There were several new faces on the practice field Saturday after the Eagles signed five players – linebacker Quinton Bell, defensive tackle Robert Cooper, linebacker Tyreek Maddox-Williams, defensive tackle Caleb Sanders, and defensive tackle Marvin Wilson.
They were thrust into action as 10 players missed practice due to injury – wide receiver Britain Covey (hamstring), defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (knee soreness), cornerback Mekhi Garner (ankle), linebacker Kyron Johnson (appendectomy), defensive tackle Moro Ojomo (concussion), linebacker Haason Reddick (thumb), running back Trey Sermon (ankle), wide receiver Greg Ward (ankle), and wide receiver Quez Watkins (hamstring).
With many players missing practice with injuries, the first- and second-team units saw a lot of player movement. On offense, Olamide Zaccheaus got an extended run with the first team. The second-team offensive line rotated as well as Brett Toth and Cameron Tom earned more snaps.
On defense, safety Justin Evans played the majority of the first-team reps alongside Reed Blankenship. Evans, in his first year with the team, has mostly lined up with the second unit. Sydney Brown also got time with the first-team defense. After starting camp with the third-team unit, Brown is working his way up the depth chart. Another player who has seen his playing time increase has been Jalen Carter. He and Milton Williams rotated on the first-team defensive line with Cox not practicing.
1. On the second play of the first team period, we saw an unconventional interception. Jalen Hurts had DeVonta Smith running a crossing route to the left sideline. Darius Slay made a textbook read by getting his fingertips to the pass. However, the play did not end with an incompletion, instead with an interception. After Slay deflected the pass, it hit off Smith's helmet and popped up into the arms of Slay. The cornerback showed tremendous awareness to keep his feet in bounds to seal the big play. The pick was no fault of Hurts or Smith, just an unlucky bounce for the offense and a heads-up play on defense.
2. The offense bounced back after the interception with a hard-nosed run. Kenneth Gainwell got the handoff and ran to the right. A big hole opened for the third-year back thanks to solid offensive line play. Cam Jurgens showed his strength by taking Jalen Carter to the ground. Jordan Mailata cut to the right and put a trap block on Nakobe Dean. Jason Kelce did what he has done thousands of times before – getting to the second level. Kelce beat his first man and then blocked Zach Cunningham. Kelce's performance on the play drew praise from Nick Sirianni. This was one of the biggest offensive line plays of the day, on a morning where the unit stood out.
3. The first team included two big plays from the Hurts-led and the Marcus Mariota-led offenses. After a false start, Hurts connected with Dallas Goedert over the middle at the 35-yard line. The passing lane opened when two pass catchers ran crossing routes, pulling the defenders away from Goedert. On the second play for the second-team offense, Mariota found wide receiver Devon Allen for a streaking touchdown. Allen ran a corner route out of the slot, blazed past two defenders, and caught Mariota's best pass of the day. The defense also got in on the action during the first team period. Josh Sweat registered a sack off the right side of the defensive line and Dean broke up a wide receiver screen, intended for A.J. Brown, with a heads-up "tackle."
4. Following the first team period, the Eagles hold a 7-on-7 period featuring the first- and second-team units. Here are some of the highlights: D'Andre Swift made a nice cut inside the linebacker to catch a short pass underneath from Jalen Hurts ... A.J. Brown turned around Darius Slay on a short in-breaking route to get open for the completion from Hurts. ... DeVonta Smith ran a slant over the middle and did a great job getting the ball in traffic ... Sydney Brown was in good position to quickly "stop" A.J. Brown after a short pass over the middle ... The best play of the period was Dallas Goedert using tremendous leverage to get open on a seam route for a 20-yard touchdown ... Hurts wanted Goedert again on the next play, but Reed Blankenship was having none of it, shadowing the tight end across the goal line and breaking up the pass ... James Bradberry undercut a crossing route, intercepting a pass intended for Devon Allen ... Josh Sweat reading the slant by Grant Calcaterra and coming up with the pass breakup ... The period ended with a dart from Marcus Mariota over the middle to Jadon Haselwood, right on the money.
5. While the 7-on-7 drills take place, the offensive linemen and defensive linemen head over to the middle field to work on 2-on-2 and 1-on-1 situations.
The first half of the reps mix matchups ranging from offensive guard and tackle going against a defensive tackle and an edge rusher to two guards facing two defensive tackles or a center-guard duo facing two defensive tackles. This allows the defensive linemen to practice their timing on games and stunts which provides the opportunity for the offensive linemen to work on handling the different looks.
Some highlights include: Jordan Mailata and Sua Opeta perfectly handled a twist from Josh Sweat and Jordan Davis ... Center Josh Andrews worked on one rep switching off from battling Kentavius Street to Marlon Tuipulotu ... Derek Barnett timed his loop perfectly to get inside of Julian Good-Jones ... Tarron Jackson had a pair of wins, first getting outside of Jack Driscoll to force the "QB" off the spot then crossing the face of Tyrese Robinson to get inside ... Jalen Carter had a pair of good battles with Cam Jurgens, displaying power and leverage against the guard ... Milton Williams featured consecutive wins showing his quickness off the snap and strength ... Jordan Mailata locked up Janarius Robinson in a 1-on-1 battle on the edge ... Dennis Kelly absorbed the initial shock from Tarron Jackson, riding the defensive end up field ... Tyler Steen ended the session withstanding the bull rush from Marvin Wilson, who rejoined the team Saturday morning.
6. The second team period featured the offense working on backed-up situations. Boston Scott opened with a well-blocked run up the middle ... Defensive tackle Jalen Carter shed the block from Dallas Goedert to get into position to stop a perimeter run by D'Andre Swift ... On the next play, Goedert ran a shallow cross underneath and Hurts delivered the ball where the tight end could garner plenty of yards after the catch ... Avonte Maddox spoiled a tight end screen to Goedert, getting to his good friend before the play could develop ... Patrick Johnson made a nice move inside and was in position to stop Swift on a perimeter run ... Quinton Bell, just signed Saturday morning, learned to deal with the fake handoffs as Marcus Mariota kept the ball and escaped to the right for a gain ... Cameron Tom and Brett Toth made nice blocks to spring Rashaad Penny for a run up the middle on the final play of the day.
7. The final period was the shortest of the team periods and only included the first-team offense. Sirianni implemented a late-game scenario. The score was 17-13 in favor of the offense, who had the ball on its 35-yard line, with 3:25 left in the fourth quarter.
The first three plays were rushing attempts, with the third one being the only positive gain. On fourth-and-3, an offside call gave the offense a fresh set of downs. Then, Kenneth Gainwell took over. On first down, the offense gave the impression that they were running to the left. Instead, Hurts pitched it to his running back on the right side for a gain of 5 yards. On second down, Gainwell broke free for a massive gain. Landon Dickerson pulled to the right for a block and Stoll got to the second level, allowing Gainwell to find an opening on the right side. This play capped off an impressive day from Jeff Stoutland's offensive line group. In a game, Gainwell would have likely scored. The final play for the offense was another positive gain for Gainwell. Hurts rolled out to his right and found Gainwell on the sideline for a first down.
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