July 30, 2023
The usual suspects did their thing at Sunday's practice.
Jalen Hurts moved the ball with relative ease, DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown, and Dallas Goedert caught just about everything, and James Bradberry picked off a pass from Marcus Mariota that was meant for...someone...
But arguably the day's biggest play came from one of the running backs with the skillset and versatility to earn himself a lead role even within a loaded position group, while promise flashed down on the third team with hopefully the cornerback of the future.
So let's get right into it. Here are the game balls for training camp's third practice...
Swift had two big plays on Sunday that demonstrated the type of versatility the Eagles are hoping he'll bring to the offensive backfield.
On the first rep of 7-on-7 drills for the first team, Swift took off down the left sideline and, with coverage caving in on him, hauled in Jalen Hurts' pass while falling to the ground for what would've been a major, maybe momentum-shifting play in an actual game and, obviously, a huge chunk of yardage.
Later on, in 11-on-11s with the second team, Swift got the ball on a handoff and with a couple of quick cuts and a spin, broke free for a big gain up the middle that would've taken the Eagles out of their own territory and into midfield.
The running back room is loaded right now – with Swift, Rashaad Penny, Kenny Gainwell, Boston Scott, and Trey Sermon (who did see some first-team reps on Sunday) all in it. The Eagles are going to run the position by committee to start, but as Jimmy Kempski noted in his Sunday practice notes, Swift has been pretty active as a receiver out of the backfield so far in camp, and he isn't anywhere close to lacking on the ground either.
It's a dangerous combo for opposing defenses to have to worry about, especially with Hurts already back there as a constant threat to run, so if Swift can stay healthy, his flexibility within the offense could see him rise into a more leading role, even within a position where the Eagles aren't short on options right now.
"Whatever they ask me to do, I'm ready for," Swift said. "I'm here to serve the team."
Kelee Ringo got matched up against undrafted rookie receiver Joseph Ngata and lost.
During third-team reps, the rookie cornerback chased Ngata on a route downfield, and while he didn't get left behind, his eyes stayed on Ngata the whole time, never getting a beat on the pass coming in from third-string quarterback Tanner McKee.
There wasn't a lot of space, but Ngata made a great contested catch while Ringo got his hand up far too late. He got beat.
But he got it back quickly.
On the very next play, McKee attacked the fourth-round pick out of Georgia again, this time on a ball that took Deon Cain deep. Ringo stayed on him, and Cain couldn't make the catch – incomplete.
Ringo is going to need some time before he's ready to take significant snaps at cornerback, but at practice on Sunday, you could see that the pieces are there.
Granted, he'll probably have a hard time covering A.J. Brown right now (few wouldn't), but against the receivers further down on the roster, his speed, agility, and anticipation made it tough for them to create separation on Sunday, especially on shallow routes down low. No cuts were enough to completely shake him off, and his read of each play never seemed to leave him fooled. For the most part, he stuck to his guy and remained quick on his feet, even on a pivot against Tyrie Cleveland in 1-on-1s that would've caught a lot of DBs flat-footed.
He's got a ways to go though. His coverage downfield, as that play against Ngata indicated, needs work, and he's only been taking reps with the third team so far.
The good news is that he's in a position where he and the Eagles can wait. Bradberry and Darius Slay still have a couple more years in front of him as the two starting corners, and across the entire NFL, there might not be a better duo to sit behind and learn from either.
The pieces are there, the environment to succeed in is there, just give him the time to put it together.
• James Bradberry: 1
• A.J. Brown: 1
• Christian Elliss: 1
• Tyree Jackson: 1
• D'Andre Swift: 1
• Kelee Ringo: 1
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