Eagles

Eagles training camp observations, Day 11: Wentz firing beauties in 7-on-7s

Eagles training camp observations, Day 11: Wentz firing beauties in 7-on-7s

The Eagles were initially scheduled to be in pads Tuesday morning, but after seeing how much work his team has put in under the 90-degree sun, Doug Pederson decided to back off a little. 

Instead, the Eagles had a shorter practice without full pads. But the pads will go on Thursday night for the first preseason game of the 2018 season. The Steelers will be in town for the 7 p.m. kickoff. 

Before you know it, training camp will be over. 

But for now, to the observations!

1. At times over the last week or so, since Carson Wentz has been held out of full-team drills, I’ve noticed him struggle to get into a rhythm. That’s natural. He’s been getting just a few reps and then watching either Nick Foles or Nate Sudfeld take the bulk of the reps. 

But in today’s 7-on-7 drills, Wentz was firing. The Eagles did 7-on-7s in the red zone and Wentz looked incredibly sharp. His arm looks like it has plenty of life, probably a product of the limited reps. He threw a few great touchdown passes. 

2. The best play from that 7-on-7 time was a beautiful fade Wentz threw up to Dallas Goedert, who just went up and got the ball in front of Jalen Mills. Mills isn’t the tallest guy, but he is aggressive with bigger receivers, and Goedert just posterized him. Goedert in the end zone has become a theme of training camp. 

3. I’d like to present my favorite photo at practice. Two of the most respected guys on the team. Two of the most experienced guys on the team. 

One is 5-foot-6, 190 pounds. The other is 6-foot-4, 340 pounds. 

4. At times, Nate Sudfeld looks like the real deal, but he just hasn’t been consistent enough in this training camp. Getting first-team reps in 11-on-11s, Sudfeld simply missed a wide open Zach Ertz on a play that would have gone for a big gain. Can’t miss like that. 

5. Sidney Jones almost had the play of the day. He dove backwards and nearly pulled in a crazy interception. Couldn’t hold on. Still, he’s looked good. Was back as the first-team nickel corner today. 

6. I don’t know how he’s doing it but, 5-foot-8 receiver DeAndre Carter caught another pass for a touchdown today. This time, he reeled in a perfect pass from Sudfeld, over De’Vante Bausby, in the end zone. 

7. Fletcher Cox was not happy with Lane Johnson after it looked like Lane might have clipped him in the back during a full-team rep. The guys weren’t even in pads today, but the heat has a way of making everyone cranky. They separated and nothing happened. 

8. Isaac Seumalo had another bad snap. That’s at least 347 so far this training camp. 

9. The Eagles worked on backed up drills today from their own 1-yard line. The defense looked good in these. Joe Walker got in the backfield for a “safety” TFL and there was a sack in the end zone too for another safety. Joe Callahan was able to hit Shelton Gibson during the backed-up portion of practice. Gibson streaked across the field and Callahan hit him for a gain of about 20. 

10. During that same drill, there was one play where the offense was in the huddle without a quarterback. Before Callahan realized it and sprinted out there, Doug Pederson started to walk toward the huddle, pretending like he was going to take a QB rep. 

Not to brag, but I was on this Monday: 

Stupid Observation of the Day: I saw a fan wearing a No. 14 Pederson jersey at practice. But I lost him in the crowd and fell down on my journalistic responsibility to find out how the hell he still had a Pederson jersey. 

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Eagles' new coach thinks team's WR corps is underrated, can be among NFL's best

Eagles' new coach thinks team's WR corps is underrated, can be among NFL's best

They're tired of being known as the worst group of wide receivers in the league.

And they may finally have a coach who can help them get rid of that tag.

"We have an expectation to be one of the top groups in the league," new Eagles receivers coach Aaron Moorehead said Thursday. "That's what we expect. This group is coming out with a little bit of a chip on its shoulder I think because of last year, and that's a good thing."

Eagles receivers last year combined for just 137 passes for 1,488 yards and nine touchdowns, the worst WR numbers in the league.

It was the fewest yards by an Eagles receiving corps since 2000, when Charles Johnson, Torrance Small and Friends had 1,481.

For the first time since 1966 no Eagles wide receiver even had 500 yards.

Out with Carson Walch, in with Moorehead, the Eagles' fifth receivers coach in five years under Doug Pederson.

It doesn't take much time with Moorehead – even on a Zoom call – to sense his confidence, passion, dedication and communication skills.

And he's already instilled a hunger in this wide receiving group to go from one of the worst in the league to one of the best.

"At the end of the day, a little added extra motivation (doesn't hurt)," he said. "In this day and age (with) social media, you can try to ignore it, but people hear what (critics) say, and I think guys understand that we do have something to prove, and that's OK. There's nothing wrong with that, and I enjoy a good challenge and I enjoy coaching a group that has something to prove."

DeSean Jackson is 33 and managed one healthy game last year. Alshon Jeffery struggled then got hurt and has been largely disappointing since he signed here. Second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside had a miserable rookie year. And rookie Jalen Reagor keeps hearing how the Eagles should have taken Justin Jefferson instead.

You can understand why this group feels disrespected.

"I think that's good," Moorehead said. "I've coached groups that people believed were the best [...] and I've coached groups that people disrespected and felt like they weren't very good, so it's not anything new to me. I think we have a really good group. I know we have a really good group. It's just up to us to stay healthy and prove it week in and week out."

The Eagles haven't had a wide receiver with back-to-back 100-yard games since Jordan Matthews in 2015.

They haven't had a 1,000-yard receiver since Jeremy Maclin in 2014.

On paper they should be better. How can they not be?

Their goal isn't just to be better. It’s to be among the best.

"So far they've taken the approach that [they're] ready to go out there and prove every day why we should be one of the top groups in the NFL," Moorehead said.

You have to love Moorehead's approach and his personality.

If his receivers can match his confidence and swagger, the Eagles just might finally have a receiving corps to get excited about.

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Eagle Eye podcast: Is Zach Ertz next in line for a contract extension?

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Eagle Eye podcast: Is Zach Ertz next in line for a contract extension?

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro take a look at Zach Ertz’s contract situation after George Kittle and Travis Kelce got huge extensions. 

The guys pick some things they would have watched in the preseason opener, talk about Doug Pederson’s structure for practice and give their first impressions on a couple of new Eagles coaches. 

Plus, remembering the great Howard Mudd, who died at 78 this week. 

  • (1:02) — What Travis Kelce and George Kittle's contract mean for Zach Ertz.
  • (16:45) — Things we would have watched tonight in preseason opener.
  • (23:08) — Doug Pederson details Eagles’ 2020 training camp structure
  • (28:45) — Aaron Moorehead and Matt Burke speak on their roles. 
  • (36:54) — Remembering Howard Mudd
     

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles