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Eagles training camp observations: Sirianni fired up already


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Eagles training camp observations: Sirianni fired up already

Here's a look at Dave Zangaro's practice observations from the first day of Eagles training camp

Published July 26, 2023


It felt like training camp on Wednesday morning as the Eagles took the field for their first practice of the summer.

Although, in 2023 it’s not like there are two-a-days. The Eagles’ first practice of the summer lasted just 1 hour and 3 minutes with a short developmental period after. The players were in shorts to start and it’ll be a few days before we see them in full pads.

But still, it’s always exciting to see the start of training camp. Here are 10 practice observations from Day 1:

1. The Eagles made a few minor roster moves official on Wednesday morning. They signed WR Deon Cain, released TE Dalton Keene and placed WR Devon Allen on the Active/Non-Football Injury list. Allen hurt his calf this summer as he competed in the hurdles.

The Eagles are also pretty healthy as they begin training camp. Star edge rusher Haason Reddick was the only guy who didn’t practice. He has some groin soreness but is expected to return after the weekend. Reddick was a spectator for Wednesday’s session.

Avonte Maddox (toe) and Derek Barnett (knee) were limited but at least they were out there as practice began. Maddox had toe surgery after the Super Bowl and Barnett missed most of last season after tearing his ACL in Week 1. The Eagles didn’t put any players on their Active/PUP list this year.

2. A few offensive depth chart notes:

• Second-year OL Cam Jurgens worked with the first team at right guard. It certainly seems like that spot will be his to lose. His competition, rookie Tyler Steen, was the second-teamer at right guard. Brett Toth filled in as second-team center, the spot Jurgens held in his rookie camp.



• The Eagles really rotated at running back with the first unit, just like Nick Sirianni said they would. Just about everyone got some reps with the first team. A bit of a surprise: Rashaad Penny got the first carry of the summer.

• While recently signed Dennis Kelly was working as the second-team left tackle during OL drills, he was bumped to third team in team drills. The 33-year-old veteran just arrived and they might just bring him along slowly.

• The top receivers were still A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins, but newcomer Olamide Zaccheaus mixed in too.

• After Jalen Hurts with the ones and Marcus Mariota with the twos, Ian Book and rookie Tanner McKee split reps as the third-team QB.

3. Some defensive depth chart notes:

• The first-team safeties were Reed Blankenship and Terrell Edmunds. Then K’Von Wallace and Justin Evans began practice as the safeties with the second team. The Eagles drafted Sydney Brown in the third round, but he began camp with the threes. It’ll be interesting to see how quickly he can climb the depth chart.

• The first-team linebackers were Nakobe Dean and Nicholas Morrow, but we did see Christian Elliss rotate in for Morrow. There might be a competition playing out for the other linebacker spot next to Dean.

• Without Reddick, Brandon Graham began practice as the left edge player opposite Josh Sweat on the right side. Eventually, though, we saw Nolan Smith get some reps there too.

• The first guys with the first-team on the DL: Graham, Sweat, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Milton Williams. The Eagles obviously drafted Jalen Carter in the first round, but there’s no rush to get him out there with the starters as he acclimates to the NFL and a new scheme.

• While Maddox practiced, he was not doing full team drills so Zech McPhearson and then Josiah Scott worked in with the first team at nickel corner. This represents a position switch for McPhearson. (Maddox did participate in 7-on-7s.)

• The top corners to start camp were obviously Darius Slay and James Bradberry. Greedy Williams and Josh Jobe were the outside corners for the second team. Rookie Kelee Ringo began his training camp with the threes.

4. The Eagles did a ton of red zone work in their first practice — Sirianni loves situational work — and things were understandably sloppy on Day 1. But that was clearly unacceptable for Sirianni.

During a late period of practice, he reamed out his team for pre-snap penalties, telling them that’s how teams lose games. He really gave it to the defense at one point. Sirianni had a megaphone in his hand but his natural screaming voice was plenty loud for those moments.

5. Don’t forget about Dallas Goedert. For as much as everyone talks about Brown and Smith, Goedert is one of the best tight ends in the NFL and he and Hurts clearly have a strong rapport. Some of Hurts’ best passes on Wednesday went to Goedert, including one on his move to the left with an arm angle to sneak in a pass to Goedert at the goal line.

As good as Goedert was on Wednesday, Bradberry did have two nice pass breakups on him. One was a physical play on a ball to Goedert’s chest and the other was broken up near the grass.

6. We got our first glimpse at the punter competition. One shank for rookie Ty Zentner, but this could legitimately be a close competition. Both guys had some big punts on Wednesday.

The punt returners in order: Britain Covey, Greg Ward, Olamide Zaccheaus, Quez Watkins.

7. After a strong spring, linebacker Christian Elliss kept it going on Wednesday. He picked off passes in both practices open to reporters this spring and had another one on Wednesday, grabbing an errant Mariota pass in the end zone. Not a great start for Mariota, who threw a couple ugly passes and had an unforced fumble, but there were good moments too.

8. Like we mentioned above, just about all the top running backs got some work with the first team, including Trey Sermon, who might be on the outside of the bubble.

The Eagles were able to get a screen pass to D’Andre Swift on Wednesday and the former second-round pick from the Lions got to show off his burst after that. Throwing to the backs hasn’t been a huge part of the Eagles’ offense, but they certainly have the athleticism up front to be a dangerous screen team. Perhaps we’ll see some of that with Swift this year.

Saw one heck of a spin move from Kenny Gainwell during an 11-on-11 rep. He got bottled up inside and ripped off a quick spin, bounce outside for a big gain. Didn’t know he had that in his toolbelt.

Boston Scott also had an impressive juke move on rookie cornerback Eli Ricks that led to some "oohs” and "ahhs” from some fans in attendance.

9. The Eagles bring back their top three tight ends from the 2022 season but they still have Tyree Jackson on the roster. The former University of Buffalo QB has been a project in Philly for a while, but he seems to make some eye-popping plays every summer. He started that again on Wednesday with a leaping touchdown grab on a Mariota pass at the back of the end zone. He had two touchdown grabs on the day.

There might not be a roster spot for Jackson but it’s easy to see why the Eagles have kept him around for so long.

10. A few other notable defensive plays:

• Nice play from Carter, knifing into the backfield against the first-team offense. There’s a long way to go, but a good first showing for him.

• Blankenship had a diving PBU on a pass intended for Gainwell at the goal line.

• McKee really stared down Swift on a pass near the goal line and after it was tipped by Tristin McCollum, linebacker Davion Taylor grabbed the INT and took it the other way.

• Practice ended with a PBU from UDFA cornerback Mekhi Garner, who made a couple plays this spring too.

Stupid Observation of the Day: The Eagles hold press conferences before the start of practice, which makes it really tough for me to take attendance. That’s why I appreciate Shaun Bradley so much. The Eagles’ fourth-year linebacker lets out a primal scream as he enters the practice field every day. I don’t have to even look up. I just put a little tick next to his name on my roster.


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