Eagles

Eagles training camp observations, Day 5: Back-to-back rookie touchdowns

Eagles training camp observations, Day 5: Back-to-back rookie touchdowns

The Eagles had their most intense practice of the summer to date on Tuesday morning. Temperatures were high and they had their first live tackling periods of training camp. 

Tempers didn’t flare like we expected, but this was still an entertaining couple of hours. 

We’ll start with the biggest play of the day: 

1. It wasn’t how the Eagles drew it up, but the first-team offense got an 80-yard touchdown in the second live period of the day. Carson Wentz threw a quick pass to his right intended for Nelson Agholor, but the ball was tipped and went wider to JJ Arcega-Whiteside. The young rookie took off down the field and scored a touchdown after a diving Rasul Douglas couldn’t bring him down in pursuit. 

“One and done, baby,” one offensive player shouted. 

“Just how we drew it up,” said another. 

2. The best part of the touchdown was the celebration. JJAW looked like he didn’t know what to do so he threw up the ball in the air and then did his special handshake with Agholor that they just came up with Monday. When rookie left tackle Andre Dillard was late getting to the party, head coach Doug Pederson yelled at him to get into the end zone and celebrate with his teammates. 

3. After the second-team offense was forced to punt, the first teams took the field again. This was a little more conventional drive. The big play came when Wentz threw a nice deep ball to Agholor to beat Jim Schwartz’s sticks defense. That play was set up by an OPI from Charles Johnson on Sidney Jones. Jones might have gotten an interception if Johnson didn’t throw him to the ground like he did. 

Eventually, Miles Sanders punched in about a 5-yard run for a touchdown, his first of camp. 

“Oooh. Them boys look good, man,” defensive tackle Tim Jernigan said. “Hey, they surprised me today with the back-to-back drives. The first one, I was like, ‘OK, y’all got us, it was luck.’ But when they came and put that drive on us the second time, that caught me off guard with that one.” 

4. On the first live session of the day, though, give plenty of credit to the Eagles’ defensive line for what it did in the trenches. Even without Fletcher Cox, who is still recovering from injury, Jernigan and Malik Jackson dominated that period up front. Jernigan keeps getting in the backfield for big plays.  

5. Agholor had a really nice day. After a slow start in 1-on-1 drills, Agholor caught everything the rest of the morning. He’s having a good camp. One of his big catches came on a flea flicker. Nice design from Pederson. 

6. Aside from his touchdown, Sanders also had a really nice 15-or-so-yard catch on a wheel route down the left sideline. He ended up having Vinny Curry in coverage on him and Sanders was able to get some room between them and Wentz noticed the mismatch and dropped a perfect pass in the breadbasket in rhythm. This was one of the first plays with live tackling and it got off to a good start. 

After not getting much of a chance to catch passes at Penn State, Sanders really wanted to prove to the Eagles that he is capable. 

7. Jeff Lurie got taken out pretty hard on the sideline during 11-on-11s, but the Eagles’ 67-year-old owner popped right back up, adjusted his white cap and didn’t miss a play. He’s a gamer. 

8. Joe Ostman had a couple sacks against Jordan Mailata in team drills (one on a great spin move) and then beat him a few more times during OL vs. DL drills. But then Mailata was able to stand up Brandon Graham on another rep. Still, it’s probably not a great sign to see Ostman dominating Mailata. The two had a long chat after practice. We have to remember, this is all still relatively new for Mailata. 

9. I watched OL vs. DL drills today instead of 7-on-7s. I’ll try to switch back and forth most days in pads. I did hear Jones had a nice pick on a bad throw from Wentz on the 7-on-7 field but I didn’t see it. Here are a few other notes from the OL vs. DL drills: 

• Hassan Ridgeway showed off some technique, swim-moving his way through Matt Pryor. But on the next rep, Pryor stood him up for some revenge. 

• Dillard looked good. He got Curry’s momentum working against him and got him wide of the quarterback and later stood up Daeshon Hall. 

• While Treyvon Hester was put to the ground by Pryor once, he then went through rookie Nate Herbig twice. Hester and Ridgeway are making that competition for reserve DT fun. 

10. No, Nate Sudfeld hasn’t been very good this camp so far, but today he had his best throw to date. During WR-DB 1-on-1s, he threw a beautiful deep ball to Shelton Gibson, who caught it for a TD with Jay Liggins in coverage. Wentz also had two pretty throws during this period, one to DeSean Jackson (of course) and one to Agholor. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: Pederson and Lane Johnson were mic’d up by NFL Films today. I look forward to seeing that whenever it comes out. I’m sure Johnson didn’t hold anything back. 

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Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Eagles choose to sit tight, watch as Brandin Cooks is traded to the Texans

Another week, another starting wide receiver changing teams - and the Eagles still remain on the sidelines.

The Rams traded Brandin Cooks and a future fourth-round pick to the Texans on Thursday for the No. 57 pick in this month's NFL Draft, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Cooks, 26, is headed to his fourth team since being drafted by the Saints in 2014, and his third team since 2017.

The Texans' move, of course, comes a little more than three weeks after Houston traded DeAndre Hopkins, a superior wide receiver, to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for basically a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman implied in late March that the Eagles were involved in the Hopkins discussions, but couldn't - or didn't want to - match the Cardinals' offer. It was an interesting argument, considering the Birds' absolutely dire need for wide receiver help, but Roseman isn't one to overpay when he draws a line in the sand. 

It's unclear whether the Eagles were in the mix for Cooks, a player who they've been linked to in previous trade talks.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Dave Zangaro broke down the pros and cons of a potential Cooks-to-Eagles deal, and concluded that while Roseman should've at least been talking to the Rams about Cooks, trading a second-round pick for a player with concussion history who isn't getting any younger wouldn't be a smart use of capital:

Should they trade away the No. 53 pick for him? No way! Especially not in a draft that’s this deep at receiver. And not for a high-priced player coming off his worst NFL season and who might be one concussion away from the end of his career.

The fact that the Texans' Bill O'Brien, not exactly one of football's most revered decision-makers at the moment, traded the No. 57 pick for Cooks tells that Dave was on the money.

Of course, this leaves the Eagles with one fewer way to fix their wide receiver woes. They are clearly eyeing the draft, where a historically deep wide receiver class should net at least one contributor.

Will it be in the first round? Players like Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs seem like game-changers, but they might not be available without the Eagles trading up. If they don't, guys like Brandon Aiyuk could be available with the second-round pick Roseman just decided to not trade.

And if they wait past the first wave of top-tier wideout talent, there are plenty of names to watch in the later rounds.

One thing's for certain: things are starting to heat up, and that's normally when Roseman starts making moves.

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Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

Sidney Jones: 'You haven't seen nothing yet'

“There’s a whole lot left. That’s all I can tell you. You haven’t seen nothing yet," Sidney Jones said Thursday afternoon in an interview. 

Jones is going into his third real season in the NFL. He has gone through injuries. He’s been a healthy scratch.

Howie Roseman said, “It’s time for him to prove it," and Jones agrees.

“Adversity builds character," he said. "I feel like I have weathered the storm. I am ready to show what I can do and prove it."

Jones is working out in Texas with noted defensive backs trainer Ronnie Braxton. They are working on physical and mental techniques. I asked Jones if his confidence has been affected through his ups and downs.

“It probably could have," he said. "I’m not going to lie. But you’ve got to keep pushing through it and that’s where I’m at right now, working with everybody in my circle that’s getting me back right." 

Jones is also working with veteran cornerback Chris Harris, who was just named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team. Jones wishes Harris would’ve signed with the Eagles, but Harris chose the Chargers in free agency. 

“Just to be around guys like that and to watch him and watch his moves and see how they go about their business, I can just follow him and pick up tips," Jones said.

Jones is thrilled the Eagles traded for his “boy” Darius Slay. Jones says having Slay with the cornerback will help him, and he says the two have a similar body type.

“Veteran leadership," he said. "He’s been around the game and has experience. I think it’s going to be really good for us."

Jones said the Eagles did not say anything to him after they traded for Slay. The word is Jones and Avonte Maddox will compete for the other outside cornerback spot, and Jones is ready to compete. 

“I am ready," he said. "I don’t think anybody is working as hard as me right now”

How motivated is he?

“I can’t even describe," he said. "It’s not even on the radar. It’s 1,000 times above that. I’m excited, man.”

Jones and his fiancée donated $25,000 to The Philly Pledge, following Rodney McLeod’s lead. Jones wants to help people in Philly, and wants to stay in Philly.  

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