Eagles training camp observations: Defense wins day two

The Eagles were back on the practice field Friday morning for their second practice of training camp.

It was a cloudy day and it was nice and cool in the shade. No doubt when the pads go live next week it will be 100 degrees.

While the first training camp workout lasted only 58 minutes, this one was slightly longer. The entire practice lasted 1:15, but the last 5 minutes were devoted to a period of development of young players struggling to stay in the NFL.

To comments:

1. As always, we’ll start with a few housekeeping items. Three players remain on PUP: Tyree Jackson, Brett Toth and Richard Rodgers. So they don’t practice.

The only other two players not practicing Friday were receivers Zach Pascal (illness) and Keric Wheatfall (COVID progression). Pascal tweeted Thursday about food poisoning, which can do a lot of harm to anyone. The good news is that Pascal was at least able to be on the pitch as a spectator on Friday:

Jason Kelce (COVID Progression) and Fletcher Cox (COVID Progression) were limited training participants and did not participate in team drills. After practice Wednesday, Cox said he felt better. After Friday’s practice, Kelce said the same thing.

2. The offense looked very clean on the first day of training camp and got the better of the defense. The roles were reversed on Friday.

Jalen Hurts didn’t have a good day. He was not alone. The whole attack, apart from a few bright moments, wasn’t great.

“It didn’t look good,” said Kelce, who was a spectator when he returned from COVID. “I should go back and watch it more on tape. I think the defense probably feels they got the better of them on day one. I think they came here with a lot of energy and effort today. And that’s what you want to see. You want to see the sides of the ball clash.

It happens. Nothing to worry too much about. Now, if the offense looks bad for a week straight, then that’s a problem. But there will be ups and downs throughout the camp.

As much as you can tell the Eagles’ offense struggled on Friday — and it did — give Jonathan Gannon’s defense credit, too. They made games.

3. One of the biggest positives of the day for the offense was when Hurts rolled right and hit AJ Brown on a beautifully placed ball about 25 yards down the field for an 11-on-11 period. that these two best friends get on the same page early on.

4. The best defensive play of the day came in the 11-on-11, when Avonte Maddox made a bouncing interception on an attempted Hurts dugout pass to Dallas Goedert. The throw wasn’t great but didn’t take anything away from the game on defense.

“I know he’s only 5-9, but he jumped like he was 6-5,” Goedert said of his good friend Maddox. “He went up there. It was a great piece of his. He kind of baited the quarterback, took a few steps up. I think he was guessing I was going to take a corner kick and he just made a good play on the ball.

Another fine play from a DB came from James Bradberry, who broke a pass intended for Jalen Reagor.

5. Some offensive notes on the depth chart:

• Isaac Seumalo is clearly the Eagles’ right guard. The first two days, he took the first reps at right guard, then Sua Opeta rotated. If it was a competition, I imagine we would see Jack Driscoll getting those chances. Driscoll works as a second-team right tackle.

• Miles Sanders worked exclusively with the second team on Friday, while Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell shared the reps with the starters. Don’t overdo it just yet, but it’s something to watch out for.

6. Defensive Depth Chart Notes:

• The Eagles always mix and match odd and even fronts. Without Cox, the Eagles 3-4 look had second-year DT Marlon Tuipulotu on the nose, surrounded by Milton Williams and Javon Hargrave on the ends, while Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat were top outside backers. The two were also featured as standing rushers in a 4-3 lineup.

• The top two linebackers on Friday were TJ Edwards and Kyzir White. White made his first big play of training camp when he exploded into the backfield to pick up a “sack” against Hurts. Davion Taylor mixed with the first team, while Nakobe Dean worked with the second team.

• Anthony Harris resumed team practice on Friday and was the starting safety alongside Marcus Epps. Harris did not take all of the first-team reps, however, and rotated with K’Von Wallace. Jaquiski Tartt and Andre Chachere were second team safeties. Chachere skipped an attempted Gardner Minshew pass to Noah Togiai for his first pick of the summer.

seven. Keep an eye out for cornerback Mac McCain III. The Eagles know their best cornerbacks are Darius Slay, Bradberry and Avonte Maddox, but they have nine young corners battling for a few spots. Zech McPhearson is the next guy and he worked with the second team. But I was a bit surprised to see McCain join him as another second-team outside cornerback. (Josiah Scott is the second team nickel).

McCain made a few plays early in this camp. McCain had a PBU on Friday that resulted in a Davion Taylor interception and he had another tough one against Quez Watkins later in practice. McCain has a chance to win a job.

8. Speaking of Taylor, he’s off to a good start. Taylor had three notable games on Friday. One was the INT off Minshew after McCain’s diversion. He had another play where he hit Boston Scott at the perfect time to release the ball for a PBU. And a low-key came when he chased Hurts from the perfect angle after the quarterback broke free from the pocket. Taylor has been a forgotten guy in this defense, but he could gain a role and playing time.

9. Reid Sinnett and Carson Strong split third-team reps at QB, which was frustrating for me because I want to watch Strong. I finally got a chance to see him broadcast a pass during the 7-on-7 development period after main practice was over. He didn’t hit Britain Covey on the left sideline, but it was a bomb. No doubt about the strength of his arm.

ten. A few special guests were at training camp on Friday. Several staff coaches from the University of Maryland were on hand. That included Gunter Brewer, who served as the Eagles’ receivers coach for the 2018 season. He was between Mike Groh and Carson Walch.

Another guest was longtime NFL defensive coach and former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Fangio, 63, had been the Broncos’ head coach from 2019-21 and currently has no job. The Dunmore, Pennsylvania native has been DC for the Panthers, Colts, Texans, 49ers and Bears.

Stupid observation of the day: If you saw those goofy gears on helmets during boot camp, they’re called Guardian Caps. The NFL made them mandatory for all linemen, linebackers, and tight ends during training camp.

Kelce had fun with him on Friday, wearing bubble wrap over his goalie cap for the entire 1:15 a.m. practice. He joked that it might give him another 2 or 3% protection.

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