August 22, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins wrapped up their second of two joint practice on Tuesday before each teams' third preseason game on Thursday. More importantly, from the media perspective, today's practice was the last one open to the media until next year. This will be our 21st and final practice observation post. 🍾
• Like they did yesterday, the Eagles and Dolphins practiced on two fields. On one field, it was the Eagles' offense vs. the Dolphins' defense. On the other, it was the Dolphins' offense vs. the Eagles' defense. Yesterday, I spent the entire day with the Eagles' offense. Today, I watched the defense.
• We don't usually note the star players much because everyone already knows what they're capable of, however, I'll take a second to point out Fletcher Cox's rare athleticism. On a screen play, Cox chased down tight end Anthony Fasano to the sideline for a minimal gain. Fasano isn't exactly Usain Bolt, but the way that Cox can move while chasing plays down on the perimeter is extremely impressive to see in person.
• Vinny Curry had a good day for the first time in a while. He was able to beat former first round pick Laremy Tunsil on multiple occasions. Chris Long had a strong day as well, getting consistent pressure throughout the day.
We'll also note Derek Barnett as usual. He was in the backfield a number of times, but I've also been impressed with his ability to drop into coverage on zone blitzes. He really doesn't look awful doing that, as long as you don't ask him to do too much.
• A pair of safeties battling for a roster spot are Terrence Brooks and Jaylen Watkins. After being moved to corner after the arrival of safety Corey Graham, Watkins has actually played pretty well. Today, he had an impressive over-the-shoulder interception. Brooks was previously thought of as something of a lock. While I still believe he'll make the team, I'm not as sure as I was previously.
Brooks had a nice day too, for the record. He had a pair of pass breakups against Jarvis Landry and Fasano.
• Jalen Mills had a bad moment today. Mills was in decent position to break up a deep ball to DeVante Parker. Mills detached from the receiver to go get the ball, which he badly misjudged, and Parker came away with an easy touchdown catch. He also dropped a gift interception from Jay Cutler today.
Mills is not a ballhawk. He had no interceptions a year ago, and he only had one in his last two seasons combined at LSU.
• Nigel Bradham struggled in coverage today as well, with his lowlight coming on a deep ball to Fasano.
• Rasul Douglas had a strong day. He was physical with Dolphins receivers at the line of scrimmage, and I saw at least two pass breakups, one of which he almost picked off.
• Speaking of Cutler, while not exactly Peyton Manning in between the ears, that guy still has a freaking rifle for an arm. On an errant sideline throw, he drilled me in the leg today. Before you accuse me of a drop, I will note that the ball hit me on a short hop, and it got there in a split second. In that scenario, all you're really trying to do is not get hit in the testes.
But I make that point to note that while Carson Wentz has a strong arm, he does not have the elite kind of arm strength that guys like Cutler or Aaron Rodgers have.
• A couple weeks ago, PhillyVoice reported that Brian Dawkins was serving as something of an unofficial defensive back and linebacker coach. After practice today, Dawkins with working with newcomer Ronald Darby.
30 min after practice Ronald Darby and Brian Dawkins still on the field working. pic.twitter.com/5ykCEBiikJ— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) August 22, 2017
So let's end this year's notes on Brian Dawkins.
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