Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Defense dominates on Day 2 of Eagles minicamp.

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Day 2 of the Eagles’ three-day minicamp:

1:49 — Players tackling rolling donut-shaped thingamajigs? Sign me up. My new favorite drill.

Not sure if you can see what’s going on in the background, but the defensive line is doing a drill where they launch into the air, Superman style, the moment the ball is “snapped” and land face-first on a giant mat. Can’t really figure out the football application here, but I like it, and consider it the day’s biggest achievement that I got both exercises in one shot.

1:52 — Practice is indoors, which often leads to a pretty dull scene, but the energy is really up with this team today. If you don’t believe me, check out some of these gems that the great Jeff Fusco snapped of
players on their way into practice.

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Maybe it’s the return of Fletcher Cox (who did not participate in team drills again) that has everybody feeling good. Or, maybe it’s the fact that just one more day of work lies between the players and summer vacation. Betting on the latter.

2:30 — Anyway, it’s leading to a spirited session, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Leodis McKelvin drives on a Sam Bradford offering to T.J. Graham and comes up with the pass break-up. Seems like an ever-rotating cast opposite McKelvin. Today Nolan Carroll lines up at the left outside corner spot for his first team drill work of the spring.

2:32 — A little skirmish breaks out, and once again it’s Allen Barbre and Connor Barwin locking horns. Same as yesterday. Barbre extends his hand as a peace offering on their way back to the sideline, but Barwin at the moment is not inclined to take it.

2:33 — It’s the defense’s day, for sure. Jalen Mills knocks away a Chase Daniel pass for Graham along the left side. Moments later, Jordan Hicks jumps in front of Brent Celek and swats the ball to the turf. Then it’s Mychal Kendricks‘ turn. He disrupts a pass intended for Chris Pantale and finishes the play by taking Pantale down to the ground.

2:37 — Carson Wentz looks to have broken the streak with a deep pass that finds Nelson Agholor, but Denzel Rice bats the ball out of Agholor’s hands at the last second to force the incompletion.

2:45 — Rice with another pass break-up. He’s having a good day and gets an atta boy from Cory Undlin.

2:50 — With nowhere to go, Bradford pulls the ball down and runs to the right side for a gain of around 15 yards or so. This leads Josh to wondering what the longest run gain of Bradford’s career is. I set the over-under at 19 yards. He takes the under. The answer?

Twenty three yards back in 2013. Down goes Paunil.

2:52 — It’s Mills again. He knocks away a Daniel pass intended for Graham, who has been on the wrong end of these kind of plays all day.

2:55 — Wentz gets pressured, shifts quickly in the pocket and releases a wayward pass that floats directly to Jaylen Watkins, who drops it.

Wentz and Bradford have both had better outings. Daniel is having the best day of the QBs. He sends one deep for Jordan Matthews, who hauls it in over his shoulder with Rodney McLeod draped all over him and manages to keep his feet in bounds. “Damn,” says McLeod. Matthews stares over his shoulder at the safety on the way back to the huddle, and spins the ball on the turf for good measure.

3:13 — The defense’s dominance continues. Bradford attempts a pass down the left side but Ron Brooks is there and nearly comes up with the interception.

3:23 — Daniel helps the offense save some face before exiting the bubble, lofting one to Chris Givens near the right sideline before zipping one down the seam for Pantale, who makes his second pretty catch of the afternoon.

That’s it for today. Minicamp comes to a close with a final practice tomorrow.