June 13, 2017
On Tuesday, the Philadelphia Eagles held their first media-attended minicamp practice. This minicamp will be the last we see of the Eagles until training camp begins at the end of July. As always, we have notes.
• As they did through most of OTAs, the defense dominated the offense, which isn't out of the ordinary for this time of year. It's easier for the defense to simply attack, while it is more difficult to get everyone on the same page and in a rhythm offensively.
• Still, even with a dominant defense, it was fun watching the offense, and more specifically Carson Wentz get cerebral. On one rep, Wentz changed the play, and then so did Jordan Hicks on the other side of the ball, followed by Jason Kelce screaming out a line adjustment. On another play, Wentz came up to the line and quick-snapped the defense before hitting an easy quick out to the slot receiver for an easy 10 yard gain. On another play, Wentz read a zone blitz and caught Derek Barnett trying to cover Darren Sproles on a circle route, which Sproles easily won. Sproles caught the pass, then headed up the field, even showing off a little high-step.
• The Wentz wobble was back today in individual drills, as a number of his passes looked like wounded ducks. They get there, but it's not pretty sometimes.
• We've seen Donnel Pumphrey on the field at the same time as Sproles quite a bit, with Pumphrey lined up in the slot. Offensively, Pumphrey could be used similarly to the way De'Anthony Thomas was used in Kansas City when Doug Pederson coached there. The Chiefs would use Thomas' natural running ability on jet sweeps, and that element would make sense for Pumphrey.
• After a nice day in the final media-attended OTA session last week, Dorial Green-Beckham was back to being Dorial Green-Beckham. On a deep ball down the sideline, DGB looked like he thought he couldn't catch up to the throw, so he didn't try, instead simply jogging down the sideline after it. As it turned out, the throw landed nowhere near him, but if he ran hard he may have had a shot at getting there.
• In other "not going to make the team" player news, Marcus Smith talked after practice about missing OTAs. His answers were bizarre, in case you missed it.
• Rasul Douglas showed he's human today. He got roasted by Marcus Johnson on a deep ball down the right side of the field. Douglas was in off coverage and Johnson simply ran right by him. The ball was slightly under-thrown, and Douglas still couldn't close the gap in time, which does not bode well for his catch-up speed.
Here's Douglas' spider chart from the Combine:
When you're in the 18th percentile for 40 time at the corner spot, that's a concern. 40 times are somewhat irrelevant at times in the NFL, but not when measuring long speed, when corners have to be able to keep up with faster wideouts running go routes.
We don't want to make too much of one throw, but we saw hints of this last training camp with Jalen Mills as well, and that carried over into the regular season.
Douglas and Mills do a lot of good things, but I think you have to devise your scheme to protect them against the deep ball.
• Speaking of Mills, he had a pick six today against a tryout quarterback. He jumped an out route intended for Mack Hollins and brought it back to the house. Mills did not have any picks last season, but he seems to be looking to make plays on the ball more this offseason.
• We got our first look at rookie sixth-round pick Elijah Qualls today, who has not yet practiced because his school is on the quarters system. The obvious first thing I noticed about him today was his active, violent hands. He reminds me a bit of E. Honda from Street Fighter II:
• One player who has become something of an afterthought is Bryce Treggs, but he had a good day today, making catches all over the field.
• Undrafted rookie running back Corey Clement won't wow you with his speed, but he looks good cutting and changing direction in traffic.
• One player on defense who has impressed so far is safety Terrence Brooks. He's been very physical, although he probably shouldn't be in non-contact practices. Still, he is willing to throw his jacked up body around. Aaron Grymes has also consistently played well so far from his corner spot.
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