This edition of the Philadelphia Eagles heading into PS Game 3 is lucky, because there are no major TC injuries to report so far.
We’re gonna take on the Miami Dolphins at the Linc on Thursday night, the featured NFLN-TV game of the week, and there will be a whole lot of shakin’ going on.
The Eagles have a walk-through on Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s preseason battle with the Miami Dolphins. Next week, the Eagles start to operate in regular-season mode ahead of the preseason finale against the New York Jets.
Final roster cuts come after the Jets game.
But for now, dig these practice notes from Chris McPherson and Fran Duffy of PE.com:
1. The offense got together with Miami’s defense on the far side of the field for 7-on-7 action, and quarterbackCarson Wentz started off with a beautiful throw to tight end Zach Ertz down the seam for a leaping grab and a touchdown. Later in the period, with the ball located near midfield, Wentz hit wide receiverNelson Agholor over the middle of the field on a throw that forced Agholor to reach out and pull the throw in from the edge of his catch radius. – Fran Duffy
2. Wentz looked sharp in that period, and that continued into the next session, a “two-minute drill” period against the Dolphins. Wentz was surgical in that period, completing passes to Agholor, Ertz, Agholor, and Ertz in consecutive throws. Two plays later, he hit wide receiver Alshon Jeffery on a hitch route before hitting a quick throw to Ertz over the middle. After an incompletion in the red zone, the team finished the drive with a field goal attempt in what was a successful offensive possession. – FD
3. The tight ends were very active in the next session. Tight end Brent Celek caught the first pass of the period. A few plays later, tight end Trey Burton made maybe the catch of the day on a tipped throw at the line of scrimmage. The veteran tight end ran a stick route to the outside and showed the concentration to finish at the catch point for the reception on the run. A few plays later, Burton caught a shallow crossing route from quarterback Matt McGloin for a big gain on the catch-and-run. – FD
4. In the next period, Wendell Smallwood took the first snap on a handoff for a solid gain before taking a short pass and turning it into a huge gain on the next play. You got to see Smallwood’s versatility on the play as well as his speed in the open field. – FD
5. The teams ended practice with a long period that saw a handful of snaps for the first-, second-, and third-team units on both sides. Wide receiver Torrey Smith caught a touchdown down the seam to highlight the action from the starters on offense. Mack Hollins, working with the second unit, nearly pulled in an acrobatic one-handed grab in the end zone over a Miami defender that caused quite the controversy along the sideline (apparently many Dolphins didn’t think he got both feet in bounds to complete the catch). The third-team offense featured a heavy dose of rookie running back Donnel Pumphrey, who caught three passes and took one handoff in the period, showing some wiggle and the ability to make people miss out in space in the process. – FD
6. Some notable names were missing from Tuesday’s practice. Defensive end Brandon Graham has an elbow injury, and linebacker Jordan Hicks has a quad injury. Chris Long took the first-team reps at left defensive end. Derek Barnett saw some time with the first-team unit on the right side late in practice.Najee Goode was the primary first-team linebacker for Hicks in both base and subpackages. Head coach Doug Pederson said that both Graham and Hicks are day to day. – Chris McPherson
7. Here are the highlights from the 7-on-7 drills. In one series, the defense had three straight pass breakups. Two of them were by cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills, and both of those pass attempts should have been picked off. The third was by safety Corey Graham. Safety Terrence Brooks had a nice pass breakup on an attempt to tight end Anthony Fasano on a corner route. Cornerback Mitchell White had one as well on a pass in the back corner of the end zone. Safety Rodney McLeod showcased his range on a pass intended for wide receiver Kenny Stills down the left sideline. He collided with cornerback C.J. Smith on the play, otherwise, he could have had the interception. The best play, though, came from cornerbackJaylen Watkins, who had a nice interception in the end zone on a pass intended for tight end Thomas Duarte down the right sideline. – CM
8. From the team periods, I thought defensive end Steven Means was the best player on the Eagles’ defense. He used a swim move to get in the backfield for a “tackle for loss” on one snap. Later, Means “stopped” running back Damien Williams for a loss on a run play in the backfield. – CM
9. Here are some notes from when Barnett got first-team reps: He lined up for one rep in a two-point stance and didn’t show that he was going to rush the quarterback. Instead, he dropped back into coverage. I, personally, thought he could have disguised it better. On the next play, he “stopped” running back Jay Ajayi for a loss in the backfield. A couple of plays later, Barnett lined up at left defensive tackle and Fletcher Cox settled in at right defensive end. Before the snap, the two switched back to their normal positions. – CM
I don’t know about you, but this is heady stuff.
I cover other teams around the league and their PS3 games are going to be more like Dunkirk, the movie and the historical event. For them it is more about evacuation and survival.
At least the Eagles this year look like they are entering the regular season in full-body armour and attack mode.
And yet the finished product is not yet—well, finished.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman is still looking to tweak the machine. He’s already traded surplus offensive linemen Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin to other teams. There may be more transactions to come prior to the season opener against Washington.
“We know we’re a work in progress,” Howie Roseman said after Tuesday’s joint practice with the Miami Dolphins at the NovaCare Complex. “We’re just trying to get better and to do things that not only will help the team this year but will help the team moving forward.”
The Eagles felt they had good depth along the offensive line with some young, developing players like Isaac Seumalo starting at left guard and tackles Halapoulivaati Vaitai and Dillon Gordon. Both Barbre and Tobin were in the final year of their contracts. Denver and Seattle had needs.
Deals were done as the Eagles, who don’t have picks in the second or third rounds of next year’s draft, stock up on Day 3 options. They now have three fourth-round draft picks – one, from New England, turns into a third-round pick should cornerback Eric Rowe play in 50 percent of the Patriots’ snaps – and two picks in the fifth round.
“You have to be comfortable with some of your other offensive linemen. Both of those guys I traded have played a lot of football for the Philadelphia Eagles, and played winning football,” Roseman said. “They’re not easy trades to make. We had to balance it considering the time they both had on their contracts – both were on one-year deals – and possibly losing some young players not only on the offensive line but at other positions. We were able to get a resource back. That was the thinking that went into those trades.”
The biggest trade of the summer was one that sent Jordan Matthews and the 2018 third-round pick to Buffalo for Ronald Darby. It was a steep price to pay, but the Eagles thought that Darby was a great fit for their defense, and that at age 24 and with two years remaining on his contract, it was worth the price.
I have rarely seen the Eagles this mobile so close to the regular season opener. I am going to have to cut back on the gin uptake. I don’t want to miss a thing. This season could be very special.