Okay, this is progress, everyone in camp passed their physicals and conditioning tests, Carson Wentz has bulked up to a solid 250 lbs. and Andre Dillard reported at a solid 330 (up from 310 last season). And HC Doug Pederson is back after completing his covid-19 protocol.
The first day in pads looked like a normal 10-10-10 practice (cycles of 10 plays offense, 10 plays defense, and 10 minutes special teams for about 90 minutes).
But behind the scenery of the practice field, there was some grim reality. Two key members of the defensive line are out for more than a few days. Tackle Javon Hargrave is likely to miss “multiple weeks” with an upper body injury (pec) and that’s a blow to a tackle rotation that welcomed Malik Jackson back to practice on Monday after he missed all but the opening game of 2019 with a foot injury. Defensive end Derek Barnett is “week to week” with a lower body injury. He has missed 12 games total in the last two seasons with injury. Right guard Jason Peters watched practice in a jersey, but no pads. He is day to day with a lower body injury. Wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside also watched practice wearing a jersey with no pads and is day to day with a lower body injury and linebacker Duke Riley missed practice with an “illness”.
All of this injury and illness stuff on what is effectively the first day of real football practice? Yes, unfortunately, and a reality check for just how close the projected Game 1 of the regular season really is— a mere few weeks away.
Fran Duffy’s quick hits (PE.com):
“1. The first team period of the summer got up and running with a handoff to Miles Sanders, who had a couple of nice runs in the period. Later in the drill, Sanders would make a cut on the backside, and leak out on a long run up the right sideline. Head Coach Doug Pederson has talked about how it’s Sanders’ backfield, and that carried through to the practice field on Monday morning, although Boston Scott had some nice runs of his own as well. Sanders would score a pair of touchdowns later in the day down in the red zone as well, one rushing and one receiving.
“2. The first completion came on the very next play with Carson Wentz hitting Dallas Goedert down the seam on a quick play-pass. Rookie Shaun Bradley was in the vicinity and delivered a nice stick, sending Goedert to the ground, but the veteran tight end was able to hold on to the throw (quick note – Bradley would show up on a blitz where he flew through the hole and got home for what would have been a likely sack of Carson Wentz. On the next play, Wentz lined up under center and dropped back on a long play-action fake and hit Jalen Reagor over the middle on a dig route. Perfect throw right in stride. It was our first real look at the connection between these two, and with DeSean Jackson lifting the top off the defense Reagor was able to make the catch with no safety lurking. Wentz would hit Reagor on a post route later in the drill as well for what appeared to be a 15-to-20-yard gain.
“3. During the first defensive team session, Vinny Curry blew through rookie Prince Tega Wanogho for a sack of Nate Sudfeld. Curry bench-pressed the rookie on contact and was able to win quickly off the edge.
“4. Jalen Mills knifed into the backfield and made a stop right at the line of scrimmage early on, wrapping up Elijah Holyfield. Mills jumped around after the stop and got his teammates excited, showing that he’s bringing the same level of swagger to the safety spot that he brought to corner. A couple of plays later, Mills was in on an incompletion to Josh Perkins in the back of the end zone.
“5. The next session for the offense gets started, and this one belonged to the defensive backups. First, Miles Sanders was “tackled” at the line of scrimmage on the opening play. Wentz threw a pass in between both Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert that was nearly picked off, then threw another incompletion on a pin-point accurate pass to rookie Quez Watkins. Wentz had gone through his progressions and worked to the right side, where Watkins was running a dig route, and he hit Watkins right on the hands … it just squirted through and hit the ground. The offense got into a rhythm with a couple of quick throws to Goedert underneath and a long run by Boston Scott down the right sideline.
“6. In the next offensive session, rookie Quez Watkins stood out with a couple of touchdown passes in the red zone from Wentz. Watkins has long arms and definitely has some pep in his step with the ability to work downfield. He looks like a really springy athlete.
“7. The play of the day may have come in this session thanks to a one-handed grab from Dallas Goedert in the back of the end zone. Wentz lofted the ball in the air for the tight end who went up with his right hand and reeled in the throw, getting his knee down just before hitting the white paint in the back of the end zone.”