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July 29, 2019

Eagles training camp practice notes, Day 4: Miles Sanders runs with attitude

The uncomfortable heat aside, it was a fun day at Philadelphia Eagles training camp, practice No. 4, and No. 2 in pads. There was plenty of action to observe, and as always, we have notes.

• It was the Carson Wentz to DeSean Jackson show today, with those two connecting at will. The most impressive moment, in my opinion, was a two-play series in which Wentz found DeSean in the "turkey hole" in between the corner and safety. On the next play, Wentz aired it out deep, putting some air under it, and DeSean ran under it past Avonte Maddox for a score. There was apparently some debate on Twitter as to whether the ball traveled 40, 50, or 60 yards in the air. I'd say it was closer to 60.

His continued rapport development with DeSean aside, Wentz had a very good day, throwing accurately to all parts of the field.

• In other quarterback news, rookie Clayton Thorson made one of the worst throws I've ever seen in a training camp practice. With a clean pocket and no pass rushers anywhere near him, Thorson stepped into a throw, trying to air one out deep down the field. The ball was quacking so badly that a duck tried to have sex with it on the way down. OK, I lied about that last part. That didn't happen. Anyway, it was way short, and should have been picked off, but somehow wasn't.

Later in practice, Thorson did zip one in to Carlton Agudosi over the middle.

• The running backs had a rough day catching the football. I saw drops by Jordan Howard, Boston Scott, and Darren Sproles. To note, I know that Sproles gets a lot of credit for being this great receiver, but I think he's a little overrated in that area. He has his share of drops, and it's also worth noting that he probably has the smallest catch radius in the NFL, which makes him a difficult player to throw to.

• Scott showed something today when he barreled over safety Trae Elston. Scott put his head into Elston's chest, and Elston went down hard. With the new-ish "lowering of the helmet" rules, it was definitely a penalty on Scott, but it drew some oohs and ahhs from the crowd.

Miles Sanders had a good day running with the football. His burst is easy to recognize, but he's also a physical runner who looks to dish out punishment to would-be tacklers, or in the case of non-tackling "thud" drills, would-be thudders. At one point, Sanders got under the skin of CB Josh Hawkins, who looked like he wanted to throw down with Sanders after a play. Sanders was more interested in getting back to the huddle for the next play. It was the equivalent of one hockey player dropping the gloves, and the other skating away uninterested like, "Bro, I ain't got time for you. Just play."

• I got my first look at OL vs. DL one-on-ones today. Here's what I saw:

  1. Last year, second-year G/T Matt Pryor was very impressive in these drills, and he became something of an early camp darling as a result. Playing both at RG and RT as a rookie sixth-round pick, he was exceeding expectations. In the preseason games, however, he wasn't very good, and ended being inactive on game day for all but one game, and he didn't play a single snap. On his first day in one-on-ones, just like last year, he was very good, winning every one of his matchups. That's good to see, though this year it's nothing to get excited about, as he'll have to show that he can play in actual game settings.
  2. Andre Dillard had a very good showing, stoning Vinny Curry twice.
  3. Those drills weren't as kind to Jordan Mailata. On one rep, Daeshon Hall put an inside move on Mailata, and Mailata looked like Ryan Howard taking a called strike three for the final out in the 2010 NLCS. He was absolutely frozen, feet in cinderblocks. Mailata got an ear-full from Jeff Stoutland at the conclusion of the drills.
  4. The surprise one-on-one standout... UDFA OG Nate Herbig! OK, so it was only one rep, but he owned Brandon Graham.

• Mailata had a rough day in 11-on-11's as well. On one rep, Joe Ostman smoked him with an inside spin move. Later, after having shown the inside spin, Ostman dipped around him on the edge for pressure on the outside.

• One thing we haven't mentioned yet is that bad Stefen Wisniewski snaps out of the shotgun have been a theme so far. He had a another bad one today. He's not firing them over the QB's head like we've seen other guys do here in the past, but his snaps have been inaccurate, typically around the ankles when he's been off.

• Last year, Jake Elliott started off training camp very strongly, hitting his first 29 field goal attempts. This year, not so much. On Monday he went four of six, and the one that was wide left was a pretty bad shankopotumous.

 33 (good)    
 33 (good)    
 38 (no good, wide right)    
 43 (good)    
 48 (no good, wide left, shankopotumous)    
 48 (good)    

Mack Hollins is hurt again. It's a new injury, per Doug Pederson, unrelated to the groin injury that kept him out for so long. Hollins has had a nice start to camp, but this is obviously a setback for him trying to re-establish his value to the team.

*Before anyone asks, there will be no drawings of the duck trying to have sex with Thorson's throw.

**Also, Jake Elliott had a field goal session earlier in camp, but I was asleep at the wheel on that one. Because I missed it, we're just going to pretend it didn't happen. Great, thanks.

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