Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations
Here’s what we saw during today’s practice session as the last week of OTAs got underway:
10:40 — I don’t know what’s going on at practice, but I can tell you that 95 is a total mess right now and there’s a helicopter circling overhead. And it’s never a good sign when a helicopter is circling overhead. Looks like I may be here for a while, so the first few notes of courtesy of Mr. Paunil, who selfishly took the company yacht into work this morning:
10:46 — Practice opens with special teams drills and it’s not going so hot. Josh Huff drops a punt, and so does Nelson Agholor. Moments later, Agholor misjudges a punt and lets it fall in front of him.
10:49 — While standing on the sidelines, I tell Jimmy Kempski that I’ve never been to WaWa (I grew up in Maryland), and he immediately calls me out on Twitter.
10:50 — Twitter death threats commence.
11:01 — Chase Daniel shouts, “Gotta get that arm loose, 7!” when Sam Bradford doesn’t lead Huff, forcing the receiver to slow down on a deep ball down the left sideline. Daniel hits Agholor in-stride for a 40-yard strike down the right side moments later, followed by another pretty ball to Hunter Sharp.
11:03 — Doug Pederson dials up some trick plays! Daniel throws a bubble screen to Huff, who rolls back and completes a 20-yard pass to Wendell Smallwood. Later, Agholor takes a bubble screen on the left side and tosses one to Carson Wentz, but the play didn’t connect.
11:07– OK, traffic cleared and I’m here. But Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles aren’t. Don’t think it’s traffic related.
11:20 — We’ve seen all sorts of different pairings at corner, with Leodis McKelvin being the one constant. Today, Ron Brooks gets the call in base, then flips inside to the slot in nickel while Eric Rowe slides into the outside post. Brooks gets inside leverage on Huff and deflects a Bradford pass that Rodney McLeod hauls in for the interception. Bradford rebounds with a nice deep-in to Agholor.
11:29 — Wentz continues to be up and down as you’d expect, and we see another example here. Launches a bomb down the right sideline that Xavier Rush snares for a big completion. Then is nearly picked by Aaron Grymes, who steps in front of intended target M.J. McFarland and has the ball bounce off his hands.
11:44 — Pederson is getting an early jump on scout team work. The offense, led by Daniel, appears to be simulating the Cowboys, with one player donning a red 88 jersey and another 82, presumably for Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. If you suddenly felt compelled to boo around lunchtime and were not sure why, now you have your answer.
It should be noted that Jordan Hicks is sitting out of team drills again. He’s been in and out of the lineup. When we asked Pederson a couple weeks ago about it, he said Hicks was having leg tightness.
11:54 — Bradford draws Connor Barwin offsides with a hard count. It wasn’t as rampant as last time out, but we’ve seen the d-line jump quite a bit in the early going. In one sense, that’s good — the offense is mixing up their snap counts, which is something we did not see under Chip Kelly, and it’s been effective. But it is also exposing an area of vulnerability in this “attack” scheme: when you’re hell-bent on beating your opponent off the snap, it leaves you more susceptible to getting baited into an offsides if you’re not disciplined. An area to work on as spring turns to summer.
11:58 — A rough patch for Bradford. He’s nearly picked by Mychal Kendricks, then throws behind Huff, who is unable to come up with the reception.
12:00 — Fight! Or a little scuffle anyway. Allen Barbre and Mike Martin engage in some extra-curriculars during team drills before walking away without further incident. Safe to say, Kelly would have cut them both on the spot.
12:12 — Wentz is running a little hurry-up, and threads one to McFarland. He comes back to the same play a beat later and has similar success. Cory Undlin is not pleased. “C.J!” he yells to rookie corner C.J. Smith, “How many times have you seen them run that?”
Duce Staley has some words for his rook as well, letting Smallwood have it when he doesn’t take the right route out of the backfield, leading to a Wentz incompletion.
12:17 — The day ends on a positive note, though, as Wentz feathers a pass into the corner of the end zone that Chris Pantale snags one-handed for the TD. Pederson decides to call it there.
That’s it for today. We’ll be back at it on Friday as OTAs wrap up.