August 10, 2023
In addition to tracking Jalen Hurts' training camp stats in our "Hurts Watch" series and Jimmy Kempski's daily practice notes, we've been giving out a "game ball" to an offensive and defensive player after every Eagles training camp practice here at PhillyVoice. On Thursday morning, a local wide receiver finally shined while a backup cornerback rose to the occasion.
Here's more on Olamide Zaccheaus and Jobe Jobe...
Zaccheaus, the St. Joe's Prep grad, has had a much quieter summer than I anticipated after the Eagles signed him this past offseason. I was expecting a competition for the slot receiver job between Zaccheaus and Quez Watkins, but the latter wideout has had a great camp and I wouldn't consider it much of a battle at this point. Zaccheaus had gotten few first-team reps and even fewer targets to begin camp, but that changed a bit on Thursday.
Zaccheaus ran with the first-team offense in both 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, including red zone work. Zaccheaus had his best play as an Eagle thus far, making a diving catch on a deep out route from Jalen Hurts, narrowly staying in bounds as he slid for the bread basket grab.
Working with the second-team offense, Zaccheaus had a touchdown catch, streaking down the right sideline without a defensive back in sight. Backup quarterback Marcus Mariota, who's played better as of late after a rocky beginning to training camp, expertly lofted a pass that hit Zaccheaus in stride. Zaccheaus had a few other catches from QB2. Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni isn't giving one iota of info about how much the starters will play during the team's preseason opener on Saturday in Baltimore, if at all, but I'd expect to see at least one series of the Mariota-Zaccheaus connection.
I'd peg Zaccheaus as the clear-cut No. 4 WR at this point, but I do wonder if the Eagles have specific plays just for him as the shiftiest, most gadget-y player on offense. I'm weary of "manufactured" touches for players like this, but I'll be keeping my eye on that as we progress to the fall.
With James Bradberry missing practice time recently with a groin injury, second-year corner Josh Jobe was called to step up and take first-team defense reps. His mission? Slow down A.J. Brown. Even Pro Bowl cornerbacks will have a tough day doing that in their own right, but Jobe has fought valiantly in what's inevitably a losing battle. That experience appears valuable for Jobe already, given how well he performed against the second- and third-team offenses on Thursday.
Hot take: It's a bit easier to cover Deon Cain than A.J. Brown.
Jobe had multiple pass breakups on Thursday, didn't allow separation and even garnered praise from Bradberry himself.
"I feel like the game's slowed down," Bradberry said of Jobe after practice. "He's thinking at a faster pace."
Bradberry mentions the mental side of the game for Jobe, saying that his growth there is catching up with his pure athleticism.
When I awarded undrafted rookie wide receiver Joseph Ngata a game ball earlier this week, I talked about banking on player archetypes. A wideout from Clemson? Giving Ngata a chance simply based on that has proved wise. The same can be said of Jobe. He went undrafted himself last year, but he's a defensive back from Alabama. Those guys turn out just fine in the pros!
There are a ton of young corners trying to find their way on the roster. I would not say Jobe is a lock, but I would have him at minimum, as the No. 5 corner on this team, behind Bradberry, Darius Slay, Avonte Maddox and Zech McPhearson.
Watching players such as Jobe fight during the preseason is what makes these otherwise sluggish affairs entertaining for those fans brave enough to watch all four quarters of an utterly meaningless game.
The Eagles will have a walkthrough on Friday with no media availability ahead of their preseason matchup with the Ravens in Baltimore at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
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