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August 09, 2023

Eagles 2023 training camp practice notes, Day 9: Almost a fight, and, guess who

A recap of everything important from Eagles training camp Wedneday.

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8.6.23_EaglesPractice_Derek-Barnett-0357.jpg Colleen Claggett/For PhillyVoice

Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett during the team's open practice at the Linc back on August 6, 2023.

Day 9 of Philadelphia Eagles training camp was at Lincoln Financial Field, but this time with limited fans in attendance. The team mostly worked on two-minute scenarios, as well as situations where the offense was backed up against the shadow of its own end zone.

• The two plays of the day were made by Jalen Hurts and Marcus Mariota, who each dropped gorgeous bombs down the left sideline for completions. Britain Covey was on the other end of the Mariota deep ball, while (big surprise) A.J. Brown hauled in the throw from Hurts.

Covey beat Zech McPhearson, while Brown beat Kelee Ringo.

In our Day 8 practice notes, we pointed out that Mariota looked better, perhaps partly as a result of a change at second-team center from Brett Toth to Josh Andrews. Toth couldn't snap in shotgun. Andrews can.

Hurts' deep ball came on a "backed up against their own end zone" session. Nick Sirianni likes calling shot plays when his offense is backed up, with the most noteworthy example being the 91-yard completion to Quez Watkins during the 2021 season.

I think that's a smart idea. Opposing defenses tend to get a little over-aggressive in those situations, expecting the offense to play conservatively, and they can leave themselves vulnerable for a shot play down the field.

On the downside, Hurts made a bad decision on a throw to a running back in the flat that maybe should have been pick-sixed by Justin Evans, who was in good position to make a play on the ball but couldn't finish. It was a "just OK" day overall for Hurts.

DeVonta Smith missed today's practice due to personal reasons. The first-team receivers were Brown, Watkins, and Olamide Zaccheaus. Second-team was Covey, Greg Ward, and Joseph Ngata.

In addition to the deep ball he hauled in, Covey was also active in the middle of the field.

Nakobe Dean was a limited participant in practice after missing each of the last three practices. He did not participate in 11-on-11's. I thought it was a good day for the linebackers. Newcomer Zach Cunningham had a nice pass breakup, when he dove from a trail position in front of a slant route by Grant Calcaterra for a pass breakup. I also thought Christian Elliss and Nick Morrow filled holes aggressively against the run for tackles for loss. The linebackers have largely not stood out throughout camp, but today was a good day.

• We almost had out first fight of training camp. Derek Barnett threw Landon Dickerson to the ground well after the whistle on one play, and then tried to fight him, but was pulled away. Barnett was flagged for a personal foul, which, uh, doesn't happen often in practice.


Barnett missed the first few practices of camp while recovering from his torn ACL, so he's probably not 100 percent. That said, this personal foul penalty is the most notable thing he has done this camp. If I were choosing to award a roster spot between him and, saaayyy, Janarius Robinson, for example, it would be a pretty easy decision for me to keep Robinson.

If I'm Howie Roseman, I'm kindly asking Sean Desai to make sure Barnett gets plenty of opportunities to make plays during the preseason games to sucker some team into trading for him.

• One of the players whose stock is very clearly up relative to pre-camp expectations is K'Von Wallace. However, Wallace had play today on an RPO in which he bit hard on a fake to the running back. Hurts kept it, and had wide open spaces on Wallace's side of the field.

Wallace is a good tackler. He only had two missed tackles the last two seasons vs. 43 tackles, per However, he has not shown that he can be reliable in coverage in previous seasons, and there have been times that he has been out of position against the run.

I think he has been better in coverage this camp than he has in any other camp, but his awareness against the run is maybe still a work in progress.

• One of the common matchups we have seen since Tyler Steen has started getting more reps at LT has been Steen against Nolan Smith. Smith has had a good camp as a rookie, but Steen has mostly won those matchups pretty easily. Steen can play. He's already better than Jack Driscoll both at guard and tackle, in my opinion,

Tanner McKee can throw a slant. Today he hit newly signed Johnny King on a quick slant for a score. It came out on time and with some zip. But again, McKee's next pass over 20 yards will be his first, I think.

In other QB3 competition news, Ian Book is vying to become the most sacked quarterback per practice rep in Eagles training camp history.

• We have punting updates!

I missed Arryn Siposs' first two punts. Sorry, I have failed you all. I did see Ty Zentner's. He had hangtimes of 4.82 and 4.90 (perfectly acceptable), and while I couldn't get an exact distance on those punts from my vantage point, they looked decent enough. 

Siposs later had a great punt of close to 60 yards that rested inside the 5-yard line. Big improvement from both punters from their most recent punting sessions on Sunday night.

• 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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