Eagles Training Camp Day 2 Observations: Barnett's Inside Moves

It's the middle of summer but the Eagles got plenty of cloud cover and a cool morning for Day 2 of training camp on Tuesday. 

If only they could bottle up this weather and bring it to next week. 

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Still just quarterbacks, rookies and select veterans at camp - just 34 players. The 35th would have been new tight end and Canadian rugby star Adam Zaruba, but he wasn't in camp yet. He still needs to get a visa. 

Let's hop into the observations: 

1. Derek Barnett has already shown flashes early in training camp of what made him a first-round pick. The former Tennessee star has had his trademark bend around the edge on display, beating Dillon Gordon on Tuesday. But Barnett needs to develop more. 

On Tuesday, as defensive linemen went up against offensive linemen 1-on-1, D-line coach Chris Wilson stressed the importance of Barnett's creating contact with the offensive lineman sooner. Basically, Wilson didn't want Barnett to rely on his speed and get too wide. 

Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said Barnett has been working hard on an inside spin move. Barnett was trying it out on Tuesday. It's still a work in progress. 

"Well it all works off of his edge rush and you have to keep guys honest," Schwartz said. "There's a lot of times in college, you can live off of one move. You get to the NFL and guys are going to take away that one move and you're going to have to have that counter to it."

2. Schwartz wouldn't say if he feels confident about his linebacker depth, but that unit did some good things on Day 2. First, Don Cherry, a practice squad player from a year ago, picked off a pass intended for Mack Hollins in 7-on-7s. Sure, the pass from Matt McGloin was a little behind his target, but Cherry made a good play and Schwartz said Cherry is a different player from a year ago. 

A little while later, middle linebacker Joe Walker pulled in an interception of his own after a ball was tipped straight into the air near the goal line. Veteran cornerback Ron Brooks made sure to make fun of rookie corner Randall Goforth for getting out-jumped by a linebacker. 

And Nate Gerry, who has been predominantly working at the outside linebacker spots -- mostly weakside -- got a few reps at the MIKE in the team's nickel package when Walker took a breather. That should help him understand the defense better. 

3. While McGloin threw behind Hollins for that interception, he followed it up with a 20-yard dime to tight end Billy Brown near the left sideline. Walker had tight coverage on the play, but McGloin dropped it in. 

4. Speaking of Brown, there's not much of a chance for him to make the roster. Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and Trey Burton are virtual locks to make the roster and it seems unlikely the team would keep four tight ends. But Brown might have a chance at earning a practice squad position. A converted wide receiver, Brown is a big guy at 6-4, 255 pounds, but has shown some decent hands and good strength throughout the spring and now early in the summer. 

5. Dane Evans has made some good plays early in camp, but he made a bad decision in the first competitive period on Tuesday. He tried to force in a deep ball but went to the side of the field that had a safety. That safety, Tre Sullivan, picked him off over his shoulder.

6. During the spring, we had seen the Eagles trot out their "pony set," which included Darren Sproles and Donnel Pumphrey. But on Tuesday, big back Corey Clement was in the backfield and Pumphrey was used in the slot. So far this offseason, it really seems like that is going to be Pumphrey's role, working as a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot. 

Carson Wentz, when asked, admitted it's sometimes hard to pick up the 5-foot-9, 176-pound Pumphrey when he runs a route. 

"It can be," Wentz said. "Every guy has their pros and cons. It's just like Sproles. Sproles and I were on the same page a lot last year and develop that chemistry and just trust those guys. And I think we're developing that as we speak." 

7. Hollins and Rasul Douglas had some good battles on Day 2, both coming out victorious on different occasions. Douglas has continued to show his toughness at the line. He's not afraid to use his size and jam. It'll be interesting to see how that works once the veterans come to camp. And it will be even more interesting to see how that works when Doug Pederson brings referees to camp. 

8. The Eagles' secondary spent time in the red zone working in man coverage and then spent time in zone. When the offense used some bunch formations, the corners got a little tripped up in man, as expected. While these practices aren't good for a lot of things, this is an area where the secondary can get better. Douglas was beaten by Marcus Johnson for a touchdown on one of those plays. 

9. While Sidney Jones isn't close to practicing yet, he's staying as involved as he can. He spends every moment of practice with the defensive backs and really seems locked in. At times, he mimics a backpedal and the shoulder motions of cutting. He's not allowed to actually back pedal or cut yet, but he's getting the mental reps on the field. 

10. If you've been expecting a ton of Wentz observations, they'll come later in the week when the entire team reports. For now, his reps have been limited as Nick Foles, McGloin and Evans take most of the snaps. Basically, the team is getting those guys reps now because once real training camp starts, it's the Wentz Show. 

Stupid observation of the day: Without a long-snapper or their emergency long-snapper (Celek) in camp, Mack Hollins spent some time long-snapping the ball to punter Cameron Johnston. Hollins actually did it pretty well. 

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