Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Wednesday’s practice at the NovaCare Complex.

11:47 —  A couple notes at the top. DeMeco Ryans has the day off. He’s out here in shorts and a jersey. Still no sign of Kiko Alonso. DeMarco Murray, Mychal Kendricks and Zach Ertz work with the trainers during a portion of the individual drills. Of those three, only Kendricks sits out the team portion of practice. Middle linebacker is a loaded position, but it’s going to be thin today.

11:50 — Cody Parkey is off target on a few of his field goal tries, including one that knuckles well low and left. Tucker seems concerned. Not Jimmy Kempski, though. The lover of all things special teams is standing directly behind the end zone, eating Rita’s Water Ice with a giant smile on his face as the Parkey tries sail over his head. Pretty sure he’s in his heaven.

12:00 — This is a fun tackling drill where the players dive and attack the dummy alligator-style. Notice Earl Wolff goes back to the mat after his turn to pick something up. What could he have dropped? Mouthpiece? Car keys? Also, I like how Najee Goode slams the dummy down for good measure towards the end.

12:36 — The offensive and defensive linemen are getting after it a little bit on the middle field. Rookie guard Malcolm Bunche opens some eyes by flattening Vinny Curry during 2-on-1 drills.

12:47 — It’s 11-on-11 time, and Andrew Gardner is your right guard du jour. On the defensive side of the ball Taylor Hart is getting some work with the ones in place of Cedric Thornton. Jaylen Watkins is your nickel, while Brad Jones, Emmanuel Acho and Goode see action at linebacker with the top three guys down. Watkins has not been afraid to lower his pads this summer. He thuds Murray as the back breaks one off the left side.

1:09 — Tim Tebow had a bit of a rocky day, tossing a couple picks, but here throws a nice ball downfield to Nelson Agholor, who drops it. Agholor bounces back, extending his arms to make a good grab on a pass from Matt Barkley. He follows that up with a dynamite spinning catch in the corner of the end zone. Randall Evans was in coverage and is signaling no-catch. After practice, Agholor concedes that he only had one foot in.

“College rule,” he jokes.

1:24 — A scary moment as Ertz stays down after falling hard to the ground while trying to make a catch. Feels like he’s been getting nicked quite a bit this camp. He sits out the rest of practice but it didn’t seem to be anything too serious. Reporters noticed Brent Celek leaving practice early as well, meaning plenty of playing time for Trey Burton and company.

1:37 — Josh Huff and Byron Maxwell have been going at it all summer. On this play, Huff finds some room down the seam, hauls in a well-placed Sam Bradford dart and takes off. Maxwell compliments the receiver as he makes his way back to the sideline for giving him “late hands” meaning he did not give Maxwell any tells that the ball was coming his way until it was too late. They communicate like that after every play.

“I tell him what I did to get to that point and he’ll tell me what I can do better, and vice-versa,” said Huff. “If he beats me on a route or beats me in press, I always ask where I could do better and he always gives me positive feedback.”

“Iron sharpens iron,” said Maxwell. “In order for him to get ready and in order for me to get ready for Sunday, we’ve gotta help each other out here, right now.”

While the relationship is obviously good, it gets competitive between them. The next time they lock horns, Maxwell has Huff covered and an out pass from Bradford sails high. Afterwards, Huff screams a four-letter expletive and slams his helmet down on the sideline.

“He got the better of me on that one. He got a little savvy vet-ness to him, I guess you could say,” said Huff. “He got away with a hold in my opinion.”

2:11 — Practice is over, but Jordan Matthews is still putting in the work. He’s sitting on his back side in front of the JUGS machine, making one-handed grabs with his left hand, then his right. Next, he lies down on his back and starts snaring catches from that position. Kempski shot the video.

“I can’t emulate jumping up and catching the ball, so laying down I get used to catching it in that angle,” Matthews explains. “When you’re in the air, there’s a lot of weird angles you have to catch the ball at…Doing some of those things gets you used to those unorthodox catches.”

That’s enough for today. Back at it tomorrow at 11:45.