The Eagles had their second and final open practice at Lincoln Financial Field and despite the threat of rain, over 35,000 fans showed up.
That means in the two open practices, over 75,000 fans came out to watch.
That’s pretty impressive.
1. The fans have really been incredible in these two open practices. So much fun down at the stadium; I can’t imagine what the atmosphere is going to be on Sept. 6 for the opener against the Falcons.
This morning, there were again dueling "E-A-G-L-E-S" chants and “MVP” cheers for Nick Foles.
And, of course, my favorite sign from folks holding their baby:
2. Let’s get the player attendance out of the way. Nick Foles, Mike Wallace and Matt Jones returned (see injury update). No Markus Wheaton, Corey Clement, Nelson Agholor, Ian Park, Asantay Brown. Mack Hollins was out there but without shoulder pads and didn’t practice. Sidney Jones, who suffered an ankle sprain during the game, practiced. But he didn’t perform in 11-on-11 drills.
Dallas Goedert left early with an apparent injury.
3. When the Eagles went into full-team drills in the red zone, Zach Ertz took over. He first caught a beautifully floated ball from Nick Foles with his left hand as he dove toward the ground. Malcolm Jenkins was so frustrated, he picked up the pylon and tossed it. (There probably would have been a sack on the play in a real game.)
Then, Ertz caught a ball in heavy traffic. No idea how it wasn’t picked or how Ertz kept his focus through the bodies. Then, with the twos, he caught another slant for a touchdown. Somehow, with his arms tied up, Ertz was able to use his fingertips to hold onto this one.
Three touchdowns in one red zone period. Ertz is a Pro Bowler and still getting better.
4. Carson Wentz still isn’t practicing in 11-on-11 drills, but he’s getting 7-on-7 reps. In an extra period at the end of the practice, Wentz quarterbacked the first team, a nice treat for the fans in attendance. His first pass was an absolute dagger to Rashard Davis in the end zone. Doug Pederson said Wentz’s velocity is up, which I believe based on what we’ve seen.
5. Mike Wallace got to introduce himself to the home crowd for the first time today. In the very first play of 11-on-11s, Wallace streaked down the field and was hit by a bomb from Foles. Wallace popped up and Jenkins, still trailing, knocked the ball out after the play was dead. But that didn’t deter Wallace, who puffed out his chest and did his best to pump up the crowd. Fans are gonna like him.
6. Isaac Seumalo had two really bad snaps in the span of about seven plays. I just don’t know how the Eagles can trust him at that position right now.
7. Some looks at the depth chart:
- With no Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins we saw some different receivers. Wallace, Kamar Aiken and Greg Ward Jr. worked with the first team.
- Nate Gerry began the day as the first-team WILL linebacker, but Kamu Grugier-Hill also got some first-team snaps. He has earned them with his play in camp and the first preseason game.
- De’Vante Bausby was the first-team nickel corner, but Sidney Jones didn’t get team reps as he heals from that ankle sprain. But, for the first time, rookie Avonte Maddox got some first-team reps there.
- With no Clement, we saw Josh Adams and Wendell Smallwood get some first-team reps. Smallwood on one run, stiff-armed Rasul Douglas and threw him backward. It’s kind of unfair because Douglas can’t tackle in practice. Either way, some WVU on WVU crime.
8. During OL vs. DL 1-on-1s, there were some epic matchups. Lane Johnson vs. Chris Long. Brandon Brooks vs. Fletcher Cox. We’ll call both of those draws.
My favorite OL vs. DL matchup has been Halapooulivaati Vaitai vs. Derek Barnett. These two go at it. On one, Barnett got around Vaitai but got too low, and Big V threw him into the ground.
In these drills, Jordan Mailata is really beginning to hold his own. He beat Joe Ostman and Danny Ezechukwu today. No, those guys aren’t Pro Bowlers, but they both played high-level college football and have been playing for more than a few months.
9. Saw a play I really liked from Ronald Darby today. He was 1-on-1 against Richard Rodgers and when the ball got there, Darby didn’t let the much bigger Rodgers body him out. Darby was able to climb and get a hand on it. Darby isn’t a big guy (5-11, 193) so I like seeing him make physical plays like that.
10. Saw a fumble at the mesh point of a zone-read play. It looked like Foles tried to pull the ball out from Sproles, but it got jostled loose and hit the ground. It’s worth mentioning that Foles and Sproles, while they played together in 2014, didn’t get to play together much last year. During training camp, Foles was hurt and at the end of the year, Sproles was out. It'll be good for them to get used to each other now in this offense in case they need to be out there together this season.
Stupid Observation of the Day: In the last period of the day, Jalen Mills knocked a ball away from Ertz and I finally made my first play of training camp. The ball came flying toward me on the sideline (it was coming fast) and I showed incredible reaction time. With one hand holding my notebook, the left paw sprung into action, tipping the ball to a fan behind me who made the INT. Had there been someone directly behind me, I could have saved a life. You’re all welcome.