Eagles

Eagles training camp observations: Hurts makes it rain

Eagles

The Eagles had their most intense practice so far of training camp on Tuesday morning.

Their first day in full pads coincided with some high temperatures and a longer practice that lasted over an hour and a half.

The Eagles will have a walkthrough on Wednesday and will be back on the practice field Thursday, when temperatures in Philadelphia are expected to push 100 degrees.

To the observations:

1. As always, we’ll start with a bit of housekeeping:

• Brett Toth, Richard Rodgers and Tyree Jackson remain on the PUP list. They’re on the roster but not practicing.

• TE Grant Calcaterra (hamstring), WR Zach Pascal (illness), Greg Ward (toe) and Mac McCain (knee) did not practice. Ward and McCain were new additions to the injury report. Pascal was on the field with a helmet but wasn’t ready to participate. Still, after a bout of food poisoning that put him in the hospital, it appears he’s on his way back.

• Andre Dillard (undisclosed injury) and Quez Watkins (illness) left practice early. Watkins was able to return to watch the end, which seems to be a good sign.

2. The highlight of today came on a deep ball from Jalen Hurts to Jalen Reagor during an 11-on-11 drills. Reagor, who was bumped up to first team after Watkins left, made the most of his first-team reps, which have been hard to come by this summer. On this play, the Eagles’ first-team offense was facing its second-team defense. Reagor split cornerback Zech McPhearson and safety Andre Chachere and pulled down a dime from Hurts. The ball traveled about 40 yards in the air and went for about a 70-yard touchdown.

 

Hurts has had an up-and-down camp but made some tremendous throws on Tuesday as full pads came on. While his pure arm strength has been questioned, he has a strong enough arm. At times during his first two seasons, it’ll look like Hurts might not because a ball comes out later or he can’t hit someone in stride. He doesn’t have a rocket attached to his shoulder but he can toss it.

Tuesday was his best day of the summer so far.

3. A couple of those impressive throws from Hurts came in 1-on-1s between receivers and cornerbacks. Here are some highlights from that period:

• Hurts started off the session with a beautiful teardrop to DeVonta Smith over James Bradberry, who had tight coverage. Nothing he could do.

• Then Hurts came right back and delivered a similar ball to Watkins, who was able to shake Avonte Maddox.

• Hurts then dropped it in the bucket to A.J. Brown over Darius Slay. He hit all three of his top receivers against the Eagles top corners in succession.

• A little later, Brown was flagged for OPI working against Slay. Brown briefly argued with the referee.

4. In back-to-back days, we’ve seen Hurts hit Brown in stride on a slant. These plays are going to be so important for the success of this offense. Brown has major YAC ability and if Hurts can lead him on these, there are big gains to be had.

5. The second day with shoulder pads meant the second day with OL/DL drills. It wasn’t as fun on Day 2, but still plenty to observe:

• Really good rep from Isaac Seumalo working against Fletcher Cox. Seumalo is clearly the Eagles’ right guard.

• Jordan Davis crushed some of the Eagles’ reserve linemen in these drills on Monday, but on Tuesday he couldn’t get past Jason Kelce. It was a fair matchup against a savvy vet. Although a little later, Davis walked through poor William Dunkle.

• Jordan Mailata and Josh Sweat have both come so far. They have had good battles for the last five years and have had a couple more in this camp. Sweat after practice happily (and jokingly) took some credit for all of Mailata’s success.

• After the 1-on-1s, we got to watch some 2-on-2s between OL and DL. Lane Johnson and Seumalo shut down a rush from Cox and Haason Reddick. Impressive to see Johnson and Seumalo work so smoothly together to pass off rushers on stunts. They have been teammates for a long time but are new to playing beside each other.

• On the next rep, though, Sweat and Javon Hargrave bested Mailata and Landon Dickerson on a T-E stunt to get after the QB. They were just a tad late on passing it off.

 

Sweat is quietly looking very strong, by the way. He had a nice sack in the final 11-on-11 period of practice.

6. In addition to the deep ball from Hurts, the Eagles worked on several plays near the line of scrimmage. So some screens, quick passes and some pick plays. They were whistled for OPI on one of those picks so they need to refine those teaching points. The receivers there have to realize contact can actually be detrimental in those cases. Just get in the way and move out of the way before you get flagged.

7. The Eagles began the day with a fun goal line period with the ball placed at the 3-yard line. Two plays apiece between the 1s, 2s and 3s. The defense had a great period:

• The first play was a Miles Sanders drop in the flat. The second play for the offense was a sweep to Brown, who found himself 1-on-1 with T.J. Edwards. Hard to tell what would have happened in a live period but Brown is not easy to take down.

• The second team offense gave the ball to Kenny Gainwell up the gut and he was stopped short. The next play was a pass in the middle to Jack Stoll, who was stopped short of the goal line by Derek Barnett.

• The third team handed off to Gainwell, who was again stopped short. The second play was a “sack” from second-year defensive end Tarron Jackson.

8. McPhearson was in coverage on that deep ball TD to Reagor but made up for it in the final period of the day with tremendous coverage downfield on John Hightower. It looked like he picked the pass but the ref ruled it incomplete because he landed out of bounds. Still an impressive play.

With McCain sidelined, the Eagles continued to rotate at the other cornerback spots (not McPhearson’s spot) with the second and third team. I really like how aggressive Tay Gowan is, but he’s a little too handsy. He’s been called for DPI a couple times in this camp. It’s something he needs to watch.

9. Late in practice on Tuesday, rookie linebacker Nakobe Dean got his first reps with the first-team defense. It has been a pretty quiet camp for Dean as the other linebackers have been making plays. He’s still learning. But he did show off his coverage ability on one pass to Dallas Goedert. It was completed but Dean stayed with him.

10. Jake Elliott is having a good camp. He nailed all his field goal attempts on Tuesday. From 33 yards, 40, 42, 37, 28, 42.

Stupid Observation of the Day: During the developmental period at the end of practice, Reid Sinnett tripped and was on the ground as big Davis was barreling through the offensive line. I let out an audible “oh my god” for fear that the young quarterback was about to be trampled by 340 pounds of nose tackle.

 

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