Eagles Training Camp Day 10 Observations: A Fight at the Goal Line

The Eagles had a long padded practice under the hot summer sun on Thursday and even went live (tackling to the ground) for the second time in camp. 

Friday's practice will be a light 10/10/10 before an off day on Saturday. 

Without wasting time, let's get to today's observations: 

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1. *Clears throat* injuries: Nick Foles (elbow), Alshon Jeffery (shoulder), LeGarrette Blount (personal reasons) Paul Turner (shoulder), Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring) and Josh Andrews (hand) and Mychal Kendricks (quad) missed practice. 

This is the third straight day missed for Blount and Jeffery. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said keeping Jeffery out is "more just precautionary." 

Elijah Qualls (groin) and Alex McCalister (hamstring) both returned to practice. This was the first day Kendricks has missed. 

2. Fight! For the first time during this training camp, tempers started to flare. Really, it's to be expected with the competition and the heat. On Thursday, the Eagles were doing live goal-line drills when Wendell Smallwood was stuffed short of the goal line. But then the real action started. Jason Kelce and Rodney McLeod exchanged a few words and shoves. 

"I'm a smaller guy but I try to hold my own," said McLeod, who is listed as 100 pounds lighter than Kelce. "It was just guys sticking up for one another, sticking up for their side of the ball."

McLeod said it's fun to be in those short-yardage situations and sometimes things get heated. 

That's OK. Just ask Reich. 

"It is a good dynamic right now," Reich said. "I think Coach Pederson has done a good job of setting the tone and having it be very competitive. I think guys need to know, and they do know, you really have to know how to compete your butt off but still take care of each other. Tempers flare a little bit, and that's just part of it and everybody knows it. You gotta compete hard and still be mature enough to know how to do that and take care of each other." 

3. The goal-line drills started with the second-team offense vs. the first-team defense. On the first play, Corey Clement got into the end zone. Then Matt McGloin threw an incompletion when he targeted Billy Brown in the back of the end zone. Then Clement was stuffed by Brandon Graham. On the final play, Clement got in behind the lead block of Dillon Gordon, who was playing fullback. 

Then the first-team offense lined up against the second-team defense. First,  Smallwood was stuffed. Then Byron Marshall couldn't get in; he was tackled by Joe Walker and Steven Daniels. The third play was a great pass from Carson Wentz to Zach Ertz in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. The final play was when Smallwood got stuffed and it started the scuffle. 

The third teams had just two plays, and Dane Evans got the offense in the end zone both times. The first time he passed to Anthony Denham in the end zone. The second Marshall ran right for the touchdown. 

"There's no room for error down there," McLeod said. "You literally have two yards of space. You have to come downhill and bring it. Both sides are doing a great job. It's a great competition. You like to see guys just giving it their all and playing with a little chip on their shoulder." 

4. The Eagles used offensive tackles Dillon Gordon and Halapoulivaati Vaitai in different ways during the offensive install portion of practice. Gordon got several reps at fullback and Vaitai got reps as a tight end. The Eagles spent a lot of their practice on Thursday working on short-yardage, so those two players got to show off their versatility. 

5. The offensive play of the day came on the final snap. Wentz threw a beautiful deep pass to Nelson Agholor, who caught it in front of Rasul Douglas for a touchdown. From there, Agholor had the rest of his offense line up like bowling pins, and he knocked them down with the football. That's how practice ended. 

6. For the second time in three days, the Eagles had live tackling periods. They won't have another until after the game next week. Smallwood is a completely different animal in these periods. With Blount missing, Smallwood has been getting extra reps and making the most of them. He's been running hard and running defenders over. 

7. In the 1-on-1s between receivers and defensive backs, Agholor's quick steps near the line of scrimmage are hard for defensive backs to combat. He's just been really good over the last few days. 

8. While those 1-on-1s are really much easier for the receivers, give credit to Jalen Mills and C.J. Smith. They both made great stops. First, Mills broke up a deep pass to Torrey Smith. Then, C.J. Smith broke up a pass on a hitch to David Watford. C.J. Smith might be the Eagles' second-best outside cornerback right now. 

9. Terrence Brooks wiped out Clement a little too late on Thursday. The play was already over and the whistle had blown, but it's hard to stop Brooks from hitting. Jim Schwartz had to send him to the sideline for a few plays. 

10. A good sign: middle linebacker Jordan Hicks was in for live goal line drills. Hicks still has his surgically repaired broken hand wrapped over his glove, but he appears to be fine. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: After Big V scored a rare touchdown, he put his hands up in the air and jumped two times. It looked like a little-kid touchdown celebration. 

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