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August 01, 2019

Eagles training camp practice notes, Day 7: First injury scare of camp

The Philadelphia Eagles conducted what will likely be their longest practice of training camp, and there was plenty of action to observe. As always, we have notes.

• Let's get to the injury scare first. In an 11-on-11 session, Miles Sanders took a handoff and was immediately met in the backfield by a defensive linemen (didn't catch who), but Sanders spun out of his grasp to the left, where he ran smack dab into Rasul Douglas. Sanders went down, and stayed down for a minute or so, while trainers looked at his left foot.

Sanders got up, slowly walked off, and eventually headed to the medical tent. He later made his way back out to the field, but did not participate in the rest of practice. After practice, Doug Pederson said he thought Sanders was fine, but they were going to do more tests.

Red zone

The Eagles did a lot of red zone work today, and there were plenty of highlights to note, so we'll give the red zone action its own section today:

• The majority of the highlight sessions occurred right in front of me, as I staked out a nice spot in the middle of the field, right behind the end zone. There was, however, one red zone session today where the team was on the opposite end of the field, where we're not allowed to be. It's tough to see down there, but the one notable moment seemed to be an interception by Sidney Jones. Sorry, I have no better detail on that play than that, but thought Jones' pick was worth noting.

• Later, Jones had an impressive pass breakup on a slant to Nelson Agholor. Jones did a nice job of cutting off Agholor's route, but without committing pass interference, and making a play on the football. Jones has had a very good camp.

• Dallas Goedert had a drop in the back corner of the end zone. The ball was maybe a little high, but he should have had it, and he knew it. Goedert has been a little more quiet than I've expected, but there's nothing to be concerned about there.

• Darren Sproles caught a quick hitter on a slant from a slot receiver position in between Kamu Grugier-Hill and Andrew Sendejo. It was a nice catch in traffic, and he emphatically spiked the ball after the play.

• Nate Gerry has been been getting first-team reps alongside Grugier-Hill over Zach Brown. Gerry got his hand on a couple of footballs today. He got a piece of one intended for Zach Ertz, who caught the deflection anyway, but not without a bobble first. Ertz could not get two feet in bounds, and he almost face-planted into the goal post. Great effort, and a little scare there.

• Later in practice, Ertz found an open area of the zone defense in the end zone, and Wentz found him up high. That's just so difficult to defend.

• Josh Sweat had a nice tackle for loss on a running back (Wendell Smallwood, I think). Sweat has now made a few nice plays in the run game this summer.

• Clayton Thorson had a better day today, but there are still some head-scratching moments with him. On one play, he was rolling to his right, and he threw into the end zone to... nobody, as in, the ball bounced in a wide open area of the end zone. It was just an odd play on many levels. 

  1. One, if you're going to throw it away, throw it into the stands either through the back of the end zone or to the sideline. Don't bounce it in the end zone. Was he politely trying not to hit some of the fans? Not sure.
  2. Two, he wasn't under duress from the pass rush, and had more time to extend the play and wait for someone to come open, but he wasted that opportunity.
  3. Three, there was still room in front of him to potentially run for a TD.

I think Thorson's head is probably just swimming at the moment, and maybe at some point he'll settle in? We'll see. I will note that he did have a nice throw to DeAndre Thompkins to close practice. Maybe he can carry that over into the next practice.

• Grugier-Hill made what I thought was the play of the day. In red zone 7-on-7's, Wentz fired a laser over the middle, which Grugier-Hill picked clean out of the air for an INT. It was one of those throws where the ball was intended to travel 20-25 yards on a line, so Wentz he put extra heat on it. However, Grugier-Hill snatched it out of the air with Grant Fuhr-like reaction time after it only traveled 10 or so yards. Grugier-Hill has shown a flare for the splash play this summer.

• On a throw to the back corner of the end zone to Alshon Jeffery, Douglas was playing with his back to the ball, watching Jeffery's hands. When the ball arrived, Douglas was in a great position to separate Jeffery from the ball, which he did. Nice play. Douglas has had a strong camp as well.

• The Eagles love showing a lot of pre-snap motion in the red zone, where they'll set up in one formation, and then all five skill players will move into a new formation, which forces the defense to think on the fly. On one play the Eagles moved into a set that looked like this:


In scramble mode, baited by all the pre-snap eye candy, it looked like too many defenders followed the diamond alignment, opening up the middle of the field. The offense then ran a quick draw with Nate Sudfeld.

ICYMI: Eagles training camp notes, Day 6: Nate Sudfeld day

Non-red zone

• We got some OL-DL 1-on-1's today. The highlights:

  1. Jordan Mailata's kryptonite is Joe Ostman's inside spin move. Ostman has been destroying him with it all camp long, and he did so again today. Interestingly, Ostman went against Jason Kelce on one rep. If you've been reading our camp notes every day, you already know that Jim Schwartz has been experimenting with Ostman in something of a Joker position, in which he stands up and rushes from over center.
  2. Andre Dillard was up and down today. He did a really nice job on Vinny Curry, who faked an inside spin, but then went back to the outside to try to beat Dillard around the edge. Dillard didn't bite, kept his balance, and easily shut that down. On the downside, Daeshon Hall was able to knock Dillard's hands down and push him back into the quarterback with a bull rush. Hall and Dillard ran it back on the next rep, and Dillard shut Hall down. If there's a concern with Dillard in pass pro, it would be against power, but he should be able to handle speed guys with his excellent athleticism.
  3. Malik Jackson looked good. His highlight was a swim move that beat Isaac Seumalo.
  4. Halapoulivaati Vaitai has looked good in these drills at guard, but less so as a tackle. At guard, he did a nice job on Hassan Ridgeway. At tackle, Sweat took advantage of him on a speed-to-power rush. I'm beginning to wonder if Vaitai might have been a better guard all along.

• In WR-DB 2-on-2's, Nelson Agholor made a few nice plays. His best catch was on a high throw from Wentz that was also behind him. Agholor contorted his body, and made the catch. On the downside, Agholor had a chance to high-point a 50-50 ball deep down the field in 11-on-11's, but Douglas was able to break it up. That's not really Agholor's game. It is Douglas'.

• Greg Ward had a nice leaping grab today deep down the sideline. He has had a nice camp so far. A guy like Ward has to be annoyed that he outplays Shelton Gibson every year, but can't make the team over him.

• The hit of the day was by center Anthony Fabiano on an illegal peel back block on Bruce Hector. Fabiano flattened an unsuspecting Hector, and then immediately apologized, knowing that he shouldn't have done that. Fabiano got an ear-full from multiple coaches after the play.

• Best run of the day? Donnel Pumphrey! He busted through a hole to the right, broke out toward the sideline, and zipped upfield for a big gainer.

• Oh, and because I like to finish my notes each day with a bang, here are some Cameron Johnston punts I timed for hang time:

  1. 4.56
  2. 4.75
  3. 4.93
  4. 3.95 (bad snap)
  5. 4.95
  6. 4.95
  7. 4.63
  8. 4.76
  9. 4.45
  10. 4.70

OK, so that's not very exciting, but I took the effort to time them, so you'll read them and like it.

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