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July 28, 2023

Eagles 2023 training camp practice notes, Day 2: A.J. Brown is still good

On Day 2 of Eagles training camp, A.J. Brown showcased why he's one of the NFL's elite receivers.

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A.J._Brown_Eagles_Open_Practice_8.7.22.jpg Colleen Claggett/For PhillyVoice

Eagles WR A.J. Brown

Day 2 of Philadelphia Eagles training camp is in the books, and it was hot as hell out there. Thankfully, it was only about an hour and 15 minutes. Let's get right to the notes.

• I don't think anyone is worried about A.J. Brown remaining a star receiver in 2023, but, well, he's fine. On the first play of the day in 11-on-11's, Jalen Hurts launched a deep ball down the left sideline to Brown, who was being covered by Josiah Scott. Brown separated from Scott at the last moment, by outmuscling him with his inside arm before making the play.

Brown also made a nice catch in traffic on one of his signature slant routes. There are great deep threats in the NFL, and reliable possession receivers who can move the sticks. Brown is both.

• Hurts had some nice throws today. The deep ball to Brown noted above was on target, and he had another throw about 30 yards down the field while on the run to Quez Watkins, who was coming from the middle of the field toward the right sideline. I should note that Hurts was "sacked" on this play by Josh Sweat before the throw, so it didn't count, but the throw was money.

Jordan Davis was active in the middle of the defense. He got free and into the backfield on a number of pass plays. His most impressive pass rush of the day looked like a push-pull move, in which he dominated the lineman opposite him. (I didn't catch the number of the O-lineman, but it was one of the second-stringers.) Davis dusted himself off in celebration after the play.

Davis is going to have to prove that he can be more than just a run stuffer in the NFL for his selection at 13th overall to be justified. He looked good today rushing the quarterback.

Nolan Smith is such an impressive athlete. His change of direction skills are obvious, as he can transition from rushing the passer to flowing in the direction of the pass on a dime. He had a particularly impressive rep in coverage today, as he was able to lock up Boston Scott, who couldn't get any separation whatsoever.

• After a Day 1 during which he had multiple pass breakups, James Bradberry had another one today while covering Olamide Zaccheaus. The taller Bradberry just reached over Zaccheaus and batted down the pass.

• Zaccheaus made some plays today, too. He showed some make-you-miss ability on a run after the catch in the open field. Zaccheaus played a little running back at Virginia, and in watching a cutup of all of his targets in 2022 you can see that in his game after the catch. He makes defenders earn their tackles (he doesn't give himself up), and while he is not Deebo Samuel, he will break some tackles.

On the next play, the ball went Zaccheaus' way once again and it was off-target, well behind him, but Zaccheaus was able to reach back and make a nice snag.

• Free agent safety Justin Evans forced a fumble with a "peanut punch" on Jack Stoll. He later tried a peanut punch on Grant Calcaterra. That got me to look up how many career forced fumbles he has. Just 1.

Marcus Mariota connected on a deep post for a long TD to Greg Ward, who smoked Josh Jobe. I didn't notice if Jobe bit on a double move or something, but Ward isn't a burner and he was able to run away from Jobe. Later in practice Jobe did get some redemption on a deep ball to DeVonta Smith that he had blanketed.

• Third-year pro Patrick Johnson had an active day. He had a couple of sacks mostly working again second- and third-stringers. However, he had a bad moment as well. On a "2-point conversion for the win" situational moment, he jumped offsides.

Rashaad Penny probably isn't going to be a featured part of the passing game in 2023, but he made a nice play today. As the ball was approaching, Penny had his back to a defender, but it looked like he could feel the defender's presence to the inside. He turned to the outside to put himself in position to pick up yards after the catch while catching the football. Well done.

• 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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