Training camp observations: Several Eagles return for intense indoor practice


The Eagles were supposed to spend their Sunday night at the Linc practicing in front of fans but the threat of inclement weather spoiled those plans.

Instead, the Eagles held a private practice inside their bubble at the NovaCare Complex.

This was supposed to be the second of two public practices, so unfortunately fans lost the last chance they had to see the Eagles in training camp, at least in Philly.

The Eagles will practice with the Jets in Florham Park, New Jersey, on Tuesday and Wednesday this week before Friday’s preseason game. Those practices are public but tickets are already sold out.

Let’s get to today’s observations:

1. A few housekeeping notes:

• Several Eagles who had missed time returned to practice today: Andre Dillard (knee), JaCoby Stevens (hamstring), Javon Hargrave (ankle), Craig James (foot), Jason Huntley (ribs). Dillard was limited and didn’t take a full load of reps but when he was working, it was as the second-team left tackle.

• Another note here is a groin injury for Fletcher Cox. He was limited today and rookie Milton Williams took his spot with the first-team defense.

• Limited: Cox (groin), Dillard (knee), Shaun Bradley (groin), Le’Raven Clark (ramping up after PUP), James (foot), Stevens (hamstring), Hargrave (ankle), Huntley (ribs). Clark got some work as the third-team and second-team left tackle.

• Day to day: Genard Avery (groin — new injury to the other leg), Derek Barnett (shoulder), Ryan Kerrigan (thumb), Joe Ostman (concussion), K’Von Wallace (groin).


• Davion Taylor (calf) is the only Eagle still listed as week-to-week.

2. The Eagles had a notably intense indoor practice today. Under the previous coaching staff, the practice days inside the bubble were very light. There are some obvious restrictions when an 85-man roster is practicing on a 60-yard indoor field. But Nick Sirianni made sure this wasn’t a wasted day. It was very competitive. Sirianni called it “high energy” and I’d agree.

It’s a shame that the Eagles didn’t get to practice as the Linc in front of the fans but it looked like they took that practice schedule and used it in the bubble. This practice lasted about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

3. Jalen Hurts was back on the practice field Sunday. On Thursday, Hurts was a late scratch and ended up getting checked out at a local hospital. Sirianni called it a “stomach infection.” Sirianni on Sunday said Hurts has rested his body the last few days but participated in walkthrough on Saturday and was back out there “slinging it” today.

Again, I’d agree with Sirianni. Hurts looked very good on Sunday; didn’t look tired at all. He was rifling passes all over the field and even looked strong as a runner. On one play in particular, Hurts rolled left and then delivered an absolute strike downfield.

4. The Eagles had an extended third-down period today in practice, which Sirianni called a “third-down jamboree.” They have done this after both preseason games, he said. It’s notable because the Eagles are 2-for-18 (11.1%) on third downs this preseason and their opponents are 16-for-26 (61.5%).

During this period, Sirianni had a bullhorn and the Eagles kept score between the offense and defense. The biggest offensive play of this period was a deep ball to Zach Ertz, who was able to sneak behind Alex Singleton for a big gain. The best defensive play was a sack for Singleton.

Ultimately, though, the defense won the period by a score of 33-20. Not sure exactly how the point system works.

5. John Hightower had a chance to catch a deep ball from Joe Flacco during team drills but after Hightower ran past Marcus Epps, he wasn’t able to come up with what would have been a tough catch.

But Hightower made up for it later in practice, catching a touchdown pass from Flacco in the end zone against Michael Jacquet to cap a hurry-up drive. He celebrated by dunking the ball over the goal post. He was flagged by the officials but then Sirianni jokingly tossed both flags off the field.

6. There was a scare during the 7-on-7 portion of practice when DeVonta Smith hobbled off the field and got checked out by a trainer. It looked like he might have injured his ankle. But after a quick jog on the sideline, he returned to team drills. Phew.

7. Backup nickel corner Josiah Scott had a great leaping interception off Joe Flacco in 7-on-7s. Scott is on the bubble but has a chance to make the team. He has made some plays this summer.


8. This has been a theme of training camp for Miles Sanders. He looks explosive and strong as a runner but had another drop, this time in 7-on-7s. On this play, he jumped during the catch attempt when he might not have needed it and the ball bounced off his hands.

9. During team drills, rookie Milton Williams noticed some movement from an offensive lineman (it was very slight movement) so he jumped across the line to draw a false start. That’s the way the defensive linemen are taught but it’s impressive that the rookie was confident enough to do it against the first-team OL. Gold star.

It was interesting to see Williams line up as a defensive tackle today with the first team over veterans Hassan Ridgeway and T.Y. McGill. Williams has been at defensive end way more than tackle this summer. His reps on Sunday came against Brandon Brooks, which is a tough assignment.

10. Rookie Zech McPhearson had a rough game on Thursday night but he bounced back today with at least one really nice play. He again got to show off his vertical with a leaping PBU during 7-on-7s.

Stupid Observation of the Day: The Eagles have some new artwork inside the bubble featuring Nick Sirianni’s five core values.

Roob sidled up to me and asked, “You think they can just get that done at Kinkos?”

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