Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations
Here’s what we saw during Thursday’s training session at the NovaCare Complex.
11:51 — Some pretty significant names on the non-practice list today. Kiko Alonso, Zach Ertz, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and DeMarco Murray are all sidelined. Same for Earl Wolff and Bryan Braman. Murray has missed several practices now and has had a light workload overall.
Malcolm Jenkins decides to have some fun. He runs off the field and into a nearby fan tent to grab a white folding chair, which he brings back and jokingly offers to Murray (with Kendricks standing nearby).
“We have a lot of guys that for whatever reason take a little day off, so I just wanted to make sure they had a nice little seat, a place in the shade while we’re all working out here,” Jenkins said afterwards with a smile.
Murray did not take Jenkins up on the offer, and there that chair sat, alone, for the duration of practice.
12:05 — Two drills for the price of one. We get an up-close look at the strip sack drill we talked about the other day. In the background, you can see the defensive backs working on recovering a city fumble.
12:17 — One-on-ones. Nelson Agholor gets separation from Byron Maxwell and hauls in a Sam Bradford pass. History repeats moments later — Bradford to Agholor with Maxwell in coverage. Feather in the cap for the rookie. The defensive backs own the drill from there. Eric Rowe breaks up a Bradford throw intended for Miles Austin. Mark Sanchez steps in and is intercepted twice — the last one by E.J. Biggers, who cuts in front of Jordan Matthews‘ out route to make the pick. Rowe makes another play, intercepting Bradford on a ball meant for Riley Cooper.
“Mentally I think I had a rough day yesterday, just with my man technique stuff,” said Rowe, who began his transition to nickel Wednesday. “Last night I went home, watched film, and knew what I had to do the next day. Today when I stepped out, I knew I wasn’t going to make those same mistakes. Going against [Cooper], I just made sure I stayed on top of the route instead of me just kinda trailing behind, and he just threw the fade.”
Cooper was barking at Rowe [jokingly, we think] after the play, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the DBs, who were buzzing as they gathered together at the end of the period.
12:28 — Seven-on-sevens, and the battle for the No. 3 QB spot is heating up! Matt Barkley with a nice ball down the left sideline to Eric Tomlinson. Tim Tebow answers with a bullet down the seam to Mike Johnson. This one is tough to call. If it iwas being judged solely off accuracy, Barkley would be the winner. But Tebow has improved as a thrower and you wonder if Kelly is intrigued by the run/pass element he could bring to the table.
Somehow Brandon Graham ends up on Darren Sproles on a wheel route and the results are predictable. All Graham can do is smile as he makes his way back to the sideline, and gives Sproles a pat on the shoulder pads, finally able to catch up with him.
12:35 — Team drills. Andrew Gardner is at right guard for the second straight day. To this point, he’s had more reps there than the other candidates. Matt Tobin, meanwhile, hasn’t been in there in over a week. Brad Jones and Emmanuel Acho are at middle linebacker with the top three guys still down. Marcus Smith flashes again, sniffing out a sweep to his side and “tackling” Kenjon Barner in the backfield.
12:58 — More 7-on-7. Bradford zips one down the middle to Brent Celek with Walter Thurmond in coverage. Chip Kelly wants to push the line of scrimmage back to start the next series, so he breaks into a Chris Berman impression: “Back, back, back…”
Agholor and Mark Sanchez step in with the first team. Agholor stretches the hands out high and snares one on the outside with Jenkins in coverage. Bradford’s back with the ones and looks in the direction of Jordan Matthews but Rowe has good coverage, and Bradford throws it away. Rowe worked with the first team at nickel all day.
1:17 — The defense is working on all-out blitzes during the teach periods. Jerry Azzinaro is spending a lot of time with Smith, walking him through the different assignments and techniques.
1:22 — Team drills. Agholor goes up against Maxwell again. Maxwell wins this one and Bradford’s pass is incomplete. Bradford tests Maxwell’s side three straight times, and it results in three straight incompletions. He tries the other side, but fails to connect again. The defense goes out on a high note.
“It’s close to game time,” said Rowe. “This is the last day practicing for the game — tomorrow’s like a walkthrough — so we stepped up the intensity.”
That’s it for today. Practice resumes tomorrow at 11:45.