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July 27, 2019

Eagles training camp practice notes, Day 3: First day in pads

Eagles NFL
072719CarsonWentz Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

"A liiiiiiittle more air under it please, Carson."

On the Philadelphia Eagles' third day of training camp, Doug Pederson had his guys put on the pads, and we had our first fun action of the summer. As always, we have practice notes.

• Nothing to be concerned about, but this wasn't Carson Wentz's best practice. He was picked by Kamu Grugier-Hill in 7-on-7's (we'll get to that in a second), and he missed a few deep ball opportunities, both to DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery. Wentz has a tendency to muscle his deep throws, throwing with power instead of touch, and as a result, he's making those throws more difficult for himself. Typically, they're long. If he could put more air under his throws and let his receivers run under those deep shots, I believe he would complete more of them, and even draw pass interference calls on the ones that are a little under-thrown.

Nate Sudfeld didn't have his best day either. On a deep throw to Mack Hollins while on the run, Sudfeld didn't have enough on his throw, causing Hollins to slow up for it, allowing Sidney Jones to make up ground to break up the play. Actually, Jones did more than just break it up. He was also able to wrestle the ball away from Hollins for an interception.

Later in practice, Sudfeld had Greg Ward wide open deep down the field, and again, he under-threw him. Ward still made the catch, but he had to wait a second or two for it. That throw was probably about 10 yards too short.

• On Grugier-Hill's aforementioned interception, he stretched his body while on the run to pluck a Wentz bullet out of the air, showing good hands, before heading the other way on the return. With Wentz trying to chase him down, Grugier-Hill was about to hit Wentz with a stiff arm before thinking better of contacting the franchise QB.

I've stated this on several occasions already, but I think Grugier is going to start at linebacker, and by that I mean, he'll be a "top 2" linebacker who plays on all three downs (though not necessarily 100 percent of the snaps) alongside Nigel Bradham. I believe he has a commanding lead for that job over free agent acquisition Zach Brown.

• One of the guys getting some hype early in camp is DE Josh Sweat. (I added to that hype a bit this morning.)

Today, I wanted to get a look at him with the pads on, and I came away impressed with his physical play. On three straight plays he did the following, playing RDE:

  1. He blew up Richard Rodgers on a run play. The ball didn't go to his side, so he wasn't involved in the play, but his get-off and attack looked good. If opposing offenses are going to try to block you with a tight end, you want to make them pay, and Sweat did that.
  2. On the next play, he got pressure on Sudfeld when he beat Andre Dillard on an outside rush. Dillard got his hands on Sweat early, but Sweat quickly ripped Dillard's hands off of him and won the edge. Well done.
  3. And finally, on another run play, the RG was pulling to the offense's left with a head of steam, and Sweat crashed into him rather than looking to avoid contact. He stoned the RG right in his tracks.

There's little doubt about Sweat's athleticism. The question is whether or not he can be a physical player, and today he showed some encouraging signs.

• If it's not already, it's going to be given soon that Dallas Goedert is just a really good player. He caught a ball from Wentz about 30 or so yards down the field on what I think was a deep cross, and then seamlessly transitioned into a runner after the catch. When you can send a guy his size on those types of deeper routes, it causes all kinds of problems for teams with linebackers who struggle in coverage.

• We got our first glimpse of RB pass protection drills, and I was excited to see how Miles Sanders looked. And then... he didn't get any reps! What?!? Not sure what that's about. Maybe he tweaked that hammy again? I'll be interested to see if he's out there when the team hits the practice field again on Monday.

Anyway, the linebackers largely beat the backs in that drill. Donnel Pumphrey... oof. 

• One of the guys we killed last year early in camp was P Cameron Johnston. Today, he hit some bombs. I timed four punts for hang time:

  1. 5.15 seconds.
  2. 5.17 seconds.
  3. 3.10 seconds. (This was a low line drill that rolled. I don't think it was on purpose, as Johnston looked like he was upset with himself after that punt.
  4. 4.76 seconds. (This punt went 60-plus yards.

To note, anything over five seconds is very good.

• One of the unknown guys in this camp, LB Alex Singleton, turned some heads today, making three big hits. He popped Josh Adams and Boston Scott in the hole on running plays, and lit up Scott on a pass near the sideline. On the play where Singleton lit up Scott, he received a talking to from Jim Schwartz and Doug Pederson to take it easy. Schwartz then gave him a secret thumbs up. Probably.

Singleton is my pick for most likely guy to get in a fight. 

• Rookie UDFA OT Ryan Bates puked. First puke of camp that I'm aware of.

• A report emerged during practice that the Eagles worked out CB Orlando Scandrick today. That's likely because of this:

We'll have more on Scandrick if/when the Eagles sign him, but certainly the news on LeBlanc isn't good. If you're a Strap fan, pray for his lower extremities.


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