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Eagles Training Camp Practice Notes | August 3, 2023

TE Dallas Goedert
TE Dallas Goedert

Pre-practice injury report: Good news is that it was the same as Tuesday's – wide receiver Deon Cain did not practice due to an ankle injury. Defensive end Derek Barnett (knee), cornerback Avonte Maddox (toe), and linebacker Haason Reddick (groin soreness) were all limited. Linebacker Nakobe Dean suffered an undisclosed injury during the individual portion of Thursday's practice and did not return to practice, although he watched the rest of it from the sidelines, which was a good sign. With Dean sidelines, Christian Elliss and Nicholas Morrow were the first-team linebackers.

• Special teams drills kick off the day as the Eagles went through a kickoff return period at the start of practice. Running backs Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell got the first couple of cracks at catching kicks, with Rashaad Penny back there as well. Thus far in camp, five running backs (Scott, Gainwell, Penny, D'Andre Swift, and Trey Sermon) have all mixed in with the starters on offense, but things like special teams and third down will certainly help determine what the pecking order is at that position. Scott, who appeared to get most of the reps in this drill, has the most extensive return experience of the group. When you pair that with his pass protection skill (which we highlighted on Tuesday), that bodes well for his ability to stick with the team after camp. – Fran Duffy

• In today's ball security drills on offense, the team once again worked in elements of the screen game, with players all catching passes in the flat and taking off upfield to navigate multiple obstacles while having to protect the football. Another aspect of the drill that should not be ignored is the use of the blockers out in front. Before the players catch a pass, they all have to get reps blocking a "defender" holding a bag in front of the receiver, and each of them is coached on the technique and aiming point on the rep. – Fran Duffy

• For individual periods, the defensive backs worked on a tackling drill, with a ball carrier running in a straight line and the defenders coming from depth, breaking down and finishing. With the lack of live tackling in practice on behalf of player health and safety, these drills are incredibly important to help get players as prepared as possible for the fall. – Fran Duffy

• Even with all of the buzz surrounding the additions of Rashaad Penny and D'Andre Swift this offseason, Boston Scott got the first handoff with the starters on Thursday. He took the handoff to the left of Hurts and ran off the right tackle, up the field, and made a nice cut. On the next snap, quarterback Jalen Hurts remained calm in the pocket as he delivered the ball to tight end Dallas Goedert on an in-breaking route for a gain of nearly 15 yards. – Chris McPherson

• The connection between Jalen Hurts and Dallas Goedert was strong on Thursday. Later on, in the first snap of the 7-on-7 period, Hurts threw a gem that displayed anticipation and touch as he layered the ball over the middle between the linebackers and the safeties. Hurts opened the final team period with another dart to Goedert. The tight end used his leverage on cornerback Zech McPhearson to run to the left side of the field and Hurts put it in front of Goedert just before safety Reed Blankenship could close on the ball. – Chris McPherson

• Hurts was once again a perfect 5-for-5 in the 7-on-7 period with completions to five different players – Goedert, DeVonta Smith, Trey Sermon, D'Andre Swift, and Quez Watkins. His confidence in A.J. Brown was also evident as on the opening snap of the second period, Hurts threw the ball deep down the left sideline before Brown turned back to see the ball. The pass was incomplete, but Brown drew pass interference on the play. No interceptions once again from Hurts, who does such an exceptional job of keeping the ball out of harm's way. – Chris McPherson

• One player who continues his long streak of excellent play is right tackle Lane Johnson. On the very first team period, the offense called a run play to the right with Boston Scott taking the handoff from Jalen Hurts. Lane Johnson pushed defensive end Brandon Graham inside and sifted up to the second level to block linebacker Nicholas Morrow, helping to create an alley for Scott to cut upfield for a likely first down. In the next period, the big men got together for one-on-one drills. Johnson took his first, and only, rep against Graham to kick the session off. Lane stopped the bull rush, walked to the side, took his helmet off, and proceeded to coach up to the young guys for the remainder of the drill. There's no question that Johnson is one of the best linemen in football and should not be taken for granted by fans going into Year 11. – Fran Duffy

• Watching the linemen go one-on-one, there were a handful of snaps that stood out to me. Cam Jurgens had a really competitive rep against veteran Fletcher Cox, bracing against the former All-Pro's multiple rush moves and showing off his deceptive stopping power when he dropped his anchor to protect the "quarterback." On the other side, Landon Dickerson got a really strong punch on Milton Williams at the snap and rode him away from the action. Jordan Mailata stopped a long bull rush from Josh Sweat, completing a very good series of reps from the offensive side.

The defense was not without its share of wins, however, as Jalen Carter got the best of Sua Opeta on a bull rush in their first rep together on the day. Haason Reddick jumped in for a late rep against Jack Driscoll ... and it was like watching someone ride a bike for the first time in a while. The disruptive pass rusher jumped right in, ran past Driscoll, and swiped the ball out of the faux quarterback's hands for what would have been a strip sack. We've seen that before! – Fran Duffy

• It can often be a tricky business deciphering which runs "actually" would have broken off for big gains had it been live with tackling to the ground, but in the second 11-on-11 session of the morning I felt like the offense really got things going on the ground. Kenneth Gainwell put his foot down and cut back on a zone run on the back side for what would have been an explosive run. A few plays later, D'Andre Swift exploded downhill on a "Power" run play for a huge play and a likely touchdown, as he scampered untouched through the secondary. Jordan Mailata and Landon Dickerson combined for a devastating double team on the play side, with Cam Jurgens pulling from right to left as a lead blocker, taking out two defenders. It was picture-perfect offensively. – Fran Duffy

• Rookie offensive lineman Tyler Steen, who had seen most of his reps as the backup right guard here in camp, got extensive looks as a backup left tackle on Thursday. This was a part of a handful of shuffles up front, with Dennis Kelly sliding inside to left guard in place of Sua Opeta, who switched over to Steen's previous spot. Jack Driscoll, who has gotten reps at both tackle spots this summer, went back over to right tackle. Versatility is imperative for all offensive linemen, but especially for the backups. Having days like this allow Jeff Stoutland, Brian Johnson, and the rest of the coaching staff to gauge exactly where players can fill in just in case there's an injury up front. – Fran Duffy

• Linebacker Christian Elliss took advantage of his reps with the first-team defense in the 7-on-7 period, generating the lone takeaway of the day. Elliss punched the ball out of the hands of wide receiver Joseph Ngata, who caught the ball on a shallow cross underneath. It was a bang-bang play, but it looked like Ngata made a football move in control of the ball. Nonetheless, Zech McPhearson recovered the fumble for the defense. Elliss also blitzed Tanner McKee on the final play of the team session and would have gotten home for the sack. – Chris McPherson

• Looking for some highlights from the Georgia Bulldogs on defense. Jordan Davis stuffed Boston Scott toward the end of the first-team unit's portion of the opening team period to spark a three-play stretch of outstanding run defense. Rookie Nolan Smith set a strong edge on back-to-back run plays to prevent a big gain to help close out the first team period. – Chris McPherson

Other highlights by the defense: Linebacker Shaun Bradley wasn't confused by the pulling linemen and gave running back Trey Sermon a nice pop in a team period. Linebacker Davion Taylor forced an incomplete pass, staying with running back D'Andre Swift on a wheel route that would have resulted in a touchdown. Cornerback Kelee Ringo came up with the pass breakup on a pass intended for wide receiver DeVonta Smith near the goal line. Safety K'Von Wallace, who worked in with the first-team defense Thursday, was not having any of the wide receiver tunnel screen to wide receiver Joseph Ngata and gave the fellow Clemson alum a nice pop. Defensive end Josh Sweat sniffed out a screen pass, staying home and batting the ball into the air. Cornerback Darius Slay had a pass breakup on a slant pass intended for wide receiver A.J. Brown. – Chris McPherson

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