Observations on Eagles Training Camp 2022 Day 2: Defense wins

Observations on Eagles Training Camp 2022 Day 2: Defense wins

The Eagles were back on the practice field Friday morning for their second practice at training camp.

It was an overcast day and it felt nice and cool in the shade. No doubt when the pads come on next week it will be 100 degrees.

After the first training session of the training camp lasted only 58 minutes, this one was a bit longer. The full practice session lasted 1:15, but the last 5 minutes were for a developmental period of younger players struggling to stay in the NFL.

To the observations:

1. As always, we’ll start with a few household items. Three players remain with PUP: Tyree Jackson, Brett Toth and Richard Rodgers. So you don’t practice.

The only other two players not to practice on Friday were receivers Zach Pascal (illness) and Keric Wheatfall (COVID progression). Pascal tweeted on Thursday about food poisoning, which can take a toll on anyone. The good news is that Pascal could at least be on the pitch as a spectator on Friday:

Jason Kelce (COVID progression) and Fletcher Cox (COVID progression) were limited participants in training and did not participate in team exercises. After Wednesday’s practice, Cox said he was feeling better. After Friday’s practice, Kelce said the same thing.

2. The offensive looked very crisp on day 1 of the training camp and prevailed against the defensive. On Friday, the roles were reversed.

Jalen Hurts wasn’t having a good day. He wasn’t alone. The entire offensive was not great, apart from a few bright moments.

“It wasn’t looking good,” said Kelce, who was a bystander when he came back from COVID. “I’d have to go back and take a closer look at it on tape. I think the defense probably feels like we beat them on day one. I think they came here today with a lot of energy and effort. And that’s what you want to see. They want to see the sides of the ball compete.”

Happens. Nothing to worry about unduly. Now, if the offense looks bad for a week, then it’s a problem. But there will be some ups and downs at camp.

As much as it can be said that the Eagles’ offense struggled on Friday — and it did — so does Jonathan Gannon’s defense. They did plays.

3. One of the biggest bright spots of the day for the offense came when Hurts rolled to the right and hit AJ Brown about 25 yards down during an 11-on-11 period with a beautifully placed ball. Looks like these two best friends are getting onto the same page early on.

4. The best defensive play of the day came during the 11-on-11s when Avonte Maddox bounced off a submissive pass from Hurts who tried for Dallas Goedert. The throw wasn’t great, but don’t take anything away from the defensive game.

“I know he’s only 5-9, but he jumped like he was 6-5,” Goedert said of his good friend Maddox. “He got up there. It was a great game from him. He sort of baited the quarterback, took a few steps upstairs. I think he guessed I was going to take a corner and he just made a good play with the ball.

Another nice play from a DB came from James Bradberry, who aborted a pass intended for Jalen Reagor.

5. A few offensive notes on the depth map:

• Isaac Seumalo is clearly the Eagles’ right guard. For the first two days he has taken over the first reps on the right side and then Sua Opeta rotates in. If this were a competition I would imagine Jack Driscoll getting those chances. Driscoll is the second team working on proper tackle.

• Miles Sanders worked exclusively with the second team on Friday, while Boston Scott and Kenny Gainwell shared replays with the starters. Don’t make too much of it just yet, but it’s something to monitor.

6. Defensive Depth Map Notes:

• The Eagles are still mixing odd and even fronts. Without Cox, the Eagles’ 3-4 look had sophomore DT Marlon Tuipulotu on the nose surrounded by Milton Williams and Javon Hargrave as ends, while Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat were the best fullbacks. Both were also featured as standup rushers in a 4-3 alignment.

• Friday’s top two linebackers were TJ Edwards and Kyzir White. White made his first big game in training camp when he exploded into the backfield to get a “sack” against Hurts. Davion Taylor has mixed with the first team while Nakobe Dean has worked with the second team.

• Anthony Harris returned to team practice on Friday and provided starting security alongside Marcus Epps. However, Harris did not take over all first-team representatives and rotated with K’ from Wallace. Jaquiski Tartt and Andre Chachere were the second-team safes. Chachere jumped a Gardner Minshew pass which he attempted for Noah Togiai for his first pick of the summer.

7. Keep an eye on cornerback Mac McCain III. The Eagles know their best cornerbacks are Darius Slay, Bradberry and Avonte Maddox, but they have nine young cornerers just fighting for a few spots. Zech McPhearson is the next guy and he worked with the second team. But I was a little surprised to see McCain join him as the second-team’s other outside cornerback. (Josiah Scott is the second-team nickel).

McCain made a few plays early in this camp. McCain had a PBU on Friday that led to an interception from Davion Taylor and he had another tough one on Quez Watkins later in practice. McCain has a chance of getting a job.

8th. Speaking of Taylor, he’s off to a solid start. Taylor had three notable plays on Friday. One was the INT before Minshew after the McCain distraction. He had another game where he hit Boston Scott at the perfect time to clear the ball for a PBU. And an understatement came as he chased hurts at a perfect angle after the quarterback freed himself from the pocket. Taylor was a forgotten guy on that defense, but he could deserve a role and some playing time.

9. Reid Sinnett and Carson Strong split the third-team reps at QB, which was frustrating for me because I want to see Strong. I finally got a chance to see him blow out a pass during the 7v7 development phase after main practice ended. He didn’t hit Britain Covey on the left touchline but it was a bomb. No doubt about his arm strength.

10 On Friday there were some special guests at the training camp. Several University of Maryland staff trainers were on hand. That included Gunter Brewer, who served as the Eagles’ receiver coach during the 2018 season. He was between Mike Groh and Carson Walch.

Another guest was longtime NFL defensive coach and former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Fangio, 63, was the Broncos head coach from 2019-21 and currently has no job. A Dunmore, Pennsylvania native, he was a DC for the Panthers, Colts, Texans, 49ers and Bears.

Stupid observation of the day: If you saw those goofy looking devices on helmets during training camp, they’re called Guardian Caps. The NFL made them mandatory for all linemen, linebackers, and tight ends during training camp.

Kelce had some fun with it on Friday, wearing bubble wrap over his Guardian cap throughout 1:15 practice. He joked that it might give him another 2 or 3% protection.

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