Eagles Camp Day 8 Observations: Carson Wentz Finds Success in Red Zone

The Eagles have made it to their first day off.

The team took the field for a light 10-10-10 practice without pads this morning and won’t be back on the field until Wednesday. Originally, head coach Doug Pederson said the team would be in pads three days before a break, but they took them off after two.

The 10-10-10 practice, which is designed to make either the offense or defense succeed at a particular time, makes it difficult for observations.

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But we’ll try anyway:

• We got to see Carson Wentz get some extended work in the red zone, going against the first-team defense. One area where the rookie has struggled this camp is his accuracy (see story), and more specifically, his touch on some balls. That wasn’t a problem in the red zone drills on Monday.

On one pass, he found Trey Burton in the very back of the end zone. It was tough to tell if Burton got both feet down, but if he didn’t it wasn’t Wentz’s fault. A really great throw. The other impressive ball went to Rueben Randle in the back right corner of the end zone. Eric Rowe had what looked like pretty good coverage, but Wentz dropped it in.

• Speaking of Randle, he continues to impress. He’s had a better camp than Chris Givens and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him on the field when the team goes with three receivers. But today, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Givens lined up with the starters. I’d expect that Randle will have a chance to win a starting gig though.

• If you haven’t read Reuben Frank’s story about Josh Huff, take some time to do that today (see story). In the story, Huff said he frustrates himself as much as he frustrates fans. Huff clearly has talent but has been consistently inconsistent during his short career. On Monday, we saw the offense run some plays to get the ball in his hands in the slot quickly after the snap. It looks like Pederson has an idea about how to use him.

• Maybe Pederson will have a better idea of how to use Darren Sproles too. The 33-year-old running back took a smaller role in the offense last season, but figures to be a big part of the offense in 2016, especially with the injury history of Mathews. Today, Sproles was lined up as a receiver in the four-wide package. That could be a sign of things to come.

• The helmet cams aren’t going anywhere. Rookie safety Blake Countess was the first to wear one last week and Chase Daniel has since worn one. Today, Ron Brooks, Malcolm Jenkins and Agholor had cameras on their helmets.

• Brandon Brooks and Mathews were still out this morning. Neither has practiced so far in training camp. Stefen Wisniewski continues to work at right guard in Brooks’ place, while Sproles and Kenjon Barner fill in for Mathews.

• Saw a lot of flags on the field today from the refs, which is noteworthy in a non-padded practice because they were mostly pre-snap penalties. Not a huge problem yet, but something to keep an eye on.

• Pederson continues to move his receivers around just like he said he would. Matthews, Huff and Agholor have all spent time in the slot. It seems like the head coach really wants the players at that position to be interchangeable.

• Chris Pantale has gotten first team reps at fullback during camp, but I want to see him be a lead blocker in live periods and in games. That’s the only way he can convince me he’s capable of being a fullback. I still get the sense the Eagles are going to end up with four running backs and four tight ends, which isn’t very common. But with Mathews’ injury history and Pantale’s potential to play fullback, that might be what happens.  

• Later this week, hopefully we’ll see some hitting. While the Eagles were in pads on Saturday and Sunday, practices were still relatively light in terms of contact. A few players told me they expect practices to ramp up in this next cycle of padded practices.

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