Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo by: USA Today Sports.

Photo by: USA Today Sports.

Here’s what we saw at today’s training camp practice at the NovaCare:

8:15 — It finally feels like camp.

After two days stuck in the bubble, the action has moved to the sun-drenched NovaCare fields. Fans are trickling in and set up shop along the sidelines. The players are in pads at last.

Doug Pederson is pacing in front of a group gathered for special teams drills. “Get ready to practice men,” he says, “the bullsh*t is over.”

8:40 — Some hiccups to start. Stefen Wisniewski is in at right guard for the injured Brandon Brooks again, and his side of the line jumps prematurely during installs. Pederson, in sharp contrast to the previous regime, kills the play, sends the offense back to the huddle and makes them start from scratch.

8:46 — Some trickeration out of Pederson: Sam Bradford throws behind the line of scrimmage to Rueben Randle, who chucks it to the opposite side of the field for Jordan Matthews for the completion. Things go south from there. Chris Givens (while going against air) drops a wobbler from Bradford deep down the middle of the field that was right in his hands. Trey Burton follows with a drop of a Chase Daniel pass, then Randle runs the wrong route as Daniel’s throw goes sailing in the opposite direction.

8:57 — Here’s a drill pitting three receivers against four defensive players. Malcolm Jenkins is roaming center field and picks McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Now crowding the line of scrimmage, Jenkins comes up with another interception — this time off the hand of Daniel.

Matthews finds room between Jordan Hicks and Jenkins and leaps for the grab. Randle follows that with a nasty one-handed catch off a Bradford throw down the right side.

9:04 — Paunil is no longer a rookie but he’s young and remains a bit naive to the world, so we still have to guide him along where we can. Today marks the first time he has ever tried water ice, which is baffling. Even though it was available to him in Maryland during the latter years of his childhood, he “just always wanted ice cream instead.” Sigh. He chooses blue raspberry from the Rita’s stand. Mango is probably the right move, but we can’t solve all the world’s problems in a day.

9:08 — 11-on-11 time. Worth noting that Chris Pantale hops in with the first team as they work on the ground game. Sure seems like he could carve out a role for himself. Wendell Smallwood hits the hole but doesn’t finish the run, and Duce Staley is not happy. “Go!” he screams.

9:33 — The first-team defensive line continues to feature Vinny Curry and Connor Barwin on the edge and Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan in the middle. The second team DL today goes: Brandon Graham, Beau Allen, Mike Martin and Marcus Smith.

10:01 — 7-on-7s. Brent Celek has had a couple drops today including here on a toss from Daniel, who then hooks up with Nelson Agholor deep down the left sideline. Carson Wentz then hits Hunter Sharp on a deep out. Those types of passes test a quarterback’s arm strength. With Wentz, the ball still has some zip and weight to it when it reaches its destination, which is a good sign.

Here’s a video of Wentz firing one over the middle:

10:07 — Now that the pads are on, the linemen get to have a little fun. Pass-rushing drills are underway, and Marcus Smith makes quick work of Dennis Kelly with a hand move and burst around the edge. Taylor Hart puts a bullrush on Isaac Seumalo that eats the rookie up. Allen uses an effective power move on Seumalo as well, though he’s whistled for hands to the face. Graham throws Malcolm Bunche to the ground on his way to the backfield. It’s all d-line today.

10:16 — Burton with a pretty sliding catch on a throw from Daniel. He’s been making a standout play or two a day. Wentz launches a bomb that Josh Huff successfully runs down.

10:23 — Nolan Carroll leaves early with soreness in his ankle (the same one that he hurt last season) and Ron Brooks is sidelined with cramping. Eric Rowe is getting some first-team work on the outside as a result and JaCorey Shepherd has moved into the slot. Randle also went in with cramps and Marcus Johnson left with a quad injury.

Bradford is having a pretty good day overall. Here he feathers a pass down the right side that makes its way past Mychal Kendricks and hits Agholor in stride.

10:53 — It’s hot out here. How hot? Well, Shepherd takes off one of his cleats, pulls off his black sock and rings enough sweat out of it to fill a pint glass. Apologies for the visual, but that’s just not natural.

Fortunately for the Eagles, practice is almost over. First, some intense special teams work. Wide receivers coach Greg Lewis is helping to oversee gunner drills, where one player tries to fight through a pair of defenders that are attempting to slow him up/push him out of bounds. Lewis is one of the more entertaining coaches to be around. He’s full of energy and always barking, and the players are really getting after it in this drill at his behest.

Jenkins — acting as the gunner — makes a b-line towards Rowe and with one arm shoves the DB to the ground. “Oh sh*t!” yells Cory Undlin. Rowe is on the attack now and tosses Jaylen Watkins to the turf. In the next sequence, Watkins comes right back at Rowe and returns the favor. The group is buzzing.

“Rowe the champ at this jam,” says Lewis. “But not there.”

11:04 — It might be Wentz’s team eventually, but for now, he’s paying his dues. Here he is carrying Bradford and Daniel’s equipment inside (and stopping for autographs along the way).

That’s it for today. The team practices at the Linc tomorrow at 10.