After a players day off on Friday, the Eagles were back on the practice field at the NovaCare Complex in full pads on Saturday morning.
They’ll be at the Linc for a public practice on Sunday evening. Tickets are still available for purchase.
Let’s get to today’s observations:
1. A few housekeeping items:
• John Hightower (groin) was added to the injury report and is listed as week-to-week. He got injured in Thursday’s practice. The other guys who remain week-to-week: Davion Taylor (calf), JaCoby Stevens (hamstring), DeVonta Smith (knee), Isaac Seumalo (hamstring)
Taylor has been walking around with a boot on his foot.
• Genard Avery (groin), Grayland Arnold (hamstring) and Obi Melifonwu (hamstring) were also added to the injury report, listed as day-to-day. Also in that grouping: Brandon Brooks (hamstring), Jason Croom (knee). Shaun Bradley missed practice with an illness.
• Ryan Kerrigan (thumb) and Michael Walker (foot) were both limited on Saturday.
2. In general, the Eagles’ defense has been ahead of their offense early in training camp, but it wasn’t even close today. This was the most lopsided practice of the summer and one of the more lopsided I’ve seen in recent years.
The defense absolutely dominated. The offense absolutely struggled.
Now, it’s important to remember the offense is operating without two starting guards and DeVonta Smith — and Andre Dillard was at left tackle — but Saturday was brutal for the offense, especially early. We saw sacks, false start penalties and many incomplete passes. There was one whole period where a pass wasn’t completed.
Jalen Hurts didn’t have his sharpest day but we weren’t seeing a lot of separation from his receivers either. His best completions on Saturday went to the tight ends. You give some credit to the Eagles’ defense — they played well on Saturday — but the offense has some work to do. Hurts began training camp getting better each day, but that wasn’t the case on Saturday. He struggled on his 23rd birthday.
I wouldn’t worry too much about Hurts just yet though. So much of his ability is his legs and without him really being able to showcase that, it’s hard to get a fair evaluation. We’ll hopefully see him play in the preseason and against the Patriots and Jets in joint practices.
3. A big reason for the domination from the defense was the guys up front. The Eagles’ defensive line has looked really good, especially Josh Sweat and Derek Barnett. We’ve spent some time talking about Sweat this summer and how he could be poised for a big season (he had another huge day on Saturday), but let’s not lose sight of Barnett either. Because he’s been really disruptive during this camp, even giving Lane Johnson fits today.
4. Eric Wilson had a nice interception during a team drill. On a play where Hurts was flushed out of the pocket, he rolled right and threw a pass that shouldn’t have left his hand. Wilson was right there to highpoint it and pull it in.
Later in practice, cornerback Lavert Hill picked off a Nick Mullens pass attempted for Jhamon Ausbon and took it the other way for a touchdown.
5. The Eagles had a long special teams period today with some intense 1-on-1s. They had linebackers vs. linebackers, receivers vs. receivers, etc. One standout in those drills is Craig James, who had a good chance to make the roster because of his ability as a gunner.
During those special teams drills, I enjoy watching what the non-special teams players are doing. Today, Miles Sanders worked extra on his receiving; he needs to eliminate drops.
And Jalen Reagor got in some extra work with Aaron Moorehead and DeVonta Smith.
6. Today was cross-train day for the Eagles’ offensive line. Jack Driscoll was with the first-team offense as the right guard and Nate Herbig got second-team reps as the center. Without Brooks and Seumalo, the first-team guards have been Herbig at left tackle and Matt Pryor at right. Today, the Eagles had Sua Opeta at left and Driscoll at right.
7. Some takeaways from the receivers vs. defensive backs 1-on-1s:
• Adrian Killins, who has been working almost exclusively as a receiver, had great stutter move before putting on the burners. He pulled away from Avonte Maddox, who has plenty of speed, for a long touchdown catch.
• Travis Fulgham had a chance to make a catch down the left sideline but couldn’t haul it in. I wouldn’t call it a drop but it’s a ball Fulgham should have. He’s had plenty of opportunities to make big catches in this training camp and hasn’t made any of them. It’s been strange.
• The other day when Jalen Reagor made that great catch over Darius Slay, I saw some folks down on Slay. You shouldn’t be. He’s fun to watch in these drills because as much as they’re set up for the receiver to win, Slay is extremely sticky in coverage.
8. As much as the offense struggled on Saturday, running back Jason Huntley finished it off for them on a high note. With the third team, he caught a pass on third down from Nick Mullens to move the chains and give the offense a slight win in that period.
9. With receivers struggling to separate on Saturday, the Eagles’ quarterbacks continue to feed Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz. In fact, we’ve seen Hurts and Goedert really begin to build a rapport over the last week. And as weird as the situation with Ertz has been, he’s looked really solid, including today when he caught a ball down field for a big gain.
10. Alex Singleton is off the Reserve/COVID-19 list and participated in his first practice of the summer today. He began with the second team but eventually got some first-team reps next to Eric Wilson in the nickel, which is the most likely pairing for this upcoming season.
Late in practice, Singleton nearly picked off a pass from Hurts, but he couldn’t haul it in. It looked like perhaps Steve Nelson, trying to get the ball too, might have knocked it loose. Still, a good and active late start for Singleton.
Stupid Observation of the Day: During WR-DB 1-on-1 drills, WR Andre Patton was going against CB Kevon Seymour, which is only notable because they both wear No. 41. During training camp, teams have some multiple numbers. For the Eagles this camp, those are 33, 41, 46, 47, 48, 61, 66, 72 and 76.
If you’re wondering, Seymour got a pass breakup on the first rep but Patton pulled in a pass in front of him on the second.
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