10 Observations as Eagles Begin Round 3 of OTAs

The Eagles continued their OTA practices in a slight rain Monday morning.

This week, the team practices Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, but media are allowed at just the Monday and Friday practices. 

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Next week, the three-day mandatory minicamp begins.

Here are 10 observations from Monday's practice. 

1. Marcus Smith, Jason Peters and Donnie Jones are still not with the team. The trio has missed all of the OTA practices. 

On Monday, Darren Sproles was back after missing some time last week, but LeGarrette Blount (sick) was not on the field. Jordan Matthews (knee) continues to be held out of practice and Mychal Kendricks, who was limited last week with a hamstring injury, wasn't on the field. 

Tim Jernigan sprained his ankle during a team portion of practice and went into the NovaCare Complex building early.

2. The thing everyone always mentions about Alshon Jeffery is his catch radius. He has the ability to make really tough catches and he made one during individual drills Monday: 

3. The play of the day during the team portion of practice came on a long pass from Carson Wentz to Jeffery. Wentz was forced to his left in the pocket and threw across his body for a 35-, 40-yard strike to Jeffery in stride. Those two seem to be building a rapport. 

"It was kind of a broken play," Wentz said. "It was a play-action pass and I just didn't feel comfortable with the routes, they had it covered pretty well. So I just scrambled and made a play. Alshon had really good recognition to take it deep, while Torrey was already kind of in the intermediate area. I just felt confident in giving Alshon a chance and felt confident I could make the throw, so obviously it worked out. We have to see that hopefully on some Sundays." 

And in general, this practice was a much cleaner one for the offense than the last one open to the media. 

4. The best defensive play of the day came on a short pass to Brent Celek. The veteran tight end bobbled the ball just briefly enough that a charging Nigel Bradham was able to snatch it out of his hands and head the other way. (This was the same play where Jernigan got hurt.) 

5. Nelson Agholor was great Monday. He really was. Now, you're probably tired of hearing how good Agholor can be in shorts in early June. For the former first-round pick, it's all about showing it when the games start. With Matthews out of practice Monday, Agholor got a chance to work in the slot again. For whatever reason, the Eagles have been hesitant to use him in this role during the season, but it seems to fit him. 

6. Rough day for rookie wideout Shelton Gibson. He dropped a few balls in the rain and doesn't look as ready as fellow rookie Mack Hollins. I have also seen him try a few moves at the line where he shuffles his feet and almost has them both off the ground at the same time. That will get him knocked on his butt during the season. 

7. At first, when I saw Stefen Wisniewski on the field with the first team, I thought he was getting some reps over Isaac Seumalo at left guard. Nope. The veteran interior lineman was actually lining up in the backfield as a fullback. This is a role that Seumalo had last year, so with Seumalo's starting and with Dillon Gordon out with an undisclosed injury on Monday, it makes sense that Wisniewski needs to prepare at fullback. 

"It's just something we're trying to do, change it up a little bit," Wisniewski said. "Dillon's probably the first guy to do that but he's hurt so I'm getting a couple looks at it. It's definitely different. Anyway I can help the team, I'll do it and it's kind of a fun way to do it." 

8. Terrence Brooks leveled Bryce Treggs during a portion of team practice. It was less of a hit and more of a collision, but it was jarring to watch that type of contact during completely non-contact drills. Sometimes, it just happens. By the way, Brooks had a pretty good day Monday. If you remember, the Eagles added Brooks just before the start of the season off waivers from Baltimore. Last year, he played a mostly special teams role, but it's interesting to wonder if he can supplant Jaylen Watkins as the team's third safety. 

9. I thought it was interesting that defensive tackle Justin Hamilton got some run with the first team when Jernigan went out (Beau Allen is still recovering from injury too). Hamilton went undrafted in 2015 and bounced around from the Bills, Packers to Seahawks before signing a futures deal with the Eagles in January. 

10. The Eagles have been using flags that get driven into the ground instead of cones for drills this offseason. Maybe they were brought here by new receivers coach Mike Groh. The flags are cool because it doesn't allow players to take shortcuts around the cones. They have to get their whole bodies around them. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: While every other player was wearing shorts Monday, tight end Anthony Denham was wearing his game pants. Is it a trend? Does he always do it? Stay tuned later in the week. 

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