A day after having a couple live tackling periods, the Eagles backed off some today. They were in shells and shorts but still got in plenty of good team work.
For the third straight day, Carson Wentz didn't participate in 11-on-11s, which sounds like cause for concern, but Doug Pederson said there hasn't been a setback (see story). It's just that he's seen enough from No. 11 already.
While Wentz didn't do a ton today, there's still plenty of observations to make. But, as always, we'll start with Wentz.
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1. As I already said, no 11-on-11s, but he did participate in 7-on-7s and looked fine. He continues to look good in drills that focus on footwork and moving with his legs. That's probably a good sign.
Just to illustrate how crazy Wentz watch has become, I filmed him in slow motion today.
2. The star of today's practice, at least to me, was rookie tight end Dallas Goedert. The Eagles worked in the red zone today and Goedert starred. I wrote about it before, but I think this is where Goedert will make an immediate impact this year (see story). Goedert is already really big, has great body control and great hands. He's going to be a weapon in the red zone.
We saw that today. He caught three touchdowns in the red zone and the smaller corners and safeties on him had no chance. He caught one in front of Sidney Jones, when he grabbed the ball with one hand and brought it back to his body and two more against Ronald Darby and Rodney McLeod.
It's hard for rookie tight ends to make immediate impacts, but I think we'll see a lot of No. 88 this year. By the way, it's crazy how similar in size he and Ertz are. Good luck, Merrill Reese, trying to figure out which is which on game day.
3. Rookie running back Josh Adams was back on the practice field after missing yesterday's session. He made his first head-turning plays of camp, although they came in a non-padded practice. Still, he showed some burst through the tackles and then caught two touchdowns in the flat on consecutive plays in the red zone. He has a long way to go to catch up, but there's a lot of time left.
4. We already talked about Goedert, but let's talk about Richard Rodgers for a second. The veteran tight end is nowhere near as explosive as Zach Ertz or Goedert, but he's been solid this camp and it doesn't seem like he's in any danger of getting cut. In fact, he got some first-team reps before Goedert today. I once thought second-year player Billy Brown had a chance to beat out Rodgers for a spot; I no longer think that's the case.
5. I missed most of the 7-on-7 session today to watch 1-on-1s between offensive linemen and defensive linemen. It's my favorite part of camp. Here are some notes from that session:
- Haloti Ngata is slow, but he's still powerful. He moved Jason Kelce, who is naturally going to struggle against a big guy like Ngata.
- The biggest win of the session came from Destiny Vaeao, who ran over Chance Warmack, sending the disappointing former first-round pick to the seat of his pants.
- Actually saw some good things from rookie former rugby player Jordan Mailata. He held his own once against Josh Sweat and once against Danny Ezechukwu. He lost more than he won, but any victory is a welcome sign.
- I like undrafted defensive tackle Bruce Hector from South Florida. He had an impressive rep where he split the A gap and left two defenders in this drill bumping into each other. It was a quick move. He probably doesn't have a shot at the roster, but practice squad is possible.
- Elijah Qualls shows up in these drills. Maybe it's just because he has good leverage, but he seems to get really good push.
6. We're going to give Matt Pryor his own number because he deserves it. The rookie guard/tackle from TCU has been impressive all camp and that continued today in 1-on-1s. He owned Aziz Shittu, who has a decent shot of making the team. He handles Winston Craig. Every time I watch Pryor, he's making a play.
While Pryor has gotten limited work at tackle, it seems like the Eagles see him as a guard first. After watching his TCU tape a few months ago, I agree. The concern for me is that Pryor is 6-foot-7. That's pretty tall for a guard. But that's a minor concern. The important thing is how well he's been playing.
7. Quick injury update: Shelton Gibson and Matt Jones were both out today after getting injured. Gibson has a concussion. Jones has a lower-body injury and is expected to practice tomorrow. Still no Adam Zaruba. But Adams and cornerback D.J. Killings returned after missing yesterday.
8. Isaac Seumalo has had a rough training camp so far, but he made a nice play today that seemed to excite offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland. Working as the second-team center, Seumalo sprung the running back on a touchdown in the red zone by getting to the second level and wiping linebacker Joe Walker from the play. Anything to boost Seumalo's confidence could be good.
9. Down near the goal line, I liked one play call when Nick Foles took the snap in shotgun and had a quick pitch to Darren Sproles, who swung around the edge. That can be a tool for the Eagles to get around overzealous defensive ends who might be cheating some.
10. De'Vante Bausby was back as the nickel corner today, which sent Sidney Jones to the second team. Bausby had one impressive play where he shadowed Nelson Agholor for nearly nine or 10 seconds. Foles rolled toward that side of the field during the red zone period and Agholor couldn't shake Bausby.
Stupid Observation of the Day: The rookies are already trying to skirt their water ice responsibilities. Michael Bennett couldn't find a rookie defensive lineman in the locker room to get him some from Rita's the practice fields. They've got to shape up. By the way, it seems like mango is the favorite flavor among players … they have impeccable taste.