Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations


Here’s what we saw during today’s session.

12:27 – The view for reporters during these practices at the Linc is great. So we start today with videos of a couple running back drills you’ve seen before, but maybe not this up close. You’ll notice the emphasis on making defenders miss at the second level.

12:32 – A piece of paper from the notebook of Inquirer reporter Zach Berman just fell to the ground and flew onto the field past the area where media are allowed to go.

A security guard picked it up after a few seconds. Can you imagine if a player would have slipped? We could have had an LD/Shaq situation on our hands:

12:35 – During the 3-on-2 portion, Josh Huff delivers a great effort on a jump ball down the left sideline, but Curtis Marsh breaks it up. One thing that stands out with Huff: the way he competes for the football. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the preseason.

12:43 – It’s special teams time, but we keep our attention on the quarterbacks working off to the side. They take turns fielding shotgun snaps, reacting to fake pressure from their left, shuffling to their right and then throwing off their back foot.

We’ve covered this before, but new QBs coach Bill Musgrave uses a baseball glove to field throws at practice. From my vantage point, it looks like a black and tan Rawlings. I was a Mizuno man myself, back in the day.

12:55 – During 7-on-7s, Cary Williams stands on the sideline with his helmet in hand. He did not participate in team drills today. While many wondered whether he was being disciplined for his comments about the Patriots, Williams said after practice that he was just experiencing some general soreness.

Jordan Matthews flashes nice hands on an out-breaking route, reaching up and snagging a Mark Sanchez pass while keeping his feet in bounds. As Matthews sprints upfield, the crowd goes nuts.

What I’m convinced of with Matthews: He can get open and catch a lot of balls on short and intermediate routes. What I need to see: That he can get vertical and beat man coverage down the field.

We’ve wondered in this space why Matthews doesn’t get more reps against the ones. Chip Kelly provided an answer today.

“The one thing you don’t want to do with anybody is just throw them out there and then he doesn’t know what he’s doing,” Kelly said. “A lot of the scripting that goes on in terms of play calls, the play calls are different for the ones and the twos and the threes. It’s not ‑ doesn’t matter who is in there right now. We are trying to give those guys a chance to be successful, give them confidence and get their feet underneath them a little bit.

“You can call certain things with our ones, but because they have all been here before, by and large, they have been running with that group right now, so they are pretty comfortable doing it and you can dial up any play you want. But if it’s something that we touch base on in practice but we have not gotten back to and now we are in practice seven or eight, it may not be as quick for him on the recall standpoint. So we are just trying to get him as many reps, get him on film, let him get an understanding of what we are doing. He’s doing a great job of learning but you’ll eventually see that as he continues to improve here.”

There you go.

The Eagles continue to work on a dime look with four corners, two safeties and Mychal Kendricks as the lone linebacker. I’ve said it before, but this seems like an excellent option in third-and-long situations, especially if Nolan Carroll II continues to play well.

1:00 – During 7-on-7s, LeSean McCoy practically incites a riot by tossing the football into the stands. He later runs by and stops to say hello to a female fan who looks like she’s about to faint and does the whole “I’m fanning myself with my hand” thing.

I thought McManus was going to have to put his CPR skills to use there, but she avoided passing out.

1:19 – During one-on-ones, Ifeanyi Momah separates from Brandon Boykin on a go route and makes the grab on a beautiful throw from Nick Foles. I still don’t think Momah makes the squad, but clearly he has improved.

Undrafted free agent Quron Pratt makes a fantastic diving grab while keeping his feet in bounds on a back shoulder throw near the sideline.

Later, undrafted free agent Kadron Boone draws a huge ovation for his double move against Marsh, but he drops the ball, which results in an even louder roar from the fans.

1:32 – Foles held on to the ball quite a bit today.. During this drill, he takes a sack.

Darren Sproles beats Bryan Braman on a wheel route from Sanchez. Matthews then makes a nice grab from Sanchez down the seam.

The catch of the day goes to B.J. Cunningham. Tremendous effort on a 50/50 ball downfield against Marsh. He ended up coming down with the pass from Barkley for a touchdown.

1:44 – Malcolm Jenkins, a former corner, has impressed me with his man coverage skills this camp. Looking forward to seeing if that translates to games.

1:57 – Boykin vs. Momah again. This time, Boykin’s all over him, racing ahead in hopes of an interception. But Momah shoves him from behind to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Huff makes a great adjustment on a ball from Sanchez downfield. The crowd goes nuts, and the offense starts moving to the new line of scrimmage. But Kelly calls it back. Apparently he didn’t have both feet in bounds.

On the last play of the day, Brent Celek gets past Connor Barwin in man coverage and comes down with the TD from Foles in the corner of the end zone.

The Eagles will be at NovaCare Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week. We’ll have it all covered.