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August 02, 2018

Eagles training camp practice observations, Day 7

We have reached the full week mark of Philadelphia Eagles training camp, and today was the last tough practice the Birds will have until (likely) next Monday. The players were in pads today, and the team conducted "live" tackling sessions. As always, we have notes.

• Our obligatory Carson Wentz note today is that he once again did not participate in 11-on-11's, as expected. 

On the other hand, it's probably worth noting that Jason Peters didn't get much in the way of breaks today, which he would normally get even if he weren't recovering from a torn ACL. That guy is simply a freak of nature who looks completely healthy.

• Undrafted rookie free agent running back Josh Adams flashed on Wednesday, and he carried his momentum over to Thursday. On one run during the live tackling sessions, Adams hit a hole off tackle, and then bounced it wide outside, churning up good yardage and then finishing his run. A month ago, Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz noted that Adams wasn't just a between-the-tackles runner at Notre Dame, and we saw that today.

Later, Adams had a hard run up the middle on 3rd and 1 in which he lowered a shoulder into Corey Nelson and got a solid 2-3 yards after contact for a first down.

Adams also looked good in pass protection 1-on-1's, which the Eagles ran with the running backs and tight ends against the linebackers and safeties for the first time this camp. On Adams' first rep, he was beaten by Malcolm Jenkins, but then won all of his reps thereafter, which is a good sign for a guy who has mostly not participated in camp unitl the last few days.

• Other notes from the pass pro session:

  1. Wendell Smallwood had a rough series. He was beaten badly by Joe Walker, and then again by Rodney McLeod. His pass protection issues persist.
  2. Donnel Pumprhey seems willing in pass pro, but the difference between him and Darren Sproles in that regard is night and day. Perhaps overcompensating for his lack of size, Pump vaulted himself into safety Kyle Wilson, but Wilson simply stepped aside and let Pump whiff. 
  3. Sproles remains the best Eagles back in pass pro, though it's worth noting that Corey Clement is much better than he was this time last year.
  4. To my surprise, Billy Brown looked pretty good in the blocking drills. Brown was a receiver in college who converted to tight end last year. I also thought Dallas Goedert held his own, though there's plenty of room for improvement.
  5. As a blitzer, Kamu Grugier-Hill has a really athletic looking jump cut type of move to evade blocking running backs while running at full speed at them. However, that's pretty much what he does on every rep. Once you know it's coming, it's not very effective. In the same way pass rushers must have multiple pass rush moves, Kamu should work on developing a power move to counter his jump cut. With his athleticism, he has the potential to become a good blitzer, but he's not quite there yet.

Steven Means had the "man moment" of the day, when he absolutely destroyed Jordan Mailata in OL-DL 1-on-1's. Mailata went down hard on a Means bull rush, which drew some catcalls from Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett. Means is 6'3, 263, while Mailata is 6'8, 346. You don't often see a guy that much bigger get jacked up the way Mailata did, but that's why coaches place such a heavy emphasis on technique.

• Other OL-DL 1-on-1 highlights:

  1. On the very next play after Means owned Mailata, Joe Ostman went with an inside spin, and left Mailata in the dust. One you get jacked up the way Mailata did, you don't want that to happen again, and Ostman took advantage with a speed move. In fairness, Mailata has looked better in team drills than he has in the 1-on-1's.
  2. I continue to be impressed with quickness of Bruce Hector. He has a chance to make the team. At a minimum, he should land on the practice squad. He has talent that the team can work with.
  3. Another day, another impressive performance from Matt Pryor, who just puts guys on the ground.

• Grugier-Hill had a good day in team drills. He had a nice backside pursuit play in which he chased down Adams from behind for a tackle for loss.

In a goal line setting, Grugier-Hill made plays on two consecutive snaps. On the first one, he shot through the line, blowing up a run play. That earned him some screams of "KAMUUUUUU!" from the sidelines. On the next play, he had a pass breakup on a ball intended for Richard Rodgers in the back of the end zone.

Later, he got penetration again in goal line, and while he missed a tackle on a shovel pass to Rashard Davis, he did enough to blow up the play, which Means finished.

• For the fullback enthusiasts, Goedert and Rodgers both got some snaps there today in goal line looks.

• For years, I goofed on Zach Ertz for his lack of yards after the catch, but he's come a long way in fighting for extra yardage. In a live goal line session, he caught a pass at around the three yard line, and fought through some tacklers, barely reaching the ball over the goal line for a touchdown. On the bright side, Ertz's willingness to fight for more yards is going to make him a better player. On the downside, I may have to retire my "No YAC Zach" gif.

Jimmy/for PhillyVoice

Michael Bennett has been quiet in practice, in terms of chippiness, but today he brought it, particularly against the tight ends. Bennett killed a Goedert block attempt and messed up a play, and later, provided the first near-fight of camp. At the conclusion of a play, he slammed Rodgers to the ground, which Rodgers (obviously) didn't like, and a minor scuffle ensued. I won't call that a "fight," but it's the closest we've had so far.

• Another day, another bad snap by Seumalo that was two feet over the head of Nate Sudfeld.

Cameron Johnston continues to struggle. It's fair to note that punters work on all different kinds of punts during camp, but Johnston's punts are bad, no matter what it is he's working on.

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