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August 19, 2020

Eagles practice notes, Day 3: Lots of punting, and more injuries

Eagles NFL

Day 3 of Philadelphia Eagles training camp is in the books, and it was merely a rainy walkthrough. There was a lot of punting, and some new injury revelations. Let's get to the notes, which I'm only writing because I think I suffer from OCD (not diagnosed).

• (Clears throat)... Injuries

In addition to Derek Barnett and Javon Hargrave, who will both be out for a while, there were some new additions to the injury report.

  1. Dallas Goedert (upper body), day to day.
  2. Sidney Jones (lower body), day to day.
  3. Boston Scott (lower body), day to day.
  4. Miles Sanders (lower body), week to week.

Obviously, the "week to week" notation for Sanders is the most concerning, but the indication that I received is that there's no danger of him missing time during the regular season.

Duce Staley recently said that Sanders was going to get heavy usage this season, and he reiterated that thought Wednesday morning.

"I think that Miles can do it all, and when you have a guy like Miles that can make people miss, that can lower his shoulder and also run you over, you want to put the ball in his hands as much as possible and you trust him," Staley said. "I think that's what we are. We have Corey [Clement], we have Boston [Scott], we have a cast of younger guys, also, and we'll see what they can do here shortly. But as much as I can give the ball to Miles and let him create and go out there and just kind of just trust him to do the right thing, I think you do it as much as possible."

Of course, when Sanders is suddenly gone, like he will be in camp for a while, it is easy to see why the Eagles were looking to add depth earlier this offseason.

Beyond Sanders, Scott is a nice complementary piece, and Clement has looked healthy this camp, but the Eagles lack a true power back who can eat carries in the second half of games when the team has a lead, or simply give Sanders a few series off here and there.

The Eagles do not want to spend much money on a backup running back (nor should they), but Howie Roseman could still be monitoring the running back trade market (think Day 3 pick), as he found good value there in the past with guys like Jay Ajayi and Jordan Howard.

Nate Gerry revealed that he did indeed test positive for coronavirus when he went on the COVID-reserve list a few weeks ago. He was activated from the list on August 9.

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside returned today, as did Jason Peters, though as noted already, it was only a walkthrough. Still, when Arcega-Whiteside and DeSean Jackson were on the field with Jalen Reagor, Reagor was lined up in the slot, with Arcega-Whiteside and Jackson on the outside. So I guess in addition to learning the Z and X spots, Reagor is also learning the slot position.

• Punting was the focal point of practice today, with Cameron Johnston conducting two long punting sessions. During the first session, Johnston was just letting it rip, while in the second session, it looked like he was working on putting different kinds of spins on the ball. I timed the hang time for each of his first punts during the "let it rip" session:

  1. Missed the time on the first punt, oops.
  2. 5.27
  3. 4.81
  4. 4.84
  5. 4.60
  6. 4.11
  7. 5.27
  8. 5.17
  9. 5.48
  10. 5.27
  11. 4.07 (Nate Gerry, seemingly the emergency long snapper, was long snapping on this one, and he dribbled the snap back to Johnston)
  12. 4.60 (Gerry again)
  13. 4.10 (Gerry again)
  14. 5.18 (Back to Rick Lovato)
  15. 5.21
  16. 5.40
  17. 5.43
  18. 5.11

So what does all that mean? Well, Donnie J'owns used to tell me that anything over 5 seconds of hang time was pretty good. In comparison to other occasions in which I've timed punts, Johnston had a whole lot of punts with more than five seconds of hang time, including a few bombs. He looked good.

• During the first punting session, Reagor get almost every rep. He muffed a couple of punts in the first media-attended practice in camp, so it makes sense to give him as many reps as he can get. The Eagles haven't had a dangerous punt returner since Darren Sproles' decline a few years ago, and Reagor has the chance to be an explosive playmaker on special teams in addition to the regular offense. But first the Eagles have be sure he's not going to turn it over.

• Are you into hat analysis? If so... 

Did I break out my binoculars to identify all the bucket-hat wearing Eagles? Yes, yes I did, and that should tell you how uneventful Wednesday's practice was. It'll probably be a fun one tomorrow.

• To hear some audio recaps of each practice, Brandon Gowton and I are recording daily podcasts. You can find those here:

Previous training camp notes

• August 17: Miles Sanders, the next Brian Westbrook?

• August 18: Jalen Reagor's rare athleticism

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