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July 29, 2018

Eagles training camp practice observations, Day 4

Eagles NFL
072718_Tre-Sullivan_usat Matt Mullin/PhillyVoice

Eagles safety Tre Sullivan on the first day of training camp.

On Saturday (and Friday and Thursday, for that matter), our practice notes centered around Carson Wentz, and the remarkable progress he has made in his recovery from injury. Today, we'll stay away from Wentz, and focus on some of the other 88 guys on the roster.

• Earlier this morning, we published an article about rookie offensive lineman Matt Pryor, who has had a good camp so far, and may make one of the other offensive linemen on the roster expendable. That was good timing, as Pryor had another good day today, particularly in 1-on-1 drills.

On two consecutive plays, Pryor pancaked his man. The first was 10-year veteran Michael Bennett. That was sort of a "wow" moment for the rookie. And then on the very next rep, he threw newly signed DT Adam Reth to the ground. Pryor doesn't just have size and strength. It appears he has some nasty to him as well. He's looking more and more like a lock to make the team.

• The other really impressive moment from a young player today, for me, was during WR-CB 1-on-1's, when Sidney Jones locked down Nelson Agholor. Jones didn't give up an inch of separation on a comeback route from Agholor, despite Agholor running a quality route. Jones stepped in front of the pass for what was almost an interception, but Agholor was able to become a defender on the play and break it up. 

Agholor is perhaps the jukiest player on the offense, and for Jones to stick with him the way that he did is a testament to his athleticism.

"He's at a completely different spot than the rookies are right now," said Jim Schwartz on Friday. "Sitting in every meeting, he made good use of that time. Just getting his body ready and training, knowing what he's got to go through, it doesn't seem like he's a rookie player out there."

• A few receivers made some notable plays today, mostly in 1-on-1's:

  1. Mike Wallace toasted Rasul Douglas on a deep ball during 1-on-1's. He had at least a yard of separation on Douglas, and Wentz dropped it in the bucket to him. Wallace clearly still has the speed element in his game.
  2. Shelton Gibson hauled in a deep ball in between Malcolm Jenkins and Ronald Darby deep down the field on an underthrown ball from Nick Foles that looked like it was going to be picked. Somehow Gibson came down with it.
  3. Rashard Davis has some shake to him in his route-running. He's difficult to cover if he has any kind of space to work with. He created some nice separation on long gains in 1-on-1's against Avonte Maddox and De'Vante Bausby, though it should be noted that receivers have a clear advantage in that drill. Davis is a player who is going to have to show that he can get separation in tighter quarters in the preseason games.
• Rookie TE Dallas Goedert apparently tore up 7-on-7's on Saturday. I opted to watch OL-DL 1-on-1's on Saturday instead, as both drills occur simultaneously, so I missed that. I will note quickly here that Goedert very much looks like the real deal. Not to oversimplify it, but he gets open and makes catches. I think he's going to be a good player in the NFL.

• I love watching Malcolm Jenkins go up against younger players. Poor Tim Wilson found himself going up against Jenkins in 1-on-1's, and Jenkins tried to jam him to Broad Street. You'd think that a guy like Jenkins might take a rep against an OTA tryout guy easy. Nope. It's got to be an unwelcomed sight to see Jenkins line up across from you if you're an undrafted rookie free agent.

Tre Sullivan has had a solid camp so far. He picked off Wentz today on a deep ball in which he had man-to-man coverage on one of the young wide receivers (Greg Ward, I think?).

Sullivan landed on IR at the conclusion of training camp in 2017, and was waived with an injury settlement. The team later signed him back to the practice squad in November. You might look at that situation and think, "He couldn't even stay on the practice squad all season. He has a long way to go before he makes the roster, right?"

Probably not. Sullivan broke his ankle at the end of camp last year. Obviously, with a broken ankle, he wasn't going to (a) make the team, (b) the team wasn't going to use one of their two "IR - designation to return" spots, and (c) he wasn't going to be on the practice squad if he couldn't practice.

As soon as Sullivan's ankle was healed and he was ready to practice again, the team added him to the practice squad. In my opinion, that shows that the team liked what he showed during camp as well as the preseason games last year. Sullivan would be the team's third safety if the season started today. I love his chances of making the team.

Nigel Bradham dropped an interception. That was a theme last year, as Jason Kelce noted during his parade speech.

Nate Gerry made a quick-twitch reaction play from his linebacker spot in zone coverage today. Nate Sudfeld tried to fit a laser into a small window, but Gerry was able to get a hand on the ball. He has had a nice camp so far as well.

• Speaking of Sudfeld, I thought today was his best day of camp. He found Goedert down the middle of the field while on the move on a boot to his left, and he hit Richard Rodgers down the sideline for a long gain. Those were the two highlights from him, and I didn't see much in the way of bad throws or decisions.

• Rodgers has shown enough that I can't imagine another tight end (after Zach Ertz and Goedert, obviously) beating him out for a roster spot. If a guy like Billy Brown or Joshua Perkins is going to make the team, they're going to have to do so as a fourth tight end, or as a beneficiary of someone getting hurt.

• (Clears throat like Andy)... Injuries:

  1. TE Adam Zaruba was carted off the field today, and then helped into the building by the trainers. It looked like a left leg injury to me. He looked like he was in a lot of pain.
  2. DT Aziz Shittu went inside for a bit, but came back out. He had his knee wrapped up upon his return.
  3. OG Brandon Brooks missed practice today, with what Doug Pederson described as an illness. Chance Warmack mostly got his snaps at RG in his absence.

• The players will get a day off on Monday. On Tuesday, there will be tackling, per Doug.


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