eagles’ offense will use multiple players inside this season. While Greg Ward is the “slot” receiver, expect DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor and even J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to get some snaps in there at times. All of those players are very different and offer the Eagles different looks inside. They’ve been sneaking guys in and out of there all camp.
10. Without Cox and Jackson, who had veteran days off, the top defensive tackles were Hassan Ridgeway and Raequon Williams. It was interesting to see Williams, the UDFA from Michigan State, get in with the defense before Anthony Rush. Rush was on the team last year.
11. DeSean spent a while on Tuesday hanging out with personnel consultants Brent Celek and Darren Sproles. At 33, Jackson is actually closer in age to his two retired teammates than he is to some of his current teammates.
Stupid Observation of the Day: Even though it was the hottest day of training camp so far, several players still opted to wear pants. Some of those included Will Parks, Zach Ertz, Nickell Robey-Coleman, Rudy Ford, Shareef Miller, Avonte Maddox, Nate Gerry, Caleb Wilson and Miles Sanders.