August 03, 2023
I broke down Jalen Hurts' Thursday morning practice in our continuous "Hurts Watch" feature. To supplement Jimmy Kempski's own practice notes, I'm handing out a "game ball" to a member of both the offense and defense. On Thursday, I had two clear-cut choices. One is trying to leave no doubt that he's among the best players at his position. The other is just fighting to make the cut. That's training camp for you!
Here's more on impressive days from Dallas Goedert and Moro Ojomo...
Heading into practice at the NovaCare Complex this morning, I would've ranked these three plays as the most unstoppable in the Eagles' offense:
1. "Tush Push" quarterback sneak
2. Slant to A.J. Brown
3. Out route to DeVonta Smith
There may be a new one added to that list this season: a deep crosser to Goedert.
During a summer where Brown and Smith have shined at camp continuously, Goedert had the best day of any Eagles pass-catcher during Thursday's practice. Early on, Goedert was destroying veteran free agent safety Terrell Edmunds, a five-year starter under Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh. "JV scrimmaging against varsity" vibes.
Later on, the Eagles' defense threw a combo of second-year safety Reed Blankenship and third-year corner Zech McPhearson at Goedert. It did not matter. He was as open as anything in the middle of the field, as he always seemed to be during the last two seasons in Nick Sirianni's offense.
Goedert played in just 12 games due to injury in 2022, but still put up 702 receiving yards on 55 catches with three TDs. Goedert's health remains an issue, of course. It's the nature of his physical play style and run-after-catch ability. He's missed time in each of the last four seasons. Even if he's playing 15 games (as he did 2019 and 2021), he could still be putting up way bigger numbers as a larger focus in another team's offense, one that doesn't have the luxury of playing Brown and Smith at wide receiver.
You saw it in the Super Bowl. All three pass-catchers made impacts:
It feels like an unbeatable attack for the Eagles when those three are out there with Jalen Hurts under center. In 2022, it nearly was. The Eagles' first loss of the season was at home against Washington where Goedert was knocked out late with a shoulder injury that followed an egregious no-facemask penalty call. They won every other game together until the Super Bowl and I definitely don't need to rehash that for Eagles fans.
After giving Smith a "game ball" after Tuesday's practice, I wrote that a trio of Hurts-Smith-Brown being together on the field should continuously make the Eagles NFC favorites. That should really extend to Goedert, who adds to that versatility. Goedert is not just one of the game's best pass-catching tight ends, holding his own against any non-Travis Kelce player, but one of the best blocking TEs as well.
The Eagles are carrying themselves this summer in a "business as usual" manner. From what I've seen from all of Hurts, Smith, Brown and Goedert, however, making it back to the Super Bowl should be the minimum expectation of this team.
If you don't know his name, you should: Ojomo was the Eagles' seventh-round pick (249th overall) this offseason who totaled three sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss as a redshirt senior at Texas in 2022.
Ojomo is certainly not the most heralded of a young defensive tackle core that includes Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter and Milton Williams, but Ojomo made his presence known at practice on Thursday. Working against the second- and third-team offenses, Ojomo was active, swatting down a pass from No. 2 quarterback Marcus Mairota, got some decent push at the line of scrimmage and even had a "sack" against backup QB Ian Book.
On a typical roster around the NFL, Ojomo might have a good shot at cracking the back end of a roster. It just so happens that no team in the NFL team is stacked in the interior defensive line spot like the Eagles though. Fletcher Cox is the former All-Pro veteran with Davis and Williams expected to take leaps with Carter perhaps starting Week 1 as a rookie. Then there's third-year DT Marlon Tuipulotu who got some meaningful snaps last season before being placed on IR with a torn meniscus.
The Eagles liked Ojomo enough to draft him. I don't know that they'd want to risk putting him on waivers in the hopes he'd end on their practice squad. Could be a candidate for a "phantom" injury reserve designation with 2023 amounting to a redshirt season for him? That might be best for his long-term prospects with the organization, though I obviously imagine Ojomo himself wants to be out there practicing and (ideally) playing.
Keep him on your radar, Eagles fans.
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports
Add Shamus' RSS feed to your feed reader