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August 20, 2017

Eagles 2017 training camp practice notes, Day 19

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:

 1Duke Williams 
 2Duke Williams 
 3Aaron Williams 
 4Aaron Williams 
 5Aaron Williams 
 6Aaron Williams 
 7Aaron Williams 
 8Robert Blanton 
 9Robert Blanton 
 11James Ihedigbo 
 12James Ihedigbo 
 13James Ihedigbo 
 14Corey White 
 15Corey White 
 16Corey White 
 17Corey White 

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:

  1. Foles' return will mean that the fan base won't be subjected to a couple dozen Matt McGloin passes this Thursday in the preseason game against Miami.
  2. Vaitai got some first team reps at LT, which isn't anything new, but noteworthy in the sense that the team is trying to cross-train him at both tackle spots.
  3. After the preseason game Thursday against Buffalo, a number of fans were calling for undrafted rookie free agent Corey Clement to make the team over Smallwood because of Clement's decent preseason game performance. No way. Before he got dinged up, Smallwood was having an outstanding camp, and is clearly a better player than Clement at this stage in their careers.
  4. After the trade for Darby, Patrick Robinson has been playing in the slot, a role that served him well two seasons ago in San Diego. A competition for the slot corner job between Robinson and Brooks may have emerged in the wake of that trade.

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:

Distance Good? 

Sturgis throughout camp:

Day FG made / FG att 
 5 7/8
 11 7/11
 13 11/11
 14 3/4
 16 9/11
 18 8/8
 19 8/8
 TOTAL 53/61 (.869)

Today I learned that thre will be no media field goal kicking competition, which is a devastating turn of events.

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