Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations
The Eagles were back in pads today after Thursday night’s win, but several players were limited due to injury, and there were a lot of special teams and individual drills, so notes are a bit lighter. Here’s what we saw:
8:15 — First, injury updates. Carson Wentz didn’t participate in team drills because of what Doug Pederson described as sore ribs. He’ll be fine to play in Thursday night’s preseason game against the Steelers, however. Brandon Brooks, Malcolm Jenkins and Wendell Smallwood went back inside early before team drills, but Pederson said that was the plan for guys returning from injury. Jason Peters, meanwhile, did participate in some team drills.
Chris Givens left early with what appeared to be a shoulder injury, but it’s unclear which body part he hurt. There’s also no sign of Josh Huff.
And, of course, the most noteworthy absence: T-Mac. I’ll publish my farewell post when we officially announce his replacement, but he’s a hell of a reporter, and an even better person. I’ll miss working along side him.
8:45 — With Jordan Matthews still out, the Eagles’ first-team receivers are Givens, Nelson Agholor and Paul Turner. When the second-team offense comes on the field, Rueben Randle and David Watford are the two wideouts. I’d be pretty surprised if Turner doesn’t at least make the practice squad at this point, and it’s not out of the question for him to make the 53-man roster.
8:47 — It appears planning for life without Lane Johnson has begun, as he participates in drills with the second-team offense, and not the starters. Instead, Allen Barbre is moved to right tackle, while Isaac Seumalo plays left guard.
“It’s just the combination thing we’re trying this week,” Doug Pederson says after practice. “We’re just trying to see especially [Seumalo] next to [Jason] Kelce, next to [Jason] Peters; the communication there. He’s really putting himself in a position to possibly play at that spot, if not rotate into that spot. So, it was good to see him get some reps not only today, but the next couple of days.”
Pederson also explained why Barbre gets the first crack at right tackle: “He’s played there, number one – more left tackle than right, but he’s been there in the past. I love his athleticism. He’s a smart guy out there. Some of these next couple of days we’ve just got to keep getting him some reps and getting him caught up.”
9:00 — I talk for a few minutes with Barrett Brooks, who knows a thing or two about offensive line play, and I can’t help but pull out a clip of the baffling sack Seumalo gave up on Thursday.
This is the Isaac Seumalo play that baffled me last night. pic.twitter.com/i90kkAAPf6
— Josh Paunil (@JoshPaunil) August 12, 2016
Barrett’s response: “I have no idea why he turned all the way around. That’s not a play.”
9:29 — One fan is screaming at Jason Peters during this 11-on-11 drill near the goal line. YEAH, PETERS! GET IN THERE! WHAT A BLOCK! Peters is playing against the second-team defense, which sometimes means it’s a matchup against Marcus Smith, so his blocking isn’t overly impressive. But when Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly get some work together at left tackle and left guard later on, I can understand why the fan is so enthusiastic.
10:00 — There are a lot of drops today. From Brent Celek over the middle to Cayleb Jones down the left sideline, the quarterbacks aren’t getting much help.
Pederson addressed the drops after practice: “Well, it’s something obviously they got to continue to work on. We set the jugs up after practice and we just keep firing away. We keep firing away. It’s a pride thing. But at the same time at the end of the day they know they have to catch the football in order to play for me and make the football team. So, it’s part of their job, but we just keep working at it every day.”
That’s it for today. The Eagles have their second — and final — open practice at the Linc tomorrow night at 7 for Military Appreciation Day.