It was a beautiful sunny and breezy day in South Philadelphia as the Eagles held their first OTA practice of the spring on Tuesday.
Carson Wentz has no limitations and will not be held back by the coaching staff. He's full-go (see story).
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The most notable absence from today's session was Malcolm Jenkins, who also skipped more voluntary workouts earlier in the offseason (see story). It seems possible his absence is contract related.
Here are 10 observations from today's practice:
1. We'll start with Wentz, because we kind of have to.
No. 11 took all the first-team reps in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s. It's just one day in, but he looked pretty good. It didn't seem like he had a ton of rust to shake off.
He was back to looking like himself. That's a great sign.
One interesting thing from Tuesday was that Wentz wasn't wearing a knee brace on his left leg. There were a few miscues but, for the most part, Wentz looked like Wentz. We'll learn more as the spring progresses, but he's off to a good start. There weren't many opportunities for him to push the ball down the field. That's what I want to see from him next, especially with DeSean Jackson back in Philly.
2. Here's a list of players who were not at practice: Mack Hollins, Alshon Jeffery, Malcolm Jenkins, Jalen Mills, Zach Brown, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox.
Several of them have injuries and were expected to be absent. It's important to remember that these practices are voluntary, but the Eagles had pretty good attendance on Day 1. The most interesting absence was Brown, whom the Eagles signed as a free agent this offseason. Not sure why he wasn't at practice today, but we'll see if he's there next Tuesday, the next day reporters are allowed at practice.
3. Here's a list of players who were at practice but weren't participating: Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Miles Sanders, Corey Clement, Nigel Bradham.
Darby, Clement and McLeod stretched with the team and then did drills on a side field. Sanders was on the field with the running backs but did not have a helmet.
Derek Barnett was wearing a helmet but did not participate in team drills. The defensive end, entering Year 3, had shoulder surgery about seven months ago. No reason to push him now.
4. There were many players missing on Tuesday, but we at least got a glimpse at some depth charts from team drills. Here are a few interesting notes on offense:
• Jordan Mailata was the first-team right tackle for Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai was the first-team right guard for Brooks and Andre Dillard was the first-team left tackle for Peters. Mailata and Big V are getting cross-trained at new positions and that started today.
• Stefen Wisniewksi got second-team reps at center and then later at second-team right guard.
• Without Jeffery at practice, the starting receivers were DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor and Charles Johnson from the AAF. Johnson played for the Orlando Apollos in the short-lived league but is not some developmental player. He's 30.
• We saw Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert both get time with the ones. They ran some 12 personnel.
5. And on defense:
• The first-team defensive line was: Brandon Graham, Tim Jernigan, Malik Jackson and Vinny Curry. Second-team DL: Joe Ostman, Treyvon Hester, Hassan Ridgeway, Josh Sweat.
• The secondary featured Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas as outside corners and Avonte Maddox in the slot. Tre Sullivan and Andrew Sendejo were the first-team safeties. (A lot of players missing from that equation.) Cre'Von LeBlanc was the second-team nickel corner.
• The linebackers in nickel were Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry to start. Nice for Gerry to not get bumped by L.J. Fort or Paul Worrilow. It would have been more interesting to see what things would have looked like with Brown at practice. The second-team linebackers to start were Worrilow and Fort.
6. Maddox made a tremendous interception on a pass from Cody Kessler during WRs vs. DBs. He leaped backward to pick off a pass that was intended for Braxton Miller. Impressive play.
7. Goedert did get the best of Maddox on the other side of the field. The second-year tight end is so good at using his body to create space. A little later, he grabbed an opportunistic touchdown when a ball was batted in the air and landed in his hands.
8. Without Sanders, Donnel Pumphrey and Boston Scott got extended reps and both looked pretty good. Pumphrey might not have a real chance to make this team, but let's keep an eye on Scott. His number is 49 and that's atrocious but he looks good in shorts and has ability as a punt returner.
9. It's going to be hard for Cody Kessler to win the backup job as the fourth quarterback. That was a big takeaway from today. First, Doug Pederson said these practices are a great chance for Nate Sudfeld to solidify the second-string job and then Kessler was working behind rookie fifth-rounder Clayton Thorson. To make matters worse for Kessler, Thorson looks pretty damn good. Just one day in, but he looks the part.
10. I thought Sidney Jones looked good for Day 1. This will be a big season for him and he's off to a good start, getting first-team reps because of injuries in front of him.
Stupid Observation of the Day: The best moment of the practice was when Maddox made his great interception because all the DBs celebrated by dancing together and even Darby, who wasn't practicing, ran on the field to join them. Fun moment.
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