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August 19, 2023

Eagles 2023 training camp practice notes, Day 13: The starting CBs make plays

James Bradberry and Darius Slay both came up with interceptions, and Nakobe Dean continues to build at linebacker.

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8.6.23_EaglesPractice_Darius-Slay-0643.jpg Colleen Claggett/For PhillyVoice

Darius Slay #2 of the Philadelphia Eagles takes the field during practice at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 6, 2023.

Day 13 of Philadelphia Eagles training camp is in the books, and I was mildly surprised that the team was in full pads a couple of days after they suffered a ton of injuries in their preseason game against the Cleveland Browns. It was a short practice, but as always, we have notes.

• The play of the day was made by Darius Slay, who deflected a Jalen Hurts pass intended for DeVonta Smith. The ball then hit Smith's hands, shot up in the air, and Slay was able to chase it down, make the catch, and toe-tap along the sideline for the INT.

James Bradberry also had an INT off of Marcus Mariota, who continues to struggle. Mariota did at least connect with Devon Allen on a deep ball down the field on what looked like a busted coverage. That's really the first notable thing Allen has done all of camp, by the way.

Nakobe Dean built on his positive showing during the second preseason game, as he stood out today. On a play in which the Eagles' defense was in man coverage, he found himself in coverage out wide against Kenny Gainwell, who ran a go route. The quarterback looked Gainwell's way but didn't pull the trigger because Dean was running stride for stride with him. Dean also had a pass breakup on a bubble screen.

Josh Sweat had an active day. He had a sack, and he also broke up a pass over the middle intended for Grant Calcaterra. Sweat has been dropping into coverage on occasion, and he doesn't look overwhelmed.

Zach Cunningham got a bunch of first-team reps. I think that the competition for the starting linebacker job opposite Dean is down to Cunningham and Christian Elliss.

Nolan Smith didn't practice, but that didn't stop him from taking mental reps... on the punt coverage team, lol. Smith was practicing his kick slide, as he'll likely be protecting the edge on the punt coverage team. I don't think I've ever seen a guy missing practice for the day taking mental reps on his own during a special teams drill. 

I think it was also telling that he got hurt on a pass rush in the preseason game Thursday night, but he didn't want to come out of the game so that he could play on the punt return team. Dude breathes football.

Dallas Goedert made a ton of catches today, as usual 🥱. Have I mentioned that he has been uncoverable throughout camp?

• The Eagles announced a bunch of cuts:

  1. They released P Ty Zentner.
  2. They released CB Greedy Williams.
  3. They waived/injured CB Zech McPhearson.
  4. They waived/injured WR Tyrie Cleveland.
  5. They waived/injured DT Noah Elliss.

Zentner was terrible in the preseason game against the Browns. On five punts, none of which were in pin-deep situations, Zentner averaged under 40 yards per punt. He never really gave Arryn Siposs much of a challenge. More on the punters in a moment.

Williams' release isn't a surprise in the slightest, as he had a rough camp. 

McPhearson, Cleveland, and Elliss will revert to the Eagles' injured reserve if they clear waivers. Spoiler: All three players will clear waivers.

The Eagles also announced five signings to replace the cut players above:

  1. DT Robert Cooper
  2. DT Marvin Wilson
  3. DT Caleb Sanders
  4. LB Tyreek Maddox-Williams
  5. LB Quinton Bell

Those five guys have almost no chance of making the roster, obviously.

• A lot of guys missed practice. We'll go alphabetical order here:

  1. WR Britain Covey (hamstring)
  2. DT Fletcher Cox (knee soreness)
  3. CB Mekhi Garner (ankle)
  4. EDGE Kyron Johnson (appendectomy)
  5. iDL Moro Ojomo (concussion)
  6. EDGE Haason Reddick (thumb)
  7. RB Trey Sermon (ankle)
  8. EDGE Nolan Smith (shoulder)
  9. WR Greg Ward (ankle)
  10. WR Quez Watkins (hamstring)
That is the longest injury report of camp, by far.

• Siposs had at least one bad shank today. Just because Zentner was released doesn't mean that Siposs has definitively won the Eagles' punter job. The team could still add a punter via waivers after teams around the league make final cuts.

• Brandon Gowton and I will have post-practice podcasts throughout training camp. They'll populate below a few hours after we publish our notes. And here's the iTunes link. Review, subscribe, etc.

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