Head Coach Nick Sirianni's first core value is connecting with people. He's paid tribute to some of the veterans by his choice of T-shirts. During the OTAs in the spring, Sirianni wore a Brandon Graham T-shirt and a Jason Kelce Super Bowl Parade of Champions T-shirt. On Saturday, he honored another key member of that Super Bowl LII team, kicker Jake Elliott. Sirianni's gray T-shirt said "4 the win" with an animated picture of Elliott after making the longest field goal in Eagles history, the 61-yarder against the New York Giants that helped ignite a nine-game win streak in 2017.
The Eagles worked on their field goal protection unit on Saturday evening, giving Elliott the chance to kick in the face of pressure. He responded with strong, accurate kicks that flew in between the uprights with plenty of distance to spare. On Friday, Elliott explained how he worked with specialists in the offseason to tighten his kicking stroke. He's also working with a new holder in punter Arryn Siposs.
Elliott is on track to regaining the form that helped him score over 100 points in each of his first three seasons. It doesn't hurt to know that the head coach has your back. – Chris McPherson
Here are the rest of the news and notes from Saturday evening's practice:
• As part of the NFL's Back Together Saturday to celebrate the return of fans to Training Camp, the Eagles hosted members of the Armed Forces and their families for Military Day, an annual tradition that was paused for a season due to the pandemic. The players wore camo numbers and nameplates on their jerseys. Following practice, tackle Lane Johnson participated in a Q&A session and the players autographed their jerseys to be given away. – Chris
• From an injury standpoint, rookie first-round pick DeVonta Smith suffered a leg injury during the first team period of practice. He returned to the sidelines to watch the remainder of the workout. Linebacker Davion Taylor is day to day with a quadriceps injury. The Eagles are off on Sunday. Coach Sirianni said that the pads will go on for the first time on Tuesday. – C-Mac
• It won't truly be an "off day" for linebacker Eric Wilson. After getting plenty of sleep, Wilson will work on getting plenty of recovery through a massage and acupuncture treatment. To prepare mentally, Wilson will watch tape from the first week of Training Camp practices along with other games. – C-Mac
• Once again, I hung around the wide receivers during the individual period, and today they focused heavily on blocking. Head Coach Nick Sirianni was once again very active in coaching the group up, getting guys to keep their elbows tight with their thumbs up at the point of attack. Travis Fulgham and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside seemed to excel in this drill. – Ben Fennell
• In the opening team period, defensive end Derek Barnett got into the backfield for a sack off the defensive left side. Barnett and Josh Sweat (who had a sack of his own later in the day) have both flashed every day in camp. It's easy to see why Defensive Coordinator Jonathan Gannon is so high on his top-3 defensive ends with those two along with Brandon Graham. – Fran Duffy
• For the first time this summer, we have wide receivers and defensive backs going one-on-one! These are some of my favorite drills in football, and we got to see some impressive reps on Saturday. Some of my favorites:
1. Jalen Reagor, who saw more action today than at any other point in camp, ran a slick comeback route against veteran Darius Slay, creating great separation at the top of the route before securing the catch. Slay came back later in the drill with a late pass breakup against Reagor in the middle of the field.
2. 2020 classmate Quez Watkins, who returned today from a non-COVID illness, made one of the best catches of camp so far when he leaped over cornerback Michael Jacquet and made a circus catch going to the ground.
3. Shortly afterward, Arcega-Whiteside ran a great corner route, displaying great technique to create separation before looking the ball in over his shoulder for the big grab.
4. Josiah Scott had very tight coverage against Greg Ward on an incompletion. Ward also had a great route on a reception early in the drill.
5. Zech McPhearson had a great pass breakup against receiver Andre Patton to wrap up the session. – Fran
• The offense tried to build some momentum in the second 11-on-11 session. On the first play, Hurts tossed the ball to Miles Sanders in the flat who sprinted down the numbers on the right side as the seas parted in front of him for a big play. All of the green jerseys got excited with that one. Then, a few plays later, Zach Ertz came down with a catch right in front of us on a double move along the sideline. – Ben
• A 7-on-7 session begins and a few plays into the drill, linebacker T.J. Edwards comes down with an outstanding interception in the middle of the field. Edwards appeared to be in zone coverage on the play, climbing the ladder to make the leaping grab going to the ground. He's good for one of those on a weekly basis and has been since his first Training Camp in 2019. – Fran
• The defensive line got after it in the ensuing team drill. Javon Hargrave tied up Miles Sanders (who had a long catch-and-run on a screen play later) at the line of scrimmage on the opening snap on a short run play. T.Y. McGill knifed into the backfield for what would have been a sack a couple of reps later. McGill has been very active in the first four days. Rookie undrafted free agent JaQuan Bailey had a strip-sack, punching the ball loose from Nick Mullens as he dropped back to pass late in the drill. – Fran
• Late in the final session, cornerback Zech McPhearson nearly had a diving interception. The rookie fourth-round pick from Texas Tech has really impressed me over the last couple of days. He's been sticky as Velcro in coverage, is shedding blocks on the perimeter, and is working extra with coaches and vets on the sideline during and after practice. The rookie is checking a lot of boxes early on, and I'm excited to watch more of him this summer! – Ben