MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Prepare for the unexpected. The Eagles and the Dolphins were scheduled to host the second of two joint practices ahead of their preseason finale on Saturday night, but a non-COVID illness forced the Dolphins to host virtual meetings on Thursday. Head Coach Nick Sirianni did not let the change in schedule deter his team from getting some quality work in. Here are six takeaways from the final Training Camp practice.
1. Despite not going up against the Dolphins this morning, the Eagles are in full pads under the hot Florida sun. As the team gets ready for their pre-practice stretching, Brandon Graham is helping to bring the juice in the middle of the field. Other players are making their way out and getting their bodies warmed up. Lane Johnson is stretching on his own in the end zone. John Hightower is having a catch with coaching assistant and former NFL receiver Dontrelle Inman. Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen is chatting up his backup quarterbacks, who won't see a ton of work today with Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew slated to get the lion's share of the reps. After stretching, Head Coach Nick Sirianni brings the team to midfield for a quick pep talk before practice begins. – Fran Duffy
2. For individual drills, I wanted to spend my time over with the tight ends. Coach Jason Michael is running a fast, crisp workout here for a handful of minutes, and you can tell his players know what to expect. The group of five run a handful of "sit" routes from both the left and right sides before they pick up some pads to work on blocking drills. Michael screams out playcalls, signifying what kind of blocking technique the tight ends will use on the next rep, and after a "ready, go," they're exploding into the guy across from them. This is a good group from top to bottom. – Fran
3. The Eagles' focus on Thursday was going to be on red zone plays whether it was with the Dolphins or not. Good news in 7-on-7 drills is that Darius Slay was back after exiting practice early on Wednesday. The theme for this period is if you don't succeed, try, try again. On the first play, quarterback Jalen Hurts goes over the middle with a ball intended for tight end Dallas Goedert, but safety Anthony Harris denies the completion. On the next play, Hurts hit Goedert on an out route near the goal line to the right side. Slay makes his presence felt with a pass breakup on a ball intended for DeVonta Smith. Hurts goes back to Smith along the left side for the touchdown. Minshew completes one of his two attempts, hitting running back Kenneth Gainwell out of the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Overall, great to see such a back-and-forth performance between the first teams. – Chris McPherson
4. 11-on-11 action begins in the red zone. Good news for the secondary, cornerback James Bradberry, who had been dealing with a groin injury, is working in with the first-team unit. Hurts faces stiff coverage in the secondary and takes off running when he sees a crease. On the next rep, he keeps the ball by design, reading a defender and taking off upfield. Jordan Mailata is out in front at the second level and delivers a good block to help spring Hurts. Two plays later, Hurts dropped back and Dallas Goedert on a corner route at the near pylon for the touchdown.
The sequence ends for the first-team unit on an interception by Slay in the end zone. The starters came back onto the field shortly afterwards, with Boston Scott showing impressive burst and patience on a run up the middle for a nice gain. Avonte Maddox ended that part of the drill with an interception of Hurts in the end zone on a jump ball intended for Smith. Maddox has had a really nice summer. – Fran
5. The second team period was a move-the-ball sequence in the red zone. Goedert gets the party started with a completion after Hurts rolls to his right for a gain of 7 to the 10-yard line. Two plays later, Fletcher Cox blows up the play with quick penetration up the middle forcing an incomplete pass. After resetting the ball, Zach Pascal, who was in with the first-team unit in place of A.J. Brown (rest day), scored on a sprint-out to the right side. In the second go-around for the first-team unit, safety Marcus Epps deflected a pass intended for Smith into the air to prevent a touchdown.
On the next play, running back Boston Scott hit the hole perfectly on an off-tackle run for a 9-yard touchdown. Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen immediately threw his arms up to signal touchdown (see the photo above), while Assistant Head Coach/Running Backs Jemal Singleton sprinted down the field, excited about the score. The defense rebounds on the next play as linebacker Haason Reddick sprints off the line of scrimmage off Hurts' front side to force an incompletion. – C-Mac
6. The team finished practice with a two-minute drill in the high red zone. The situation was that the offense was down by eight, so it needed the touchdown and the two-point conversion. Gainwell got the first rep, running to the left with center Cam Jurgens out in front as a puller for a solid gain. Another second-year player, cornerback Zech McPhearson, got in on the action with a pass breakup on a throw intended for Goedert near the goal line. McPhearson nearly picked that one off. Two plays later, Hurts took off when he saw a bunch of green grass, and Sirianni (much to the defense's chagrin) ruled it a touchdown. Linebacker Kyzir White argued that he had him boxed in around the 10-yard line, but the offense got the points.
For the two-point play, Jordan Davis stuffed a run inside. Big No. 90 was not allowing that to happen. The backups took the field next, and after a quick screen pass Boston Scott, the defense was able to hold firm, forcing three straight incompletions. The offense got the last laugh, however, with John Hightower sneaking into the end zone on a route by the front pylon on a throw from Minshew. – Fran
Did Not Practice
DE Derek Barnett – Ribs
LB Shaun Bradley – Illness
WR A.J. Brown – Rest
S Andre Chachere – Groin
G Landon Dickerson – Rest
LB Christian Elliss – Hamstring
DT Javon Hargrave – Toe
CB Josh Jobe – Elbow
C Jason Kelce – Elbow
RB Miles Sanders – Hamstring
CB Josiah Scott – Hamstring
WR Greg Ward – Toe