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Eagles training camp observations: Redemption for a young cornerback


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Eagles training camp observations: Redemption for a young cornerback

Here are some observations from the Eagles' second training camp practice of 2023

By Dave Zangaro  Published July 28, 2023


After a walkthrough on Thursday, the Eagles were back at practice on Friday at the NovaCare Complex.

This practice was slightly longer than Day 1, lasting about 1 hour and 15 minutes in the hot summer sun.

Let’s get to the observations:

1. As always, we’ll start with attendance. The Eagles had the same injury report from Day 1:

Did not practice: Haason Reddick (groin)

Limited: Avonte Maddox (toe), Derek Barnett (knee)

The Eagles have said they expect Reddick to be back after the upcoming weekend. With the next practice on Sunday, we might not see him until Tuesday. Better to be safe this time of year.

Running back Boston Scott came up a little gimpy after one play but seemed OK and was hanging around after practice, so clearly nothing serious.

2. A few depth chart notes:

 Cam Jurgens was at right guard for the second straight practice. Curious to see if this is simply his job or if the Eagles will put Tyler Steen in there at some point.

• The Eagles continued to rotate at running back with the first team. That will be a theme all summer.

• After working with the third team on Day 1, veteran Dennis Kelly is already the second-team left tackle. That didn’t take long. He figures to be the backup at that position this season.

• The top two safeties to begin the day were Reed Blankenship and K’Von Wallace. On Wednesday, it was Blankenship and veteran Terrell Edmunds with the first team. While Edmunds eventually got first-team snaps later on Friday, he began practice with the second unit. The other second-team safety was Justin Evans. Rookie Sydney Brown continues to work with the threes. Wallace had a big hit on Kenny Gainwell in the first period of the day that send the little running back flying.

• Maddox (toe) is still not participating in 11-on-11 drills. On Friday, Josiah Scott was the first-team nickel cornerback. Zech McPhearson rotated to that position later in the day but began with the second team as the NCB.

 Nakobe Dean and Nicholas Morrow were the first-team linebackers. The second team was Christian Elliss and Shaun Bradley to start.

• The starting first-team DL was Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis and Josh Sweat. In the five-man front, Milton Williams got out there. It’s worth noting that we’re seeing Davis in four-man fronts.

3. During a team portion in the middle of practice, Marcus Mariota aired out a deep ball to a streaking Greg Ward Jr., who caught what was probably a 40+ yard touchdown pass. On the play, he burned second-year cornerback Josh Jobe, who has been a second-team outside corner opposite veteran Greedy Williams.

A couple periods later, with the Eagles’ first-team offense vs. the second-team defense, Jalen Hurts tried to throw a deep ball to DeVonta Smith but underthrew the pass and Jobe was able to break it up. It was a near INT. A little redemption for a guy fighting to earn a roster spot.

4. Some breaking news from Eagles camp: A.J. Brown is still good. The team portion of practice began with a 25+ yard pass from Hurts to Brown. It was a beautiful touch toss from Hurts and Brown threw up some late hands to catch the ball over a trailing Scott, who actually had good position.

Hurts had another near deep ball to Quez Watkins later but Watkins’ momentum took him out of bounds and the referee on the right sideline ruled it that way. Overall, a pretty efficient day for QB1.

5. After a quiet first day on Wednesday, we saw some of the quickness from new receiver Olamide Zaccheaus. Wearing No. 13, Zaccheaus caught a couple passes back-to-back from Mariota. Those two played together last year in Atlanta so their connection might show up plenty this summer.

6. After two practices, it’s already pretty clear that D’Andre Swift is a very natural pass catcher and it looks like that will be a big part of his role with the Eagles. In the first team period of Friday’s practice, Swift had a leaping catch on a pass that soared a bit on Hurts. It’s the kind of catch not every running back makes. While Swift should be expected to look pretty good in non-padded practices early in camp … at least he does.

Another note on running backs: Seeing some good burst from Gainwell early.

7. Mariota had an ugly first day of practice on Wednesday but was better on Friday. He hit that deep ball to Ward and was able to show off some of his speed when nothing was open. He also had a nifty shovel pass to Trey Sermon on a broken play.

He did have one ugly incompletion, when he short-armed the ball and bounced it to Zaccheaus. When Mariota misses, it typically doesn’t look good. He has a weird throwing motion that makes it look like he’s pushing the ball out instead of throwing it.

8. Notes on some guys you might care about:

• Still no pads — keep that in mind — but saw some more good signs from Jalen Carter. The rookie first-round pick is just unique with how he moves and he had another splashy play on Friday dealing with a double team. He’s very quick, as Jordan Mailata pointed out after practice.

• A couple good reps from Jordan Davis too. He’s slimmer this year for sure but still has power. He had an impressive bullrush against Landon Dickerson, who is a pretty big dude himself. I also watched Jason Kelce use his leverage perfectly to shut down Davis on a bull too. That’s just veteran savvy.

• While Brandon Graham is with the first team while Reddick is out, Nolan Smith is getting his chance to rotate in. He looks as fast as you’d want a 240-pound edge rusher to look. The get-off pops. And he even showed off his ability to drop in coverage.

9. It took even less time than Day 1 for head coach Nick Sirianni to voice his displeasure. During an early drill, he screamed at his receivers for losing sight of fundamentals in a ball security drill. That kind of stuff drives him nuts. He yelled at his players and told them he shouldn’t even need to tell them to use the right technique.

10. Sirianni always loves to hit situational football hard and sometimes he’ll throw them in during the flow of the session. Late in this practice, with the ones facing the ones, Sirianni set up the situation through his bullhorn: 2-point conversion to win the game. DeVonta Smith went in motion and then before the ball was snapped, Patrick Johnson jumped. Mailata tapped him to get the call and they never ran the play. On Day 1, Sirianni yelled at his O-linemen for not drawing those offsides penalties, but Mailata got the ooga-booga-booga today.

Stupid Observation of the Day: It was a hot morning at the NovaCare Complex and it didn’t seem like a fun day to be Swoop. But the Eagles’ mascot put in a tough day of work, greeting fans in attendance and doing his usual bit. He even mimed that he was feeling cool despite the heat. I jotted that anecdote down as the sweat poured off my arm onto my notebook.


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