The Eagles held their second of three mandatory minicamp practices on Wednesday afternoon.
No filler today; let’s jump in.
1. Back to normal. We’ll first take a look at all three quarterbacks:
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Sam Bradford: Of the three, Bradford probably had the best day, but didn’t do anything special. He hasn’t taken many chances downfield and on Wednesday, and had some trouble completing short and intermediate throws thanks to some stout defense.
Chase Daniel: Daniel had a much better day on Tuesday. On Day 2, he overthrew a few passes and just wasn’t as sharp. Daniel’s best throw came in 7-on-7s, when he found Jordan Matthews over the shoulder, while safety Rodney McLeod provided decent coverage.
Carson Wentz: Not Wentz’s best day. Earlier in the afternoon, head coach Doug Pederson agreed with the notion that Wentz’s passes have looked wobbly, but that’s not the big problem. As long as it gets there, who cares if it’s wobbly? No, the bigger problem is that the ball sometimes isn’t getting there. For years in this town, everyone made fun of Donovan McNabb for throwing the ball at his receivers’ feet, but at least that doesn’t lead to a ton of interceptions. Early on, Wentz has a propensity for overthrowing his targets and soaring balls. This is a little more dangerous.
His best play on Wednesday, came when he rolled to his right and delivered a strike to Matthews on the run. In a game, he likely would have already been sacked, but the play did show off some athleticism.
2. If it seems like none of the quarterbacks had a great day, you’re right. But that was a product of the defense just being really good. On Wednesday, the defense beat the offense with the first, second and third units.
A few weeks ago, Jim Schwartz wasn’t too upset following a practice where the defense looked horrible. He had to feel pretty good after Day 2 of the mandatory minicamp, because his unit crushed the offense.
3. One of the big reasons the defense was so good on Wednesday was rookie cornerback Jalen Mills. He was everywhere with multiple pass breakups, and again, got first team reps in the Nickel package. He made play after play after play and is beginning to look like a huge steal for a seventh-round pick.
4. Nolan Carroll (fibula surgery) returned to practice on Tuesday and on Wednesday got some reps with the first team in the Nickel package, before giving way to Eric Rowe and Mills in later series. On his first play in 11-on-11s, Carroll covered Chris Givens, who caught a hitch from Sam Bradford right in front of him.
5. Speaking of Givens, he and Bradford seem to be very comfortable with each other, which makes sense because the two played together in St. Louis. Givens had several nice grabs on Wednesday.
How about the other receivers? Well, Josh Huff was sick, so the team sent him home. That meant Given got extended reps with the first-team offense. Meanwhile, Matthews seemed to take most of the snaps – with the first, second and third teams – on Wednesday. Nelson Agholor dropped two more passes, which gives him four gotta-have-em drops in two days.
6. You know who didn’t drop the ball? Chris Pantale.
The tight end/maybe fullback made two great one-handed grabs, one with his left hand, one with his right. He’s been playing very well during the spring and has been getting first-team reps as fullback. With the top tight ends likely set – Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Trey Burton – Pantale might force Pederson to think about keeping four tight ends.
“Chris is there and he's a guy that is learning really a dual role,” Pederson said. “He's a little bit of fullback, he's a little bit of tight end, but he's been a pleasant surprise this offseason and I really look forward to camp and putting the pads on with all of those guys to really see where they are at physically.”
7. In his second day back, Darren Sproles has quickly reminded everyone why he’s so dangerous. While the offense – as a whole – had a bad day, he provided some spark. He was catching screen passes and finding holes. It’s almost easy to forget how dangerous he is, but Sproles, who is generously listed at 5-foot-6, almost disappears behind the offensive line before bursting through it. It has to be difficult for defenders to pick him up.
8. Saw a couple new drills. The defensive linemen were diving like Superman onto a giant mat. At the same time, linebackers were tackling this giant orange donut.
9. Rueben Randle is moving around pretty well for a guy who recently had (minor) surgery to remove his gallbladder. It’s pretty clear if there’s one thing Randle brings to the Eagles, it’s size outside. He’s listed as two inches taller than Agholor and three taller than Huff.
10. Jordan Hicks (quad) was able to participate in most of the team portion of practice today. That left Najee Goode with the second team, but not at MIKE. The second-team MIKE today was rookie seventh-rounder Joe Walker. The biggest question of depth on the team still remains at the linebacker spot.
Stupid observation of the day: By my unofficial count, the Eagles have played Drake’s “Back to Back” in back to back to back to back to back (times infinity) days. Hoping Doug Pederson expands the playlist for training camp.