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June 18, 2015

Eagles minicamp practice notes, June 18, 2015: Walter Thurmond adjusting nicely to safety

Eagles NFL
061815WalterThurmond Matt Slocum/AP

Walter Thurmond is beginning to run away with the open starting safety job.

Today was the final day the Eagles will be on a football field together until August 2, when training camp will begin. Until then, the next six weeks for the players will be all about not getting arrested, which shouldn't be a huge problem for Chip's band of boy scouts. Onto the notes:

• For no reason whatsoever, here's a creepy gif of Sam Bradford.

• One of Bradford's favorite targets so far has been Zach Ertz. Whenever a tight end has made a nice catch and I try to identify the player, it's almost always Ertz. After practice, Darren Sproles said that Ertz is going to be a superstar.

• Sproles looks great too, by the way. A funny thing happens when you cover Eagles practices long enough. The players who you expect to do good things typically continue to do good things, and you start to not notice so much anymore. I believe that is already happening with Sproles, but he has looked every bit as quick and elusive as he did a year ago when we got our first looks at him.

• Walter Thurmond had a really nice interception on a Sam Bradford throw today. He charged up from his safety spot and jumped in front of a receiver for the pick. Very confident play. He trusted what he saw, and reacted. Thurmond seems to be adjusting well to his new safety spot, and at the moment he looks like the clear front-runner to start opposite Malcolm Jenkins this season.

• Meanwhile, Earl Wolff continues to practice off to the side. He was running with weights today. He's done more than just "stretch," as Chip Kelly has said, but not much more.

• Najee Goode had a nice pass breakup in the end zone. The Eagles were high on Goode before he was lost for the 2014 season. With a logjam at ILB, Goode will be a player who has to compete just to make the team this year.

• There are some guys who play slower than their timed speed, and there are a smaller number of guys who play faster. Nelson Agholor ran a 4.42 at the Combine, and he plays every bit as fast as that timed speed would indicate, and then some.

• The Eagles have an enormous contraption for quarterback drills that almost seems like overkill. It's a big soccer goal looking thing, with three cutouts for the quarterbacks to try to hit.

QB drill

I missed this, but I was told by another reporter that one of Tim Tebow's throws missed the contraption completely. The reporter pointed out on my drawing where his pass landed, shown above.

Tebow not only gets the ball out more slowly than any of the four quarterbacks from a throwing motion standpoint, but he also holds the ball for an eternity before he throws. To be fair, that's to be expected of a quarterback in a new system to some degree, but if this were real game action, Teebs would be getting pummeled. He also takes off and runs more than any of the other QBs, which is also to be expected, seeing as that's what he does. On one fourth down play, Tebow took off and one of the offensive linemen on the sidelines yelled "Tebow time!"

On the final play of the day, Tebow hit UDFA WR Rasheed Bailey in the end zone for a touchdown. One of the players then yelled "FREEEEEEDOM!"

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