Eagles training camp observations: Eagles wrap up camp by themselves

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The Eagles were back on the fields at the Baptist Health Training Complex … but they weren’t joined by the Dolphins.

The Dolphins had to cancel the second of two joint practices “out of an abundance of caution” against the Eagles because of a stomach bug that has been running through their team. So the Eagles used the facility on their own Thursday.

“We don’t have any symptoms on our side,” Nick Sirianni said. “So that’s why we’re out here practicing today.”

This practice lasted about just an hour in the hot South Florida sun. But without the Dolphins in attendance, at least the Eagles got to stretch on their fancy, air-conditioned indoor field.

The Eagles did a lot of work in the red zone on Thursday, but they had to manufacture the intensity that would have come naturally against the Dolphins on Day 2.

“Our guys know how to practice and they know how to come out here and compete,” Sirianni said. “We’ll talk before practice starts: Hey, this is a high intensity practice, a lot of work with the ones. We’re going to get more work with the ones here today and get after it.”

This was technically the last training camp practice of 2022. Thanks for reading every day.

To the observations:  

1. As always, housekeeping: 

• Derek Barnett (ribs) and Andre Chachere (groin) were added to the injury report.

• Landon Dickerson and A.J. Brown missed practice with rest days, according to the Eagles.

 

• Did not practice: Derek Barnett (ribs), Shaun Bradley (illness), Brown (rest), Andre Chachere (groin), Dickerson (rest), Christian Ellis (hamstring), Javon Hargrave (toe), Josh Jobe (elbow), Jason Kelce (elbow), Miles Sanders (hamstring), Josiah Scott (hamstring), Greg Ward (toe)

• Jack Anderson (ribs) returned to practice today.

2. Jalen Hurts had gone a long time without throwing an interception in practice, but that streak ended on Thursday when he threw a couple in 11-on-11s. The first went right to Darius Slay; looked like a miscommunication with one of his receivers.

The second was a slightly underthrown fade in the back of the end zone to DeVonta Smith. Give credit to Avonte Maddox, who made an impressive leaping interception.

Overall, every move Hurts made this summer was examined closely and that leads to a lot of sweeping statements. He had his ups and downs. Sirianni said Hurts had his best practice in the last two years against the Dolphins on Day 1. I didn’t see that. But Sirianni’s point was that Hurts went through his reads and made the plays he was supposed to. Hurts didn’t really get to push the ball down the field on Day 1, which makes it hard for me to accept that it was his best practice ever under Sirianni. But I think the coach was simply making the point that sometimes their gauge of a successful practice is slightly different.

On Thursday, Hurts had a few nice passes in the red zone. We’ll get to some of those later.

3. Gardner Minshew threw a pick on Thursday that didn’t appear to be his fault. He lasered in a pass to Richard Rodgers about 10 yards down field, but it deflected back toward the line of scrimmage. That’s where defensive end Tarron Jackson picked it off. Good reaction from Jackson.

4. With Brown getting a rest day, Zach Pascal worked with the first-team offense and caught a touchdown pass inside the near right pylon; Hurts sneaked it in. Pascal has had an excellent training camp after returning from food poisoning and is earning playing time. Before Pascal’s return and while Smith was still out, the Eagles were using Jalen Reagor with the first team. But it’s been way more Pascal in those situations since then.

5. Undrafted safety Reed Blankenship worked with the second team on Thursday and had a nice pass breakup on a pass from Minshew that likely would have been a touchdown to Deon Cain. There might not be room on the roster for Blankenship, but he’s at least worthy of a practice squad spot.

With a roster spot open after trading away Ugo Amadi on Wednesday, the Eagles filled it by re-signing UDFA corner Josh Blackwell. The Duke corner was released on Tuesday. Blackwell returned with a PBU that was nearly an interception during 11-on-11s.

 

6. Boston Scott has looked explosive getting a bunch of first-team reps while Sanders is out. He busted through a huge hole opened up on the left side by Jordan Mailata and Sua Opeta, who was filling in for Dickerson at left guard.

Meanwhile, Minshew found Kenny Gainwell for a touchdown after the second-year running back leaked out of the backfield and ended up wide open in the end zone as the defense looked lost in coverage. That one really got Minshew excited; he pumped his fist in victory.

7. Before getting into team drills, the Eagles had a brief 7-on-7 period. It started off with an Anthony Harris PBU on a pass to Dallas Goedert. But then Hurts came back and delivered a touchdown to Goedert in front of Slay.

On the next play, Slay knocked down a pass to Smith. But then Smith had an impressive back-shoulder touchdown catch against Zech McPhearson.

8. We saw a rare drop from Smith. It went through his hands during a team drill. He dropped and did pushups as penance. 

9. The Eagles used a shovel pass to Goedert near the goal line. I guess someone found Andy Reid’s old playbook lying around the NovaCare Complex last week.

10. We saw some big runs from Hurts on Thursday. On one in particular, Josh Sweat dropped into coverage, leaving a huge hole. Hurts took advantage and ran for what likely would have been a touchdown in a game. Throughout the few years we’ve seen Hurts in these practices, he makes it tough to know how to judge these plays because there’s no tackling. My guess is that in a game, it’s a spectacular touchdown. Right after that “touchdown” the Eagles ran a 2-point conversion. It was close but I think they ruled the Hurts keeper short; credit a run stuff to big ol’ Jordan Davis.

Stupid Observation of the Day: The Miami heat is no joke, but it’s a nice touch that the Dolphins have a line of palm trees surrounding their practice facility.



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