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August 14, 2021

Eagles training camp notes, Day 12: Some positive (and negative) injury news

The Philadelphia Eagles were back out on the practice fields after a day off on Friday. They'll have off again on Sunday, before a pair of joint practices with the New England Patriots on Tuesday and Wednesday.

It was a light practice, as the Birds weren't in pads, and they were out there for a little more than an hour. Still, as always, we have notes, and a bunch of updates, injury- and roster-wise, in the wake of the first preseason game.

• Positive injury updates:

  1. DeVonta Smith was upgraded to "day-to-day" from "week-to-week." I doubt he'll be back at practice in full until next week, when he can ramp back up in a more controlled environment, in non-joint practices. But the likelihood that he'll play in the third preseason game just went up.
  2. Starting LG Isaac Seumalo is back. He had a rough day in his first taste of training camp action today, but we'll get to that in a bit.
  3. Offseason acquisition OT/OG Le'Raven Clark was activated from the PUP list. That came as a minor surprise, as I figured that he would remain on PUP through the first six weeks of the season, and then serve as something of a reinforcement mid-season, if need be.

• Negative injury update: Kerryon Johnson is out with a knee injury. The Eagles didn't give a timeframe for his return because he's still being evaluated. That doesn't sound good for him, especially considering there were concerns about his knee heading into camp.

• In his pre-practice press conference, Nick Sirianni declined to name Jordan Mailata the starting LT over Andre Dillard, stating that there was still some time left in camp for Dillard to show what he can do. Lol. 

Mailata vs. Dillard was the most lopsided "camp battle" I've ever covered. It may as well have been Tyson vs. Spinks.

And on top of it, Dillard is "week-to-week" with a knee injury. I applaud the Eagles for trying to create a market for Dillard on the trade block, but it's unlikely to work.

Personally, I don't think Dillard is even worth the roster spot. If Mailata went down, I'd be more comfortable playing Brett Toth, Jack Driscoll, or maybe even Le'Raven Clark, sight unseen, in favor of Dillard. If Howie Roseman can get as little as sixth-round pick for Dillard, he should snatch that up and never speak of Dillard again.

• OK, we should probably get to some actual practice notes, huh? One of the players that I (wrongfully) haven't often mentioned is Javon Hargrave. He had a strong performance in limited action against the Steelers, and has had a very good camp. Today he dominated Seumalo on several reps. Again, this was Seumalo's first practice in 11-on-11's.

On one play in the red zone, Hargrave got immediate penetration for perhaps the quickest sack of camp, causing Jalen Hurts to spike the ball in frustration.

• Hurts, as usual, was up and down. He wasn't close on a deep ball to Jalen Reagor, and he wildly overthrew Travis Fulgham. Those were his lowlights. Some of the connections he did make:

  1. He hit Quez Watkins in stride on a slant that allowed Watkins to get some YAC.
  2. He hit J.J. Arcega-Whiteside on a strike over the middle.
  3. Fulgham reached up for a pass over the middle that looked ugly coming out of Hurts' hand, but ended up in a good spot. 
  4. He connected with Zach Ertz for a TD in the red zone on a nice corner route by Ertz that beat Darius Slay. Ertz earned an "atta boy" from Slay after the play.

Kenny Gainwell didn't have a fast start to camp, but he has picked it up of late. He showed something in the first preseason game, and was active in the passing game today, making several catches. Gainwell missed the entire 2020 season as a COVID opt-out, so maybe he just need some time to knock off the rust. Rookies can be rusty, too.

• If you didn't turn off the first preseason game in the second half, you saw second-year UDFA safety Elijah Riley make an interception. He has been a core special teamer all throughout camp, and could very well earn a roster spot. He has a nice PBU while covering DickRod today.

Zech McPhearson skied for a PBU today. He has ups. After that play, I was curious what he jumped at the Combine, and sure enough, he's in the 92nd percentile with a 40 1'2" vertical jump:

• The Eagles cut WR Adrian Killins and TE Caleb Wilson today. The roster currently sits at 89 players (plus Matt Leo). They'll have to cut four more guys by Tuesday. My predictions: LB Rashad Smith, WR Hakeem Butler, RB Elijah Holyfield, and OL Ross Pierschbacher.

• Stay tuned for a practice wrap-up podcast soon, which will appear here whenever it is recorded and published. Or catch up on some previous recaps:

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