August 03, 2017
On Thursday at Philadelphia Eagles training camp, the Birds had a tough practice, as they tackled to the ground for the second time this week. As always, we have notes.
• Fletcher Cox (rightfully) took some heat earlier this offseason for missing OTAs a year after signing a $100-plus million deal. In training camp, Cox's effort has been very good, particularly on Thursday, which was perhaps the most physical day of camp to date. Cox had a sack, a batted pass, and was getting penetration though the offensive line regularly. He doesn't often get mentioned because he's such a good player and everyone already knows what he is capable of, but Cox has had a good camp.
• Mychal Kendricks had his yearly missed day of practice because of a soft tissue injury. This time it was a quad. During OTAs, he missed time because of a hamstring. On the positive side, Jordan Hicks has a broken hand, and he participated in live tackling sessions, in the first week of August.
• Kendricks stated a week ago that he wants to be traded. We'll just quickly note here that rookie Nate Gerry got first team reps in Kendricks' absence today.
• Nelson Agholor had a strong day. On one off-target throw from Carson Wentz, Agholor reached back and was able to make the grab. A season ago, if Wentz's passes weren't on the money, his receivers almost never bailed him out with a difficult catch. Perhaps that will change to some degree this year.
Agholor also caught a deep ball on a go route past from Wentz past Rasul Douglas to close practice.
• It would appear that the Eagles are using offensive lineman Dillon Gordon as their fullback this season. Gordon played tight end at LSU, but the Eagles have converted him into an offensive tackle. Gordon is fun to watch at fullback, but he needs some work. He hits the hole hard and when he makes contact, it's jarring, however, he'll whiff at times as well and end up on the ground.
• When the Eagles get into their jumbo goal line package, "jumbo" might be an understatement. On Thursday, they had the following lineup at the goal line, with listed weights. (LeGarrette Blount did not practice today, but we'll insert him in as the obvious goal line running back.)
That would be 3,212 pounds, or 1.6 tons of man.
• Wendell Smallwood continues to impress during live tackling sessions. On one play, Smallwood was met in the hole by Terrence Brooks and a loud collision ensued. Brooks got the worst of it, as Smallwood decleated him. I've been really impressed by how hard Smallwood has run this year. He looked like a finesse player last camp. This year, he has looked to finish runs with authority.
• Earlier in practice, Jim Schwartz sent Brooks off the field for lighting up Corey Clement after the whistle.
• The other big collision on the day was when Nigel Bradham met Darren Sproles in the hole. Sproles got the worst of that hit but somehow managed to stay on his feet before the Eagles defense swarmed and brought him down.
• There still has not yet been a fight this year, but we came close today when Jason Kelce and Rodney McLeod got in each others' faces.
• I asked 30 Eagles media people, all of whom have attended every practice (or close enough to it), to identify one player whose stock is up and one whose stock is down. The player with the most votes for "stock up" was Marcus Johnson. This time last year, Trey Burton likely would have been that guy, as he had a great camp, though his regular season was just OK.
Burton has had another good camp, as he has made a number of plays. Today, he broke a tackle attempt from Jalen Mills and got an extra 20 or so yards as a result.
• A lesser mentioned player on the Eagles' defense who is having a nice camp is linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill. He had two tackles for loss today, one of which came on a play that Kamu diagnosed quickly and flew through the line like a mission to throw the back for a loss.
• Vinny Curry has been very quiet.
• After the aforementioned practice-ending TD grab by Agholor, the other 10 players on the Eagles' offense lined up in bowling pin formation. Agholor rolled the ball at them, and they all fell down. This is now legal in the NFL.
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