Eagles

Eagles training camp observations: Cornerbacks making plays on the ball

Eagles

The Eagles were back on the practice field Tuesday morning after a walkthrough on Monday and they’re just a couple days away from taking the field in the preseason.

Thursday night will be a fun atmosphere at the Linc.

On Tuesday, the Eagles were in shorts and shells, saving themselves for the game on Thursday and joint practices with the Patriots early next week.

Still plenty of observations:

1. We have a lot of housekeeping notes today:

• Isaac Seumalo (hamstring) practiced on Tuesday for the first time all camp. He was limited and didn’t participate in team drills but did get out there for individual work. Brandon Brooks (hamstring) returned to team drills for the first time. So they’re getting closer to having their starting guards back.

• Ryan Kerrigan was not at practice because he had thumb surgery. Kerrigan has been dealing with this injury for a while during camp and finally decided to get it taken care of now. He’s expected to miss 7-10 days, which should give him enough time to be ready to go for the opener on Sept. 12.

• During practice, Andre Dillard, K’Von Wallace and Michael Walker all suffered injuries. Dillard’s injury came during the individual period. He walked gingerly into the medical tent and finally inside.

• Limited: Brooks (hamstring), Walker (foot), Seumalo (hamstring), Matt Leo (ramping up after COVID list).

• Day to day: Grayland Arnold (hamstring), Genard Avery (groin), Jason Croom (knee), Craig James (foot). James is listed as day-to-day but was in a walking boot.

 

• Week to week: John Hightower (groin), DeVonta Smith (knee), JaCoby Stevens (hamstring), Davion Taylor (calf), Casey Tucker (biceps).

2. Smith, the Eagles’ first-round pick, is still listed as week-to-week but it seemed to be a positive sign that on Tuesday he was seen working out on a side field for the first time since the injury. The Eagles have really missed Smith and their offense could certainly use him back.

3. Darius Slay and Steve Nelson both had big pass breakups during team drills on Tuesday in the last period of practice. Slay timed a route to breakup a pass intended for Jalen Reagor on a hitch route; it was a late throw from Jalen Hurts. And then Nelson knocked down a pass intended for Travis Fulgham.

In general, we’ve seen a lot of PBUs during training camp. It can be tough to tell the reason. On one hand, the Eagles do have veteran corners out there, but they’re facing young receivers and a young quarterback. So have the corners been really good or are the receivers just struggling to separate and Hurts struggling with his timing? Probably a little of both.

4. Hurts has been connecting a ton with Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz recently. In fact, that’s where most of his completions went on Tuesday. Nick Sirianni has said that Ertz’s presence on the roster won’t force his hand to make them play more 12 personnel, but that’s kind of hard to believe, especially given Hurts’ rapport with both tight ends. If Ertz is on the roster, he’s going to need to be out there.

In that same last period of 11-on-11s when there were two PBUs on passes intended for receivers, Hurts hit Ertz and Goedert for gains that would have been first downs.

Hurts’ best throw of the day came in team drills when he placed a ball perfectly over the outstretched arms of Alex Singleton to Goedert for a big gain.

5. I thought Joe Flacco had a really nice day of practice. After a slow start to his training camp, he’s really beginning to separate himself from third-stringer Nick Mullens. Flacco really attacked the middle of the field today and had some zip on his passes. His best play came on an RPO look when he pulled the ball back and fired it to Greg Ward on a slant.

6. A few notes from WR-DB 1-on-1 drills:

• Jalen Reagor had another chance to make a spectacular catch in 1-on-1s but couldn’t pull this one in. (A few days ago, he made the best catch of the summer.) This time, he beat Nelson by a step and laid out but couldn’t haul in the ball from Hurts. By the way, Hurts throws a pretty deep ball.

• Zech McPhearson had a nice rep against Hakeem Butler, who is six inches taller than him. McPhearson showed no fear, climbing the former tight end to knock the pass away.

 

• Great inside-out route from J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who sped away from a trailing Michael Jacquet. 

7. Avonte Maddox had a really nice play to blow up a receiver bubble screen during team drills. As Reagor caught the pass, Maddox was already getting through his block to “tackle” him.

8. I continue to be impressed by Miles Sanders the runner and worried about Miles Sanders the receiver. Sanders looks strong and explosive when he gets the ball in his hands but that’s been an adventure in the pass game. He ran a great route in 1-on-1s against Alex Singleton and dropped another one.

9. Rookie running back Kenny Gainwell is starting to flash a little more. He’s been catching a ton of balls as a receiver out of the backfield but also had a nice inside run today. The undersized Gainwell pulled off a nifty spin move and then got lost behind some of his big linemen.

10. JaQuan Bailey might be the most unknown player on the entire roster but the UDFA from Iowa state had his second sack of training camp. This time, he didn’t touch the quarterback.

Stupid Observation of the Day: The Eagles played “Dreams and Nightmares” by Meek Mill during practice. Part of me thinks they should retire the theme from the Super Bowl season. But maybe they knew Patrick Robinson was going to retire today.

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