10 observations

Eagles minicamp observations, Day 3: 'I just want the rings'

Eagles minicamp observations, Day 3: 'I just want the rings'

The Eagles finished their spring practices Thursday and it really felt like the last day of school. 

Actually, it felt even better than the last day of school for most of the team. The Eagles get their Super Bowl rings in a private ceremony tonight.

That’s where we’ll start today’s observations: 

1. Jalen Mills walked out to practice with even more swagger than normal — and he normally has plenty. But as he walked onto the field, he yelled, “Give me my Super Bowl ring!” That came after he posted videos of him on Instagram wearing Super Bowl gear and posing with the Lombardi Trophy. 

The team backed up his excitement with the playlist. It started with Kap G’s “Rings” and then went to “Big Rings” from Drake and Future. 

2. Still no Sidney Jones or Haloti Ngata practicing. Both were watching at practice, but haven’t been participating. We’ll get to see them at training camp in a little over a month. 

Tim Jernigan and Brandon Graham walked out of the facility together. They obviously haven’t been at practice, Jernigan getting over surgery for a herniated disc and Graham getting over ankle surgery. Graham is still using crutches. 

3. During the team portion of practice, we saw some more tricks for the second straight day. Today, it looked an awful lot like the Philly Special. Former college quarterback Greg Ward took a pitch and then threw the ball to Nick Foles, who rolled right, in the end zone for a touchdown. It looked awfully familiar. 

4. Carson Wentz again participated in 7-on-7s, but today they were in the red zone for part of it. For that part, Wentz hit Ward in the back of the end zone for a touchdown on a play where Ward clearly wasn’t his first read. The next play, he hit Dallas Goedert in the front left corner of the end zone. 

5. Let’s talk a little about Goedert on that play. Because it was a nice throw from Wentz, but the rookie made the play. He used his body masterfully to shield linebacker Corey Nelson from the ball. This is something we’ve seen Ertz become great at in the last couple of years and Goedert is starting off being pretty good at it. 

6. We saw how much the Eagles began to use RPOs late in the 2017 season because Foles was really comfortable with them. It’s interesting, because I think it’s now going to be a big part of the Eagles’ offense. Today, even Joe Callahan was running RPOs, so it’s a part of the playbook for everyone, not just Foles. It’s kind of crazy to think that Wentz’s injury has led to another big wrinkle in the Eagles’ offense. 

7. Avonte Maddox got some reps with the first team as the slot corner during 7-on-7s. It’s the first time we’ve seen Maddox with the ones. The rookie corner has struggled some over the last few weeks, but there’s a steep learning curve, especially at nickel corner, a spot that’s new for him. 

8. We’ve talked so much about Goedert because he’s the shiny new toy, but Ertz is still really good and is getting better. He’s had a great spring. With that looming breakout year talk over, he is going to be one of the top TEs in the league for years to come. 

9. Wentz threw a loooong deep ball that Rashard Davis had trouble tracking. It was just one of those plays where it felt like Wentz was going to unload and he did. It probably traveled 50-60 yards in the air. He’s still got a rocket on his shoulder. 

10. At the end of practice during a special teams drill, Foles, Nate Sudfeld and Callahan played a game where they tried to hit the crossbar on the goal posts in the fewest attempts. Once everyone hit it, they moved back five yards. 

From the goal line
Sudfeld: 4th try
Foles: 3rd
Callahan 1st

From the 5
Sudfeld: 3rd
Foles: 1st
Callahan: 2nd

From the 10
Sudfeld: 3rd
Foles: 5th
Callahan: 2nd

From the 15
Sudfeld: 9th
Foles: 1st
Callahan: 3rd

That first throw from Foles from the 15-yard line was a bullet. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: I shouldn’t have stood so close to the speaker. Now my ears are ringing, which is pretty funny, considering all the songs today were about rings. 

More on the Eagles

Eagles minicamp observations, Day 2: A good sign from Alshon Jeffery

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Eagles minicamp observations, Day 2: A good sign from Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles were back at practice Wednesday afternoon, their second of three mandatory minicamp sessions. 

Tuesday's observations focused on Darren Sproles and Michael Bennett joining the team for the mandatory portion of camp (see story)

Today, we’ll focus on a guy who’s been around but isn’t healthy just yet. 

1. During the team portion of practice, which was happening on the far side of the field, Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffery had a little catch. Nothing too taxing, but the sight of Wentz throwing to Jeffery was enough for everyone to take notice. 

It’s the first time we’ve seen Jeffery catch passes since he needed rotator cuff surgery after the season. And it’s the first time we’ve seen Wentz throw to Jeffery since early December. For the most part, Wentz was on the money with his throws, but a few times, they were just a tad higher than in the chest. Jeffery looked fine raising his arms to catch a ball, a good sign after shoulder surgery. 

“It’s good,” Wentz said. “Obviously, we’d love to be out there competing and all these things. I know it’s tough for him to watch from the sidelines too, just like it is for any competitor.”

2. Sidney Jones is still not practicing. Doug Pederson said the second-year corner is suffering from some lower-body soreness that’s not related to that Achilles injury from last year. The same guys who haven’t been practicing weren’t practicing again today. 

That includes big Haloti Ngata. 

3. At one point during individual drills, Wentz dropped back to pass and instead of a ball boy, his receiver was Nick Foles. The Super Bowl MVP is also possibly the most famous receiver in Eagles’ Super Bowl history. 

Maybe he’s gearing up for Philly Special 2.0. 

4. Darren Sproles got a few more reps coming out of the backfield against air and he still has it. So quick, so agile, so smooth coming out of the backfield. He doesn’t need the extra reps. Just bubble-wrap him until Week 1. 

5. The play of the day came during 7-on-7s, when Nate Sudfeld dropped in a beautiful deep ball to Bryce Treggs, who needed to stretch out to make the fingertips catch. It’s not hard to see why the Eagles are so high on Sudfeld. He can drop dimes. 

6. We saw some trickeration from the Eagles today. On the very first play of team, former quarterback Greg Ward took a pitch from his receiver position and tried to hit Mike Wallace deep down the field. The pass fell incomplete. It didn’t even come close to working, but the fact that the Eagles are working on that stuff — there were more gadgety plays too — means they feel pretty good about the basics. 

7. The nickel corner carousel continued to spin today. This time, first-year player D.J. Killings took his turn. So Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby were outside, with Killings in the slot. The only guy who still hasn’t gotten reps in the slot with the first team — and he won’t — is Rasul Douglas. 

8. Sudfeld found Dallas Goedert on a beautifully timed pass and route during 11-on-11s. Goedert has been really impressive this spring. It’s still early and we’ll have to see what he can do once the pads go on, but he’s looking like he can make an immediate impact this season. He and Sudfeld have really worked well together. 

9. Nate Gerry dropped back into coverage and picked off a pass from Foles during a team snap. Gerry is in the competition for the weakside linebacker spot once owned by Mychal Kendricks. He’s in that competition with Kamu Grugier-Hill and free agent pickup Corey Nelson. Gerry continues to push hard. 

10. During 11-on-11s, Donnel Pumphrey got a rare rep with the first team and he made the most of it. He caught a quick little swing pass and then showed off some athleticism and shiftiness. Like we’ve said before about Pumphrey … long way to go, but his NFL career isn’t dead yet. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: The Eagles switched up the practice playlist today. Plenty of classic rock in the beginning. The music highlight of the day is when “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” came on and Grugier-Hill did a little country dance during a special teams drill.

More from Eagles minicamp

Michael Bennett explains OTAs absence after 1st Eagles practice

Fletcher Cox wants to be Defensive Player of Year — can he?

After ring ceremony, Eagles will be done celebrating Super Bowl

Duce Staley confirms Eagles will have a lead running back

Eagles OTA observations: Wentz does more, standout players

Eagles OTA observations: Wentz does more, standout players

While plenty of folks outside the hedged fences of the NovaCare Complex are still talking about the White House visit that wasn’t, the Eagles are trying to get back to life as usual. 

On Wednesday morning, that meant taking the field for another OTA practice. Their ninth of 10. It was open to reporters. 

Here are 10 observations: 

1. Michael Bennett and Darren Sproles are still not at OTAs. They’re expected to show up next week for the Eagles’ mandatory minicamp. Fletcher Cox and Nigel Bradham were also missing Wednesday; no reason yet from the Eagles. 

The following players were at practice but did not participate, presumably for injury or maintenance reasons: Haloti Ngata, Sidney Jones, Donnel Pumphrey, Josh Adams, Joe Walker, LaRoy Reynolds, Ryan Neal and Marquess Wilson. 

2. Missing practice for Donnel Pumphrey simply can’t be a good thing for the second-year running back. After a terrible spring and summer a year ago, Pumphrey really has to prove himself if he wants to try to stick with the Eagles. Can’t do that from the sideline. 

3. The Eagles did some new position drills. The receivers used cattle shoots, normally reserved for running backs to work on leverage, to keep them low in and out of their breaks. 

And then the quarterbacks did drills in the pocket while they had giant rubber balls rolled toward them. The focus had to be about standing in the pocket and delivering a throw as that pocket collapses. 

4. Carson Wentz did indeed participate in more today than we’ve seen from him before (see story). Today, he did 4-on-4 drills and later 7-on-7s. During those 7-on-7 drills, he completed two consecutive passes to his favorite target, Zach Ertz. 

5. Speaking of tight ends, rookie Dallas Goedert caught two touchdowns from Nick Foles when the team did some red zone work. That might be a sign to come if it’s a glimpse into the Eagles’ plans for the young tight end. The Eagles have Alshon Jeffery and Ertz, who both warrant a lot of attention near the goal line. That could give Goedert a chance to catch some touchdowns in his first NFL season. 

6. Nate Sudfeld threw the pass of the day during 11-on-11 drills. It was a beautiful deep ball down the left sideline that was brought in by a streaking Shelton Gibson. Sudfeld tossed a few dimes today. 

7. With Sidney Jones’ not practicing, De’Vante Bausby made the most of his opportunity. The young cornerback has been turning heads all spring and might have had his best day to date. He picked off two passes (he probably would have drawn a DPI on one, to be fair) and swatted another back in Foles’ face. Eventually, it’s probably going to be hard to keep Jones off the field, but keep an eye on Bausby. The hype seems real.  

8. While we’re on the topic of hype, I have my nominee for this year’s Na Brown Training Camp Hero Award. I think undrafted wide receiver Tim Wilson can be that guy. The former Radnor receiver, who went undrafted out of East Stroudsburg, continues to look pretty good. He’s not incredibly athletic or fast, but he works hard, has good hands and seems to compete. He has all the makings of a training camp superstar fans will love. 

9. Rasul Douglas is a skilled trash talker, which is a good thing. The Eagles are coming off a Super Bowl, so they’ll use any kind of edge they can in practice. Sometimes, it’s good to have guys to stir the pot in practice. After Bryce Treggs caught a pass over the middle, Douglas yelled to him from the sideline, telling him he didn’t think he’d survive that hit in a real game. 

10. Rashard Davis made the catch of the day. The 5-foot-9 receiver settled into a zone and needed to rise up to make a catch between two defenders on a ball that sailed a little on Nick Foles. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: The Eagles’ playlist was almost all country music at Wednesday’s practice. That’s unusual. Normally, they’ll toss a country song in the mix, but not exclusively country.