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August 04, 2019

Eagles training camp practice notes, Day 9: Miles Sanders, RB1

In the Eagles' lone open training camp practice of 2019, a controversy that the city of Philadelphia may never exceed in magnitude again, the Birds drew over 40,000 fans, an impressive turnout. As always, we have notes, though they'll be a little shortened tonight, because, well, I want to get out of here and go to bed. ;)

• First, let's get to the injuries:

  1. DE Joe Ostman looked to have suffered a serious injury during special teams drills. Practiced stopped as trainers attended to him, before he was eventually helped to the cart. Teammates gathered around him to wish him well before he was carted off. Ostman was having a very good camp. Tough break for him.
  2. WR Shelton Gibson limped off at one point. I didn't see what happened to him, but clearly it was a "lower body injury."

• The offense ran some 7-on-7's in the red zone. There were three highlights:

  1. Avonte Maddox had great coverage on DeSean Jackson on a corner route from the slot, and broke up the pass. Maddox had a great spring, and a solid camp.
  2. Sidney Jones had tight coverage on Dallas Goedert, helping force an incomplete pass. NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah tweeted that a common theme on his tour of training camp practices is the increased number of 2-TE sets he's seeing. Jeremiah also noted that defensive coordinators plan on just staying in nickel to defend them, daring opposing offenses to run the ball. I personally think that's smart, however, that strategy will be tough against the Eagles, seeing as Zach Ertz and Goedert are both good route runners who use their size very well against smaller defensive backs. In other words, the Eagles can just throw anyway in 12-personnel, or they can run.
  3. Newcomer safety Johnathan Cyprien caused fumble on Josh Adams. Fumbling was an issue for Adams in 2018. He had a bad fumble on the Eagles' own 31 against the Jaguars with the Eagles clinging to a six-point lead with about seven minutes to go. Luckily for Adams, his butt cheek hit the ground a split-second before the ball came out and it got overturned. Against the Texans with a 13-point lead, Adams fumbled with a little over five minutes to go, and the Texans scored on the ensuing possession. Houston eventually took the lead in that game, and the Eagles needed Nick Foles heroics to win it late. Adams only got one carry in the playoffs, likely because the team lost trust in him.

• In 1-on-1's, it was really hard to see who was who from the press box, especially with the players wearing camouflage numbers. One thing that is easy to see is how good of a route runner DeSean Jackson has become. Working against Jones, Jackson sold a deep route, then sharply hit the brakes and ripped off an impressive 20-yard comeback, getting a ton of separation and giving Carson Wentz an easy throw. That's stealing. Later he took Rasul Douglas deep, beating him by two full strides. DeSean is going to be a problem for opposing defenses this year.

• The Eagles had plenty of 11-on-11 action in front of the fans.

  1. Miles Sanders flashed another sweet jump cut in the red zone, getting around the edge for a score. Later, on a run to the right, he patiently let his blocks develop, and then boom, he accelerated through the hole with impressive speed. And finally, a hole opened up on a play in the middle of the field and he exploded through it to the second level, then juked a safety for added yardage. He's the best running back on the team. Period. And it isn't close. Duce Staley needs to get him on the field early and often. Let him eat.
  2. The biggest play of the night was a deep ball by Wentz to DeSean, in which Wentz had all day in the pocket, rolled to his right, and lofted one that allowed Jackson to come back for it, as two defenders were behind him. The ball traveled somewhere around 50-60 yards in the air.
  3. Nate Sudfeld made a number of really nice throws. This is his fourth straight good practice. He's coming along nicely in his third year with the team. Wentz was just OK, relative to his typical practice performances.

• The Eagles announced the team's best players one-by-one, and Jackson, by far, got the loudest ovation.

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