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July 30, 2023

Eagles 2023 training camp practice notes, Day 3: D'Andre Swift will be a factor in the passing game

Practice notes from the Eagles third training camp practice.

Eagles NFL
6.1.23_EaglesD'Andre-Swift_ColleenClaggett-0309.jpg Colleen Claggett/For PhillyVoice

Eagles RB D’Andre Swift

Day 3 of Philadelphia Eagles training camp is in the books, and it was a "long" (lol) practice, at an hour and 35-ish minutes. The boys were out there in shells and shorts again, but they're likely to be in pads on Day 4 on Tuesday.

• Quez Watkins had a strong day. He had a pair of nice catches while working against Zech McPhearson. The first was a catch in traffic, a lot of bodies around him, good concentration. The second was a leaping high-point contested catch over McPhearson. McPhearson did a good job of trying to rip the ball out while Watkins was coming down and trying to complete the catch, but Watkins was able to hang on. He later had another nice catch in traffic while working against Josiah Scott.

Watkins has shown that he can get open down the field, but he was unreliable a year ago both with his hands and when running precision routes. He had a good day on both of those fronts.

• The play of camp so far was made today by D'Andre Swift, who was streaking down the left sideline trying to track a deep ball from Jalen Hurts. Nicholas Morrow and Justin Evans were in coverage, and Morrow very cleared interfered with Swift as the ball coming down. Swift fell to the ground but kept his focus on the football and made the catch anyway. He has been very active as a receiver out of the backfield through the first three practices of camp, and is going to give the Eagles' offense an added element as a pass catcher that they did not have in Miles Sanders.

Jalen Hurts has been impressive throwing on the run. Today while running to his right he fired downfield on the money in stride to DeVonta Smith for a long TD. There was a coverage bust on the play and Smith was wide open, but the throw was nearly perfect nevertheless. Hurts probably had his best day so far this camp, as he delivered on-target throws all day.

Another nice throw went to A.J. Brown along the sideline, who dragged his second foot for a completed catch. What might have been a more difficult catch for another receiver looked effortless by Brown.

Marcus Mariota has been up and down. Bad Day 1, good Day 2, bad Day 3. He was picked by James Bradberry on what looked like a miscommunication with his receivers. Bradberry was sitting down in zone defense, and the ball came right to him. 

Jack Driscoll played RT the first couple of days of camp. Today he was at LT. It makes sense to get Driscoll work on both sides, as they may need him to be a swing tackle this season. We'll have more/better evaluation of OL/DL play when the pads go on, but Josh Sweat beat Driscoll badly on one rep with a dip/bend around the edge.

• Again, more to come on the OL/DL soon, but Jordan Davis did nice job sniffing out a TE screen, scoring a tackle for loss.

• In Cam Jurgens / Tyler Steen starting RG news, Jurgens got all the first-team reps for the third straight practice. Steen got chewed out for a false start, like he did on Day 1 of practice. In 2021, there was a camp battle for the starting LT job between Jordan Mailata and Andre Dillard. Those guys alternated first-team reps each day, but that has not been the case with Jurgens and Steen. Jurgens is very clearly in the lead to start camp.

Brett Toth has been working as the second-team center. He has struggled with shotgun snaps. Bunch of worm burners.

• Weight news:

  1. Newcomer Rashaad Penny is trying to play at a lighter weight this season. He said that in Seattle he played at around 235-237. Right now he's about 230, and wants to be at around 225 for the start of the season. He said that his lighter weight has been easier on his legs.
  2. Much has been made of Jordan Davis showing up to camp in better shape than he was a year ago. Davis said that he's still at around 340-345 — no change from last year — but that he simply has more stamina. He did say that he could see that his face has slimmed down a bit, and that he feels like he's more handsome.

• The running backs are being rotated heavily among the first-, second-, and third-team offenses. Even Trey Sermon, who is fifth in the pecking order at running back, got first-team reps today. The Eagles don't have a bell cow type of back who is going to get 20 touches per game, but they have a lot of skilled runners who are going to get playing time. It's a very intriguing committee that could take the Eagles' already elite rushing attack to another level if they're able to stay healthy (big "if").

• The Eagles had a kick coverage session, and the top kick returner was Britain Covey. The team's top kick returner in 2022, Boston Scott, was on the kick coverage units chasing Covey down.

There is a new kickoff rule this season in which the kick return team is awarded the ball at the 25-yard line if they make a fair catch anywhere on the field. The Eagles are nearly certain to be a team that takes advantage of that rule. Expect them to be a fair catch team that is content to let their star-packed offense start drives at the 25.

If the Eagles don't want to keep more than three running backs active on game day, that could mean that Scott is inactive on most gamedays and that Covey is the guy who will be tasked with making those fair catches on kickoffs.

Kyron Johnson was getting reps at off-ball linebacker during the spring, but he's back out on the edge, and he has made some plays, albeit against third-team RTs like Fred Johnson and Chim Okorafor.

• While there haven't been any standout moments yet for Grant Calcaterra, he has quietly made a lot of catches through the first three practices.

• We got to see rookie CB Kelee Ringo up close in coverage on consecutive snaps during a "young guy" developmental period. Ringo was in good position deep down the field against undrafted rookie WR Joseph Ngata, but Ngata made a nice contested catch over Ringo. On the next play, Ringo redeemed himself a bit with blanket coverage on a deep ball to Deon Cain that fell incomplete.

• 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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