The Eagles powered through a rainy day at the NovaCare Complex to kick off their second week of OTAs.
The rain didn't keep the Eagles from holding Tuesday's Organized Team Activity outdoors. Here are some observations from the action on the field.
Big Day For Rasul Douglas
Third-round draft pick Rasul Douglas had a nice practice on Tuesday, breaking up a Carson Wentz pass intended for Nelson Agholor in the front corner of the end zone and then coming back with a breakup of a throw intended for Dorial Green-Beckham in the red zone. In the day's final period, he had his hands on the football three times.
Douglas played with confidence and a sense of purpose.
"I started to get into my rhythm and what the coach expected of me, so I made a few plays," Douglas said. "You just keep getting better and not make the same mistakes you made the day before."
A few weeks has, indeed, made a difference for Douglas, who just a few years ago was starting for Nassau Community College. Now he's challenging for playing time, and maybe a starting job, in the NFL.
"Just me seeing the game a little bit more. Every time I get a rep I see the game a little more and I know what I can do on the field," he said.
Wentz To Jeffery For A Touchdown!
A sign of things to come?
The Eagles sure hope that what happened on Tuesday, when quarterback Carson Wentz threw high in the right corner of the end zone and wide receiver Alshon Jeffery out-positioned cornerback Douglas for a touchdown catch.
Jeffery punctuated the play by spiking the football in the direction of Douglas, who was on the ground.
"Just trying to make play. I'm just having fun with the game of football," Jeffery said. "The coaches are always saying when you get in the end zone, spike the ball so that's all I was doing."
A fade that was successful? It hasn't happened a whole lot for the Eagles, but Jeffery represents a receiver with great size and catch radius, which he has shown this spring. Plus, he can go up and get the football high above the, uh, rim.
"I think it's because I played basketball," Jeffery said. "I just look at it like it's a rebound."
As for Douglas, it was a learning moment. He did everything right, except make the play.
"He made a good play. When I get another chance to make a play I gotta make a play," Douglas said. "That happens. That's part of the game. When you mess it up its just next play you see where it's at and you try to get another one. He's playing the game the way I'm playing the game at the highest level. I wanted to win the rep, unfortunately I didn't win the rep. So I just wanna go the next rep. Whatever he does after that is just what he does."
Depth Chart Stuff
Here's how it looked on Tuesday as far as who lined up where and with whom ...
The first-team offensive line stayed the same from the previous week, with Lane Johnson at left tackle, Isaac Seumalo at left guard, Jason Kelce at center, Brandon Brooks at right guard, and Halapoulivaati Vaitai at right tackle. Jeffery and Torrey Smith, who made a fine falling-down catch in an 11-on-11 period, were the starting wide receivers on the outside, with Nelson Agholor in the slot with Jordan Matthews sidelined with knee tendinitis. Wendell Smallwood started at running back, with Dillon Gordon at fullback.
Bryce Treggs saw some time in the slot at receivers, with Agholor – who ran an outstanding stutter-step route to get open against Jalen Mills for a touchdown – and Dorial Green-Beckham on the outside.
On defense, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Destiny Vaeao and Chris Long played with the first-team line. Rasul Douglas and Patrick Robinson played on the outside at cornerback with the first team, while Jalen Mills played inside. Jordan Hicks and Nigel Bradham were the nickel linebackers, with, of course, Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod at safety.
Five Quick Points
1. The Eagles are exploring ways to utilize rookie Donnel Pumphrey in both the offense and special teams. On offense, Pumphrey moves around the formation from the backfield to the slot. During special teams drills, Pumphrey took a lot of reps fielding punts.
2. With Vinny Curry and Marcus Smith not on the field, we got to see an extended look at new defensive end Chris Long. The former first-round pick lined up at both end spots and showcased his ability to rush from a two-point stance. He displays plenty of juice in his get-off to pose a problem for the tackles in OTAs.
3. The thought of Dillon Gordon (listed at 322 pounds) paving the way at fullback for LeGarrette Blount (listed at 250 pounds) is going to be fun to watch, and not so much fun for defenses having to account for stopping that. You may know it's coming, but can you stop it?
4. The additions of Patrick Robinson and Rasul Douglas at cornerback may have made the challenge of earning a spot on the roster a little more difficult for the likes of C.J. Smith and Aaron Grymes, but don't count them out. Smith was about to knock the ball away from receiver Dorial Green-Beckham on a play near the goal line despite giving up six inches. Grymes intercepted quarterback Nick Foles in a red zone drill. Lined up in the slot and with no work in zone, Grymes kept his eyes on Foles and the quarterback never saw him. Smith and Grymes combined to play 11 games for the Eagles in 2016, with all of the snaps on special teams.
5. Here is a list of the players who were not present at Tuesday's voluntary OTA:
- Running back LeGarrette Blount (family obligation)
- Cornerback Ron Brooks (personal reason)
- Defensive end Vinny Curry (illness)
- Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (family reason)
- Punter Donnie Jones
- Wide receiver Jordan Matthews (knee tendinitis, the team is being conservative)
- Defensive end Alex McCalister (personal reason)
- Tackle Jason Peters
- Defensive end Marcus Smith
- Running back Darren Sproles (family obligation)
- Dave Spadaro and Chris McPherson