August 20, 2017
Philadelphia Eagles training camp technically ended last Tuesday, but because the Birds have joint practices with the Miami Dolphins on Monday and Tuesday of this week, which are practices the team is required to open to the media, the Eagles just let us in on Sunday too. It was a "10/10/10" practice, so there wasn't a ton of action, but here's what we saw.
• Mychal Kendricks got a lot of metaphorical head pats and butt slaps for his second interception in two preseason games last Thursday against the Buffalo Bills. However, the guy who really made that play was safety Rodney McLeod, who timed out a blitz perfectly and was able to leap in the air to deflect the pass, leading to the pick.
McLeod had a very active day today, timing out a blitz nicely once again in a red zone drill, and making an athletic play on a pass breakup.
McLeod is a sneaky important player this season, with the recent addition of Ronald Darby. As we pointed out previously, in Darby's "down season" in Buffalo last year, he played with five different starting safeties on his side of the field:
It's not easy playing cornerback in the NFL when you're not on the same page as the safeties behind you.
The player who will be most responsible for communicating with Darby is McLeod. In practice on Sunday, McLeod was often barking instructions to Darby pre-snap, more so than he normally would with another corner.
After Darby was traded to Philly, he stated that he was happy to be here from a team structure perspective because "the safeties know what they're doing."
• There were a number of players back and practicing in team drills today. They were Nick Foles (who was a full participant for the first time in weeks), Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Wendell Smallwood, and Ron Brooks. Notes on each player:
• Vinny Curry had a rough day. He jumped offsides twice, and was strongly reprimanded by DL coach Chris Wilson for not continuing to finish the play out after he jumped. In other words, after you jump offsides, you better still attack the quarterback and limit the damage to just a five yard penalty as opposed to something worse. Curry's biggest threat at the moment is Derek Barnett, who was out today with a "lower body injury," according to Doug Pederson. Barnett is day-to-day, as Pederson said it wasn't serious.
• After two misses this preseason, a number of fans have become worried about kicker Caleb Sturgis. Power Sturge had a nice day today, connecting on all eight of his field goal attempts. Here were his kicks today:
Sturgis throughout camp:
Today I learned that thre will be no media field goal kicking competition, which is a devastating turn of events.
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