Head Coach Nick Sirianni showed the Eagles a pivotal moment from Kobe Bryant's career during a team meeting. It wasn't any of his five NBA Championships or his 81-point performance.
Instead, it was his four-airball outing from his rookie year in the series-deciding loss to the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference semifinals. Naturally, Bryant was the scapegoat for the loss. Bryant focused his energy from the disappointment on improving and not catering under the wall of criticism.
"He was just trying to show that even the great ones have failures," tackle Lane Johnson said. "It doesn't matter who you are in this league. It's all about how you handle adversity, how you bounce back. If you have a bad rep, move on to the next one. Do your best to have a short-term memory. That goes for every position." – Chris McPherson
Here are the practice notes from Eagles Training Camp for Thursday, July 29:
• For the second day in a row, I was sure to get over to watch the wide receivers during the individual period, and for the second day in a row, I had fun watching Nick Sirianni in those drills. The head coach was extremely vocal during that session and contributed to help try to poke the ball out after each player secured a pass. He brings a ton of juice to the practice field. – Ben Fennell
• The first team period begins and the competition at left tackle continues, as Jordan Mailata gets the nod with the starters on Thursday after Andre Dillard got the majority of the reps on Day 1. I didn't study Mailata on every play, obviously, but I did watch the one-on-one drills later in the morning, and he looked good on each of his reps. – Fran Duffy
• While Fran was watching the starters on the middle field, I posted up near the first field where the "2s and 3s" got to work in 11-on-11. Second-year safety K'Von Wallace is working in this group today after working with the starters on Wednesday, as is linebacker Eric Wilson. Marcus Epps and T.J. Edwards rotated with them, getting their reps on the other field. It's going to be fun as there's a ton of movement from practice to practice! – Ben
• In the next period, the whole squad got together on the middle field for some team work. Before the period got underway, Brandon Brooks walked into the training tent with some of the medical staff. Brooks suffered a hamstring injury and was undergoing a precautionary evaluation. Matt Pryor stepped in for him at the right guard spot the rest of the day. The offensive highlight from this session may have come from backup running back Kerryon Johnson, who showed some wiggle immediately after taking the handoff from Joe Flacco and scampering for a nice gain after a juke behind the line of scrimmage. – Fran
• Here's the breakdown of the other injuries outside of Brooks. Wide receivers Jalen Reagor (lower body) and Greg Ward (non-COVID illness) were limited in practice, while Travis Fulgham was out with a lower-body injury and Quez Watkins is day to day with a non-COVID illness. Guard Isaac Seumalo is week to week with a hamstring injury. Defensive backs Shakial Taylor (day to day, lower body) and Nate Meadors (week to week, hamstring) were sidelined on Thursday. – C-Mac
• On the final play of the period, Genard Avery got the team excited by chasing the ball outside the numbers and punching it to the ground as teammates swarmed along the sideline. There's definitely a defensive emphasis on getting the ball early in Training Camp. It seems like every play ends with a defender looking to punch the ball out of an offensive player's grasp. – Fran
• The crowd roars early in 7-on-7 drills after a deep ball from quarterback Jalen Hurts to rookie DeVonta Smith. The top-10 pick tracked the deep ball over the shoulder and came down with it as fans in the vicinity screamed in unison. That was definitely the most excitement from the crowd over the first two days, and hopefully, it's a sign of things to come. – Ben
• I missed the big play to Smith because I was over watching the linemen in one-on-one drills. The usual suspects stood out throughout this drill, with Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave, Jason Kelce, and Josh Sweat all getting some clear victories early, but a couple of young guys flashed as well. Second-year center Luke Juriga had a couple of spirited reps. Rookie defensive end Tarron Jackson had one of my favorite rushes in the drill, beating Casey Tucker on the outside. – Fran
• The next team period got underway, and this was one of Hurts' best sequences so far. The second-year quarterback hit Dallas Goedert off play-action on the first snap, broke the pocket and floated a pass to Arcega-Whiteside on the third, scrambled for a first down on the fourth, and then hit classmate John Hightower on a crossing route on the sixth play. Hightower also showed some late burst on the catch, pulling away from the pursuit and racing down the left sideline. The other standout player in this period was Fletcher Cox, whose name I wrote down time and time and time again all day, but he chased down Boston Scott on an early run play and wrapped up ballcarriers on two other occasions in this session as well. – Fran
• Sometimes my favorite observations happen before or after practice, and before I left the field for my car, a defensive player caught my eye as he worked with an assistant off to the side well after the end of practice. Rookie Zech McPhearson was working on his technique as a punt gunner, going through rep after rep for a few minutes before leaving the field. Did he go right into the locker room? Nope. He ran over to the Rita's Water Ice stand and got a host of refreshments for his teammates in the DB room. Life of a rookie! – Ben
• The NovaCare Complex cafeteria represents somewhat a return to normalcy.
Players continue to mention how much easier it is to create bonds and relationships with each other during meals after being separated last season due to COVID protocols.
"Just having tables back in the cafeteria, being able to sit down, eat and talk to somebody, which is something you couldn't do last year," center Jason Kelce said. "You don't realize it, but then once that comes back, it's like, 'Oh, my God, it's like, one of my favorite things about playing football.'"
"That's one thing I look forward to at camp is eating with the guys. It feels normal again," Johnson said.
"Just the small things we took for granted. It feels like football is back," defensive tackle Javon Hargrave added. – Jillian Oddo
• Second-year safety K'Von Wallace picked up a new hobby in the ring. Boxing is a new obsession for Wallace after watching NBA star Damian Lillard showcase his skills on social media. He researched the benefits ... and was hooked.
"I made it one of my hobbies, so it can help me ultimately on the field," Wallace said.
His favorite boxer at the moment is Gervonta Davis. – Jillian