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Practice Notes: Jalen Mills Has Been The Best Cornerback This Summer

Posted Aug 6, 2017

Sunday was all about the fans, as Lincoln Financial Field hosted the final Open Practice of this year's Training Camp. For more about the turnout as well as the performance on the field, check out today's Practice Notes.

Play Of The Day

When the team got together for the final 11-on-11 period of the day, quarterback Carson Wentz dropped an absolute dime downfield, hitting tight end Trey Burton down the seam between three defenders with perfect touch and ball placement. Burton came through for his quarterback, diving to reel in the pass that brought well-deserved applause from the thousands of fans in attendance. How many fans exactly? - Fran Duffy

Number Of The Day: 36,000

It was an amazing scene at Lincoln Financial Field at over 36,000 fans attended Kids Day. In all, nearly 60,000 fans came to the two Open Practices. Cornerback Jalen Mills sums it up perfectly. - Chris McPherson


Practice Observations

1. As the players took the field for practice, several Eagles made it a point to go and interact with as many of the fans who attended Sunday’s Open Practice. Wide receiver Torrey Smith and cornerback Ron Brooks both took it upon themselves to have a catch with kids in the seats for several minutes as they made their way to the team stretch. - FD

2. The action got going quickly, as the team went to one-on-one drills with the receivers and defensive backs. Here were the standouts for me:

A. Nelson Agholor lined up against Patrick Robinson on the first play and beat him on a quick hitch route. Agholor caught the pass and raced for the end zone on what seemed like a pretty ordinary play, but the former first-round pick was met with thunderous applause from the fans in attendance, who have clearly gotten behind him. On his next route, Agholor lined up in the slot and ran an exceptional route to create separation against Aaron Grymes, but the pass was overthrown and incomplete. Agholor closed the drill with a pair of drops, one downfield on his way to the ground and another in traffic as he fell to the turf on the sideline, but another strong performance from the former USC standout earned praise from the fans all morning long.

B. Agholor’s successes this summer have been well-documented, but I believe Jalen Mills’ play has been a bit undersold. I believe he’s been the best corner in attendance this summer. Mills plays with confidence and swagger, fans know that, but his route-recognition skills allow him to match receivers in man coverage and break on throws early in zone. The former LSU star showed off his ball skills in this drill, making what may have been the play of the day in any other practice, running step for step with Torrey Smith down the near sideline, staying hip-to-hip with the speedster while keeping his eyes on the ball. Mills climbed the ladder, attacking the football at its highest point, and came down with an outstanding interception right at the goal line in front of Smith.

Later, Mills made a great pass breakup on an in-breaking route where he read the play and broke on the football, playing through the upfield shoulder of the receiver to get the ball on the ground. On the final play of the drill, the previously mentioned miss to Agholor, Mills read the route perfectly and dove to try and disrupt the pass, creating just enough interference for Agholor to lose the ball on his way to the ground. That play was all on Mills, who posted multiple pass breakups in team drills as well later in practice.

C. Fellow second-year cornerback C.J. Smith flashed in this drill as well, making a really nice pass breakup on a comeback route by David Watford, displaying some route-recognition skills of his own.

D. Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Jenkins continued their back-and-forth battle in the slot that has been waged throughout the summer. Jenkins got a pass breakup on the first play, while Matthews bounced back with a catch for a touchdown on a corner route, which came on the back end of a beautiful throw by Carson Wentz. Matthews also caught a corner route against Mitchell White on his one play lined up outside.

E. Mack Hollins raced by fellow rookie Rasul Douglas for a touchdown on a straight go route. If you haven’t seen him in person before, it may be a bit shocking to you when you see Hollins, at 6-4 and over 220 pounds, hit his stride in the open field. There’s a reason why he was one of the top vertical threats in college football the last two seasons. Hollins ran a swift dig route against Robinson for a completion just a couple of minutes later.

F. Speaking of rookie wideouts, I thought Shelton Gibson had his best day as an Eagle, going up and making a contested catch over a defender on the left side before winning on a comeback route in the same spot on the field, drawing rave applause from the fans on both occasions. Gibson has admittedly struggled thus far but has slowly improved, which is a good sign as the rookie makes the tough transition from his college offense at West Virginia to a much different beast of an NFL playbook.

G. Bryce Treggs has quietly had a strong summer, and that continued on Sunday. The former undrafted free agent out of Cal caught a quick slant against Brooks early on, boasting a nifty release at the line of scrimmage. Treggs ran a great double move against Terrence Brooks in the slot for a touchdown later, and raced into the end zone, riling up the crowd and playing to the fans in the process. The second-year receiver caught a quick slant against Ron Brooks to finish his reps in the drill. - FD

3. The team got together for a full-squad 11-on-11 drill, and that’s when Wentz started to get hot. After an incompletion on the first play, Wentz finished the drill 5-of-5, including a play where he read blitz early and made a quick throw to Zach Ertz, who was the target of his final pass of the period down the seam, a perfectly placed ball that hit his tight end square in the numbers. Ertz was slow to get up after the play but returned to practice. Elsewhere, Nigel Bradham made a great read on a screen pass and was in perfect position to stop Wendell Smallwood in the backfield. LeGarrette Blount took one carry where he was left one-on-one with Terrence Brooks. The offensive line blocked the play up perfectly, helping escort Blount to the second level as cheers rained down from the stands for the veteran running back. Brent Celek caught a pass from Matt McGloin on an over route toward the end of the period as well. - FD

4. In 7-on-7 action, we saw a lot of players come in and make great plays in front of the crowd at the Linc, but I was extremely impressed with the quarterback. On the first play, Wentz threw a dart to Ertz down the right sideline as the tight end spun in the air and came down with the football over a defender. Wentz put it right on Ertz’s back shoulder, as the two continue to prove that their chemistry is as good as any on the team. Wentz continued with two of his next three completions going to Jordan Matthews over the middle of the field, with the other being a long bomb to Torrey Smith on a post route. The throw was a bit behind Smith downfield, but you got to see the speedy veteran’s ball skills in action as he peeked at the ball through his eyelids, looking it in over his shoulder as he tracked it like a star centerfielder for the big play. - FD

5. Douglas got a pass breakup on Smith in the flat before completely erasing a receiver on a double move a few plays later, forcing Wentz to check the ball down to Ertz. I thought it was one of Douglas’ best days of the summer. He reeled in another interception in the team’s final team drill of the afternoon, a play where he lined up in zone coverage and pulled the pass out of the year intended for Hollins. - FD

Injury Update

Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder), linebacker Mychal Kendricks (quad), and running back Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring) returned to action on Sunday.


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