Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations
Here’s what we saw during today’s practice at the NovaCare Complex.
12:15 – Let’s get to the newsy items first. DeMarco Murray and Kiko Alonso both sat this one out. Murray had an illness, the team said. Alonso suffered a concussion during Tuesday’s practice at the Linc.
On the field, it’s the 3-on-2 drill with three defensive backs and two receivers. Tim Tebow has an early throw picked off by Nolan Carroll on a deep post. But he rebounds and connects on the same throw later in the drill. Actually, this had to have been Tebow’s best practice in an Eagles uniform. More on him later.
12:29 – During the first 7-on-7 period, we see a lot of short and intermediate passes. Last year, the Eagles’ defense actually did a pretty good job of getting off the field, yet it still played the most snaps in the NFL. We know Chip Kelly likes to take shots, but perhaps with Sam Bradford at the helm, the Eagles will try to string together longer drives that wear down opposing defenses and keep Billy Davis’ crew off the field.
12:36 – One depth chart note: It was John Moffitt with the starters at right guard all practice long. That spot seems to be completely up for grabs, and it will probably come down to who plays the best in the preseason. So far, the Eagles have used Matt Tobin, Andrew Gardner and Moffitt with the first team.
While I was Tweeting the Moffitt note and looking down at my phone, Bradford apparently delivered a beautiful ball to Josh Huff down the seam. This is what I get for trying to keep you people up to date with instant information.
12:40 – Mark Sanchez continues to sprinkle in here and there with the ones. After one snap, Bennie Logan goes to the ground. Even though the players are in pads, they try to stay on their feet, especially the linemen. After the play, Jason Kelce reaches down with one hand and pulls Logan up. Logan weighs 315 pounds. This is a subtle reminder that football players are different than you and me.
1:02 – Ryan Mathews is getting more time with the ones today since Murray is out. Here he drops a pass from Bradford in the flat.
On a run play, DeMeco Ryans meets Raheem Mostert head on. He wraps up and lets go, but ends up tossing Mostert a few feet. I don’t know about Ryans’ Achilles’, but his upper body seems to be ready for game action.
Matt Barkley delivers a nice ball to Quron Pratt on a deep dig. And Bradford connects with Zach Ertz on a corner route.
I asked Ertz the key to connecting more on the corner routes this year, and he said he runs his differently than some other receivers. Ertz likes to get his body in front of the defender and box them out. That’s why it seems there were so many overthrows on that route last year. We’ll see if they can connect more often in 2015.
Tebow gets hot! He fires a ball down the seam to Mike Johnson for a huge gain. Johnson beat JaCorey Shepherd on the play.
Then Tebow lofts a corner route to Pratt and connects again.
Finally, a bomb down the left sideline to Mostert on a wheel route. Three huge plays in a row for Tebow.
As the offense and defense separate for a teach period, Shepherd gets down and does pushups to make up for the big play he gave up during the previous drill.
1:14 – The Eagles did a lot more mixing and matching with the first team today. Eric Rowe saw quite a few snaps in place of Carroll. He didn’t seem to stand out one way or another. Nelson Agholor saw some time with the starters in place of Huff, and I had the same impression of him. Some catches here and there, but nothing that really stood out.
During the red zone period, Bradford delivers a strike to Huff on a quick out. He beat Rowe for the touchdown. One thing that sets Bradford apart is he seems to be a legit anticipation thrower. The ball gets out early on a lot of these completions.
Sanchez follows Bradford up with a touchdown to Jeff Maehl on a post.
Bradford’s turn again. He connects with Riley Cooper on a crosser, zipping the ball in between defenders for the score. After an Ertz catch, Rowe delivers a hit that knocks the tight end to the ground. Malcolm Jenkins comes over and lets the rookie know he likes what he sees.
The offense really did well in the red zone. Sanchez connects with G.J. Kinne in the corner of the end zone and the finds Mostert for the score. Agholor nearly makes a one-handed grab on the fade vs. Carroll, but can’t hang on.
1:29 – One final team period. Fletcher Cox bursts through the middle of the line past Allen Barbre. That would have been bad news for Bradford had this been a game situation. The defense got home with an A-Gap blitz on the next snap.
Ertz seems to make one standout play each practice. Here, he extends fully and high-points the Bradford pass for a catch in traffic in the middle of the field.
And that’s a wrap. We’ll be back Friday with more observations.