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Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes | August 14, 2023

A.J. Brown
A.J. Brown

Pre-Practice Injury Report: Wide receivers Britain Covey and Quez Watkins were sidelined with hamstring injuries, while linebacker Patrick Johnson was out with an ankle injury. Wide receiver Deon Cain returned to practice in a limited capacity after missing time with an ankle injury.

1. Things start off fast with 1-on-1 drills setting the tone early. I have my eyes on the Eagles' corners taking on the Cleveland wide receivers on the middle field. It's good-on-good early, as Amari Cooper gets a big catch downfield against James Bradberry before Darius Slay breaks up a slant route intended for Donovan Peoples-Jones. Kelee Ringo was in coverage on a back-shoulder throw to the Browns' Austin Watkins that fell incomplete. Zech McPhearson, getting a rep at outside corner against the Olympic-level sprinter Anthony Schwartz, makes one of his best plays of the summer. Schwartz tried to use his wheels to run by McPhearson, who got back on the receiver's hip, turned to find the ball, and made a leaping PBU deep downfield. That was a beautiful rep from the third-year corner, who has spent most of his time inside in camp but was previously an outside corner for this team. – Fran Duffy

2. While Fran was on the middle field, I was checking out the 1-on-1 drills between the Eagles' wide receivers and the Browns' defensive backs. Here are the highlights:

• Olamide Zaccheaus came up with the first win for the Eagles. He blew past cornerback Mike Ford at the line, streaked to the post, and broke in toward the left sideline for a catch 15 yards down the field.

• A.J. Brown won on a back-shoulder fade against Martin Emerson Jr., catching the ball from Jalen Hurts for a 25-yard gain down the left sideline.

• Tyrie Cleveland beat Lorenzo Burns on a 15-yard post route, hauling in an accurate pass from Marcus Mariota.

• DeVonta Smith beat Denzel Ward on a comeback route. – Chris McPherson

3. In a 7-on-7 session, the defense takes on the Browns' offense. James Bradberry got things going with a PBU on a dig route in the middle of the field on the first play. Nakobe Dean was in the area as well for the in-breaking route. A few plays later, Zach Cunningham got into a passing lane on a Deshaun Watson throw intended for Amari Cooper. The veteran tipped the ball up in the air where it was scooped up by Reed Blankenship, who took it back for a would-be pick-six. The Browns' backups came onto the field after that, and the secondary did a nice job of forcing checkdowns from that point forward, which is a "win" most often for the defense in that drill. – Fran Duffy

4. Dallas Goedert hauled in back-to-back passes from Jalen Hurts during the 7-on-7 period providing the highlights for the Eagles' offense. First, Goedert caught the ball against cornerback Denzel Ward along the right sideline then he followed that up with a win on a comeback route underneath to the left side. How is he able to catch almost everything his way? During the first special teams period, Goedert was on the sideline working with Tight Ends Coach Jason Michael on the fundamentals of catching the ball. – Chris McPherson

5. 11-on-11 action ensues, and while the Browns were able to hit on a couple of explosive shot plays downfield (one of which came off a whacky gadget play), the defense showed well in a 15-play session. Terrell Edmunds recovered a fumble early on, jumping on the loose ball in traffic. He wasn't the only newcomer in the backfield in this period though, as the rookies all made their presence felt as well. Jalen Carter got home for a "sack" of DeShaun Watson on a play-action play where he was able to snake through the middle of the line. On the very next rep, Nolan Smith was in the quarterback's face before the throw on another play-action pass; he appeared unaccounted for off the edge. Later, Sydney Brown came racing off the edge on a blitz for a would-be sack as well on a play that was allowed to continue on. Fletcher Cox couldn't let the new guys have all the fun, as he got home to tag Watson as he stepped up in the pocket later in the drill. – Fran Duffy

6. Running back Kenneth Gainwell didn't play in Saturday's preseason opener, but Head Coach Nick Sirianni noted that No. 14 would get plenty of run this week. Gainwell got touches on the first two plays of the team period for the Eagles' offense, a pass in the flat and a run up the middle. D'Andre Swift dazzled with his 22-yard run on Saturday night in Baltimore showcasing his agility and power on the play. Today, he flashed again on a run during the first team period where he squeezed through a hole behind the left side of the offensive line and when the safety came up to make the stop just cut a corner and sped off for daylight. – Chris McPherson

7. Marcus Mariota connected with Tyrie Cleveland during the one-on-ones and Mariota tossed a gem down the right sideline facing the rush to Cleveland who brought the ball in and got his feet in bounds for a gain of more than 20 yards in the opening team period. The first-team offense came back out to finish the first team period and DeVonta Smith hauled in a pair of gems from Jalen Hurts. First, Smith ran a deep over as Hurts' timing was perfect as No. 6 got past both the corner and the safety for a 40-yard gain. On the last play of the period, Hurts rolled left and threw across his body to Smith, who ran a post then broke it back outside, for a gain of nearly 40 yards again. – Chris McPherson

8. In the second team period of the day with the Eagles' defense taking on the Browns' offense, Jalen Carter made the play early, stuffing a run coming his way as he got reps with the first-team defense in an "odd" front. Carter split a double team and hugged up Nick Chubb at the line of scrimmage. The defensive line proved to be a lot to handle in this period, with Josh Sweat getting home for a third-down sack of Watson a couple of snaps later. Brandon Graham got home fast on the next rep, beating the right tackle inside quickly and making a bee line for Watson just before the quarterback dumped it off. Derek Barnett showed off his explosiveness, disrupting a running play and forcing the running back to bounce his carry far outside his initial path. Nolan Smith and Haason Reddick both came in for unblocked sacks as well as the Browns tried to figure out how to deal with their various looks up front. – Fran Duffy

9. One change to the offensive line at the start of the second team period as left guard Landon Dickerson left practice early with an undisclosed injury. It should be noted that Dickerson rejoined his teammates before the end of practice to watch, but he was replaced by Sua Opeta and later in practice by Josh Sills. Another Marcus Mariota to Tyrie Cleveland connection, yes, during the second team period the quarterback showed good anticipation hitting the wide receiver on a comeback route. Two plays later, Mariota hit D'Andre Swift in the flat to set up a screen that would have gone for a big play. Jalen Hurts' best play during the second team period was a 12-yard gain over the middle to A.J. Brown, who got open on an in-breaking route. – Chris McPherson

10. The final team period brought both teams to the same field as the other units watched from the sideline. Each starting offense had six plays against the other team's starting defense to end the day. Jalen Hurts connected with Dallas Goedert on back-to-back plays to open the session and then Hurts hit A.J. Brown. On the first pass to Goedert, Hurts' accuracy on the move to the right side was impressive. – Chris McPherson

11. The defense takes the field for the final "move the ball" period, and this is a clear victory for the good guys. Reed Blankenship starts off the six-play sequence running the alley to wrap up Nick Chubb in the hole on a perimeter run. Watson hit Donovan Peoples-Jones for a crossing route for the only positive play for the offense in the drill. Jalen Carter pounced on a Chubb fumble in the backfield as the veteran back took an option pitch from Watson on the outside. James Bradberry was all over Amari Cooper on two straight targets, particularly on one down the field along the sideline. There was a scary moment on one of the throws, as Nolan Smith knifed into the backfield inside and was thrown by a Cleveland lineman right into Watson. Derek Barnett closed the day for the defense with a sack on the inside. – Fran Duffy

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