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August 07, 2017

Eagles 2017 training camp practice notes, Day 13

Eagles NFL

For the first time during 2017 Philadelphia Eagles training camp, inclement weather forced the team inside. Still, even practicing inside the bubble, where there's limited space, the Eagles were in pads today, and there was action worth noting.

• After NFL Network analyst (with Eagles ties) Daniel Jeremiah crowned Nelson Agholor as the starting slot receiver a few days ago, Agholor has had a pair of shaky practices. During Sunday's open practice, Agholor dropped what should have been a touchdown on a perfect deep ball from Carson Wentz. On Monday, he got about five yards behind the defense on what had to be a busted coverage and had the ball clank off his shoulder pads.

The latter drop was so egregiously bad, it was the kind of play that they might show in a montage at the beginning of a movie to depict how terrible a team is.

Agholor has made far more plays than he has in previous camps, but his hands are still inconsistent – and have been throughout camp. If he had the same two drops in game situations that he just had in practice the last two days, the city would go berserk.

• We've been on the "It makes sense to trade Jordan Matthews" wagon since May. However, a very strong argument for keeping Matthews is the relationship that he has with Wentz. If Wentz likes and trusts Matthews, then maybe you just let your second-year quarterback have what he wants? I can certainly see that side of the coin as well.

Today, after Wentz hit Matthews on a slant for a TD, Wentz and Matthews did their patented TD celebration.


Wentz and Agholor have no such choreographed TD celebration. Slot WR drama!

• Agholor was up, and now he's down. Meanwhile, a few players who were down, are now suddenly up a bit. Patrick Robinson had a pick six and Shelton Gibson made a nice catch on a back shoulder throw today. Robinson and Gibson received the most "stock down" votes in our recent Eagles media "stock up / stock down" poll.

Every year there's a player who plays like crap in camp and is then good in the preseason games, or plays well in camp and then is garbage in the preseason, prompting avid readers of camp reports to claim the media doesn't know what it's looking at. My prediction for that player this year is Gibson.

• In weird wide receiver news, Torrey Smith was clearly gimpy for the entirety of the practice. At one point, he was literally holding his groin as he ran down the field with the football after the catch. Players will continue to try to play even if they're hurt, sometimes to their own detriment. I don't know how nobody on the team saw that he was hurt and got him off the field.

• The Eagles ran some hurry-up offense today, and I thought the offense looked pretty good with their speed getting up to the line of scrimmage. If there was one positive to take away from the Chip Kelly era, maybe it's that the offensive linemen know how to get up on the ball extremely quickly? Well, that and Shaun Huls.

C.J. Smith had a nice day. He was physical at the line of scrimmage and had sticky coverage. On one deep ball to Bryce Treggs, Smith had excellent position and had a chance at an interception, but could not haul it in. I would expect to see a ton of Smith in the preseason games so the team can see if he can win a starting job.

• I've been slow to mention him, but former Villanova linebacker Don Cherry has had a nice camp. Today he leaped high for an interception of Matt McGloin, ending the offense's hurry-up bid for a score.

• At one point today, the Eagles showed a 3-4 look. I thought that was interesting, as it was not a session in which the Eagles' defense was simply giving the offense a different look for their benefit.

• After a not-so-great practice a few days ago, Caleb Sturgis was 11 for 11 on his field goal attempts today:

Distance Good? 

• I have one last point on special teams. I often get asked why teams don't have position players learn how to long snap. After all, if a positional player can also serve as a long snapper, that adds an extra roster spot that's not occupied by a player who only snaps the football on punts and field goal attempts.

Long snappers are so good these days that they can snap the ball with an exact number of revolutions on the football that the holder can simply put the ball down and not have to spin it so that the laces are out. They aren't always perfect on that, but you'll see it a ton where the holder only has to catch and hold with no spin. 

Here's a slow motion video of Jon Dorenbos snapping to Donnie Jones. This is not luck:

In Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, Ray Finkle's mom felt that Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell for not getting the laces out on his hold of Finkle's game-losing 26-yard missed field goal attempt in the Super Bowl. If Dorenbos were the long snapper in that game, Marino wouldn't have had to worry about the laces, Finkle would have made the field goal, and Marino never would have been kidnapped.

My conclusion here is that if you think that long snappers should be replaced by positional players, you are an advocate for kidnapping.

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