I echo Beans of Australia’s sigh of relief that nothing too dramatic came out of yesterday’s joint practice between the Eagles and the Miami Dolphins— except that our former and somewhat goofy well-paid cornerback Byron Maxwell got torched in several friendly drills against his former team.
Perhaps the best news of all is that our 1st-round pick rookie DE Derek Barnett was back on the field after a mysterious absence on Sunday due to an undisclosed “lower body” injury. Turns out it was just a bruised thigh—which when you’re that young as a highly conditioned athlete simply means you took a day off for hot tub therapy. Wouldn’t it be nice if all my senior aches and pains could be handled so conveniently?
The most newsworthy move of the day happened behind the desk of GM Howie Roseman. Our jack-of-all-trades offensive lineman Matt Tobin got dealt to the Seahawks along with a 7th-round pick in 2018 for a 5th-round pick in 2018.
This was the move I thought the Ravens were sniffing over the weekend. But Seattle has an equally bad offensive line crisis right now comparable to the Ravens. My guess is the Ravens did not want to give up a draft pick to acquire Tobin or Wiz or Warmack—they wanted a straight-up trade of personnel. The trademark of Ozzie Newsome is he covets those 5th-round picks, so he backed out of the deal for Tobin, who incidentally is the kind of guy the Ravens could really use right now. Their O-Line is a patchwork mess right now.
That said, Seattle fills a void on their offensive line with the acquisition of Tobin. And for the first time since the Andy Reid era, the Eagles had a surplus of experienced offensive linemen with which to deal.
Tobin was signed by the Eagles as an undrafted free agent back in 2013. Last season, the Iowa native played in 12 games making one start as an extra offensive lineman in the Week 3 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2014, Tobin started 13 games at right guard and played a total of 85 percent of the team’s snaps on offense.
The 6-6 290 pound offensive lineman started his collegiate career as a walk-on at Iowa before making the jump to the NFL in 2013 playing in one game as a rookie. Tobin enters his fifth season in the NFL and will play alongside Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson. The Eagles will face the Seahawks in Week 13 this season.
The joint Eagles-Dolphins practice went on without Tobin.
Chris McPherson and Fran Duffy of PE.com provided these practice notes for all to enjoy…I particularly like the drills where Byron Maxwell gets beat on deep passing routes:
“In the 7-on-7 red zone drill, quarterback Carson Wentz connected with wide receiver Torrey Smith for a touchdown. Smith didn’t have a ton of targets on the day, but he caught everything that came his way. Quarterback Nick Foles threw a nice touchdown pass to tight end Trey Burton. Darren Sproles, Burton, and rookie Mack Hollins all made plays underneath and in the middle of the field during this drill. The Eagles turned it on in the final few reps as Foles connected with Ertz for a touchdown off a slant, followed by Marcus Johnson drawing a pass interference flag, and back-to-back touchdown grabs by wide receiverShelton Gibson and tight end Anthony Denham. – CM”
“In the next team period, Nelson Agholor made a beautiful catch along the sideline despite tight coverage. When the offense reset at its own 20-yard line, Wentz went down the left sideline for an over-the-shoulder attempt to Agholor. Xavien Howard broke up the pass and nearly picked it off before going out of bounds. I personally thought Howard gave the Eagles’ receiver the most problems. Marcus Johnson ran a nice double move to get open down the middle of the field, but Foles’ pass was a little underthrown and safety Michael Thomas collided with the receiver. No flags were thrown by the refs, but more importantly, Johnson was OK. – CM”
” The play of the day for the Eagles’ offense came with the ball at the Dolphins’ 30-yard line in a high red zone drill. Smith burned Byron Maxwell down the right sideline on a go route and Wentz perfectly placed the ball for the score. Later in the series, Alshon Jeffery did a double move to get past Maxwell for another touchdown. – CM”
“Two other players who I want to praise: Ertz and Wendell Smallwood. Ertz had a number of red zone targets, and the team’s versatility at tight end should bode well for the offense inside the 20-yard line especially now that LeGarrette Blount has been added in the backfield. Smallwood, meanwhile, received a ton of praise from offensive coordinator Frank Reich after practice. Reich noted how the Eagles didn’t think he could be a three-down back in the 2016 draft. They weren’t sure he could be on the field in passing situations. Smallwood has proved them wrong this offseason. He caught the ball well and looked fluid in his cuts after missing the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury. He has been impressive when on the field. – CM”
“The first team period of the day was focused on the run game, and as I focused on the Eagles’ defense against Miami’s offense, the defensive line really stood out. Vinny Curry started things off with a tackle behind the line of scrimmage on the first play. On the next run, it would again be Curry alongsideTim Jernigan and Malcolm Jenkins disrupting the play in the backfield and forcing a cutback from the ball carrier. A couple of plays later, Jernigan stopped Miami’s Damien Williams in the backfield. Jernigan was the player who stood out most in the first practice period. – Fran Duffy”
“Next, the team split into 7-on-7 and one-on-ones. I focused my attention on the one-on-one battles between the offensive and defensive lines. In my line of sight, the Eagles’ offensive line faced off against Miami’s formidable defensive front. Lane Johnson withstood a strong bull rush from Cameron Wake, re-anchoring and controlling the rep at the end. Brandon Brooks competed well against All-Pro tackle Ndamukong Suh, flashing a strong punch against Suh’s inside move. Nose tackle Jordan Phillips pushed Jason Kelce back in the pocket. Isaac Seumalo had a really good first rep against rookie Davon Godchaux, who chopped Seumalo’s hands down at the snap only to have Seumalo replace his hands instantly and shuffle his feet to stay in perfect position to protect the quarterback against his long-arm move. – FD”
“Next up, the Miami offense got the ball from its own 10-yard line. Fletcher Cox dominated this snap, completely changing the line of scrimmage and forcing the running back to bust it outside. The next play was more of the same, as Cox bench-pressed his man into the backfield and bounced the running back outside into the waiting arms of Derek Barnett. Two passes later, Cox flew into the backfield for a sack, tagging the quarterback on both shoulders. Chris Long got a tackle for loss on a toss to the right. The first team came back on the field and Jernigan flashed with his get-off and pad level, disrupting a play right at the snap. Cox exploded into the backfield for a second sack in the backfield. The defensive line was dominant in this period. – FD”
“On the first play of the next period, Barnett (in for a banged-up Brandon Graham) set a strong edge against the Miami right tackle, Ja’Wuan James, allowing Jernigan to fly past Laremy Tunsil for a tackle in the backfield. The teams moved into the red zone shortly afterward, and the secondary had their turn in the still non-eclipsed sun. Multiple pass attempts were forced to the second, third, and even fourth progression as the quarterbacks had to hold onto the ball thanks to tight coverage in the end zone. Quarterback Jay Cutler made some really tight throws when he needed to, but the Eagles’ secondary really stood out to me close to the goal line. Corey Graham ended the red zone session with a pick right at the goal line, jumping an in-breaking route short of the touchdown. – FD”
“With practice winding down, cornerback Ronald Darby got the Eagles’ sideline riled up with an interception of Cutler. – FD”
I know, it’s early and we’re still in late August— but you gotta like the energy we’re seeing from this group heading into PS Game 3.