It won’t be much longer until we can declare this season a “go”. But without a preseason game or even a joint practice with another team, the Eagles are in the position of having to beat each other up to get any kind of real football preparation or evaluation.
They enter the final week of August with at least one tough scrimmage under their belts. They hosted a “live tackling” scrimmage on Friday at their facility. After four consecutive practices — three of which were in pads — the Eagles finally competed in a game-like environment to end the week of work.
Mike Kaye of NJ.com posted these observations from the scrimmage:
“The Eagles were without a pair of notable names on offense on Friday: tight end Zach Ertz (upper body) and first-round wide receiver Jalen Reagor (illness). Ertz was still seen at practice, but Reagor was held inside the facility. Wide receiver Deontay Burnett, defensive end Shareef Miller and cornerback Rasul Douglas were also held out with illnesses. Safety Marcus Epps (lower body) was sidelined due to injury, and both he and Ertz are listed as “day-to-day” by the team.”
To clarify the multiple illnesses, the Eagles have been extra cautious with players who have shown symptoms of illness during training camp. Those players could have a cold or a stomach issue, and the Eagles don’t want to risk the potential spread of coronavirus, so they are holding those players out.
“Defensive end Derek Barnett (ankle sprain) and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (pec strain) missed their fifth consecutive session on Friday. Cornerback Sidney Jones (lower body), tight end Dallas Goedert (upper body) and running backs Miles Sanders (lower body) and Boston Scott (lower body) were held out a third consecutive session as well. However, all six players were seen in their jerseys on the practice field.”
“With Barnett and Hargrave sidelined, Vinny Curry and Malik Jackson lined up with the first-team defensive line. Corey Clement was the first-team running back with Sanders and Scott out of action. With Ertz and Reagor sidelined, Josh Perkins and Noah Togiai took first-team reps at tight end and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Rob Davis took wide receiver snaps with the starters.”
Malik Jackson and defensive line dominate live scrimmage:
“The defensive line was in total control throughout the practice session. NJ Advance Media counted 10 unofficial sacks during 11-on-11 drills. Quarterbacks Carson Wentz, Nate Sudfeld and Jalen Hurts all felt the pressure as the defensive line owned the blockers in front of them.”
“The Eagles’ defensive line produced six sacks during the final nine plays of practice. The offense ran a two-minute drill, and other than a near-interception by defensive end Genard Avery and two dump-offs to running backs, the Eagles quarterbacks would have taken a beating in an actual game.”
“Second-team left tackle Jordan Mailata had one of the worst days of practice I can remember, especially in a team setting. He got worked by Ostman and Toohill regularly for sacks. Mailata is having a rough training camp on the field this week. With draft picks Prince Tega Wanogho and Jack Driscoll looking good, and Matt Pryor and Nate Herbig likely to make the roster, it’s hard to see Mailata sticking around for a third season, barring a massive turnaround or a plague of injuries.”
Well, you get the drift— the defense is way ahead of the offense at this point. Of course, knowing the offense’s playbook helps.
More notes from Mike Kaye:
“Wentz was up-and-down in his Friday’s output. NJ Advance Media had Wentz’s completion ratio at 12-of-17 in 11-on-11 drills. He started off 9-of-10 with an impressive second series that saw him complete all seven of his passing attempts. On that drive, Wentz connected with Arcega-Whiteside on three completions and capped the series with a well-placed fade-ball throw to Togiai in the end zone for a touchdown.”
“However, after that impressive touchdown-scoring series, the pressure from the pass rush started to disrupt the quarterback. He went 3-of-7 for the remainder of the day, and all three completions were on short-area connections. That said, he did complete a red-zone touchdown pass to Arcega-Whiteside.”
“The rookie class had a mixed day. While Toohill, Driscoll, running back Adrian Killins and wide receiver John Hightower had their moments, there were some rough spots as well. Toohill was called offsides at least once, Killins muffed a punt with no one around him and Quez Watkins dropped two wide-open passes.”
Jason Peters update—
“Right guard Jason Peters lasted just three plays in the live scrimmage before being forced to the sideline. He was replaced by Matt Pryor for the rest of the series and seemed frustrated about it. He then returned to the line for the majority of practice. There is some outside concern about the legendary lineman’s transition to a new position and his overall durability.”