It was a good day on Sunday to watch the Eagles take the field for a two-hour practice. Even Julie Ertz was there to watch.
Training camp officially ends with Tuesday’s practice and Monday is a light 10-10-10 day, so we’ve almost made it to the end here.
Let’s get to today’s obs:
1. Alshon Jeffery made some big plays today. While Carson Wentz had one of his shakier performances of the summer, he really seemed to connect with No. 17, who was making those typical Alshon-body control catches. One came near the sideline, when he was able to keep his feet in bounds. One came diving across the middle of the field.
His most entertaining play of the day came when he caught a ball with young corner Jeremiah McKinnon draped on him in 7-on-7s. After Jeffery caught the ball, he said something to McKinnon and spiked the ball at his feet.
2. Like we said, Wentz didn’t have his best day. He threw two interceptions and both of them were noteworthy for different reasons:
• The first was a great play by Malcolm Jenkins. The Pro Bowl safety jumped a route, picked off the ball and began running the other way. He wasn’t in a full sprint, but the ball was stripped by … Jason Kelce! That’s right, the athletic center came out of nowhere and knocked the ball free on a maneuver where he jumped in the air and kind of two-handed it out of Jenkins’ arms. After practice, Jenkins laughed and said he didn’t even know what happened, but credited Kelce’s insane athleticism.
• The other pick came near the end of practice. Wentz threw a bad ball that nearly fell incomplete but popped up into the hands of Avonte Maddox. On that play, JJ Arcega-Whiteside sort of rolled into Rodney McLeod’s knee for a little scare. McLeod was slow to get up but insisted after practice that he was fine.
3. That takes us to injuries. The only new absence today was Vinny Curry, who is sick. DeAndre Thompkins, Paul Worrilow and Boston Scott returned to practice.
Still not practicing: Shelton Gibson, Jalen Mills (PUP), Blake Countess, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Lane Johnson, Hassan Ridgeway, Daeshon Hall, Richard Rodgers, Fletcher Cox, Nigel Bradham.
4. A few depth chart notes:
• Without Lane Johnson, Jordan Mailata has been the starting right tackle. That means he’s getting good work against Brandon Graham.
• The starting corners today were Rasul Douglas and Avonte Maddox in the base package. Sidney Jones came on as the nickel.
• The starting linebackers without Bradham: Nate Gerry, Zach Brown and L.J. Fort, who came on in base.
• Mack Hollins is back for 11-on-11s and even got some first-team reps today. Still seems like that fifth WR spot is his to lose.
• Without Curry and with Derek Barnett getting eased back into action, Josh Sweat got some run at first-team defensive end.
5. Let’s talk about Sweat. He made a really nice move inside on Jason Peters today and the two had a good battle after that. These reps against a guy like JP will only help the second-year DE.
6. I’m amazed by Darren Sproles every day. He’s 36 and played like a 23-year-old trying to make the team. Today, he had a crazy shifty run between the tackles and — as he always does — finished the rep by running the length of the field across the goal line.
7. Miles Sanders made a great over-the-shoulder catch during the offensive install portion of practice. He has a future as a true feature back.
8. Cody Kessler looked OK again today. Not good, not bad. Just OK. He made one nice play where he found a throwing late to zip a ball to Donnel Pumphrey. At 6-1, he sometimes has to manufacture throwing lanes and he’s a vet at it.
There are times, though, where Kessler holds the ball forever. He doesn’t want to make mistakes, but sometimes in practice, you’ve just gotta let it fly.
9. Clayton Thorson barely got to throw the ball in the last two practices. It looks like his reps are going to come in the preseason games. He did get a few passes out to Will Tye. Maybe a few rhythm throws to the tight end on Thursday could help avoid another disastrous performance.
10. Zach Ertz made a play today where he caught a pass in the flat and immediately cut hard back inside to avoid a charging Andrew Sendejo. It was an impressive play that showed off Ertz’s awareness.
Stupid Observation of the Day: The dragonflies at the NovaCare Complex look prehistoric. They’re basically pterodactyls.
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