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Practice Notes: 20 Takeaways From Tuesday's Session

Go inside the final practice ahead of Thursday's preseason finale against the Steelers. Head coach Doug Pederson made it as intense as possible to replicate a game atmosphere. Fran Duffy and Chris McPherson have more the details.

1. This was supposed to be a padded practice for the Eagles, their last full practice before Thursday’s preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With another hot, humid morning in Philadelphia, however, Doug Pederson decided to let up on his team a little bit, allowing players to just wear shells and reducing the hitting set for practice. A few players sat out Tuesday’s session, from our eyes on the field, including quarterback Nick Foles, running backs Matt Jones and Donnel Pumphrey and wide receiver Mike Wallace. A few Eagles returned to practice as well, as Zach Ertz, Richard Rodgers, and Shelton Gibson also came back to the field to get things going early on. – Fran Duffy

2. The action started with a Team Run period with 11-on-11 work. Nate Sudfeld got reps with the first-team offense at quarterback, and Sidney Jones was the starter inside in the defense’s nickel package. That gives Jones six days of reps with the first team inside, compared to De’Vante Bausby’s four days, and Jalen Mills’ one in the slot. – Fran

3. The offense worked in various blocking schemes on these run plays, featuring a host of different players along the offensive line pulling to the outside and getting on the move. Jason Kelce flew upfield on the first play to block Rodney McLeod on a Jay Ajayi run. I saw Lane Johnson sprinting downfield two plays later, while Halapoulivaati Vaitai pulled outside on the fourth play of the drill. The Eagles have one of the best running schemes in the NFL. That’s a credit to the coaching staff for drawing up so many different variations of plays and executing them on gameday, but the offensive line deserves a lot of the credit as well. They’re the engine that makes this run game go. – Fran

4. It was extremely humid for the second straight day, setting up a prime situation for some chippiness at practice. I thought we had something early on, as Fletcher Cox and Johnson chirped back and forth after a run play to the outside. Cox felt wronged by something that Johnson did and gave him a shove away from the ball. It turned into nothing, but I got the sense that the energy level would be significantly higher on Tuesday compared to Monday’s practice right off the bat. – Fran

5. The second- and third-team units battled through extensive team periods to offer a glimpse of what they’ll see on the field in the game. At one point, defensive end Steven Means tried to get a little juice by raising his arms to pump up his teammates. Head coach Doug Pederson liked what Means was doing and mimicked his defensive lineman. “It’s always been my take to make practice harder than the game,” an exhausted Means said after practice. “When the game comes, it’s all about fun and making plays.” – Chris McPherson

6. With an eye on Thursday night, the second-team offensive line consisted of (from left to right) tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai, guard Chance Warmack, center Isaac Seumalo, guard Matt Pryor, and tackle Taylor Hart. It is unknown whether any starters will be given the night off – tackle Jason Peters comes to mind. – C-Mac

7. Sidney Jones made an outstanding play on the far sideline. He appeared to be in some form of zone coverage, and he sank back with a receiver outside and leaped in the air to high-point the football and nearly come up with the interception on a vertical route. The ball slipped right through his grasp, but it was a great play by the second-year corner. – C-Mac

8. I thought Rasul Douglas shined as the right cornerback during this session of practice as well. First, he had a nice pass breakup on a Nate Sudfeld pass attempt intended for wide receiver Bryce Treggs on a comeback route. Later in the same drill, Douglas came up to make a stop on a pass in the flat for Corey Clement. The running back heard the footsteps and dropped the ball. – C-Mac

9. Defensive tackle Aziz Shittu has stood out on multiple occasions in this session. First, he chased down Clement on a run downfield, coming from the back side. Now he quickly sniffs out a screen pass intended for Wendell Smallwood, wrapping up the ball carrier at the line of scrimmage just as the ball arrived. – Fran

10. The last special teams portion of practice focused on downing punts inside the 5-yard line with the line of scrimmage just inside enemy territory. I didn’t think Coach Pederson would even punt in this type of scenario! I guess you have to be ready for anything. Douglas continued his strong outing with a successful conversion during the drill. – C-Mac

11. It’s time for 7-on-7 drills, and Carson Wentz is with the quarterbacks first in what will be his most substantial action of the morning. He completed all four of his attempts in the first rotation. First, he connected with short passes to wide receiver Kamar Aiken and tight end Joshua Perkins before a perfect throw to wide receiver Mack Hollins on a 10-yard out route along the left sideline with Ronald Darby right there in coverage. Hollins made sure to get both feet in bounds. – C-Mac

12. Nate Sudfeld got two reps, a short pass to running back Darren Sproles in the flat and an incomplete pass to wide receiver Greg Ward on an out-and-up route that was too far in front down the right sideline. – C-Mac

13. The team transitioned into the red zone, staying in the 7-on-7 session, and Wentz re-entered the drill. His first throw was a thing of beauty, as he dropped back, looked to his left and threw a pump fake to hold the safety in the middle of the field before he looked right and immediately pulled the trigger. Wentz unleashed a beautiful touch pass to Dallas Goedert on a corner route in the back corner of the end zone, and the rookie went up and over Jalen Mills for a touchdown. Two plays later, Wentz hit Joshua Perkins for a touchdown low and away from coverage. I thought this was Wentz’s best practice in a few days. – Fran

14. The final session of practice begins, as the team rejoins for 11-on-11 work, focusing on “backed up” situations. This means the offense is backed up deep in its end. We start with the first-team units on both sides of the ball. On offense, a heavy package featuring multiple tight ends comes out on the field with Nate Sudfeld in at quarterback. Defensively, Jim Schwartz responds with a 4-4 look, with four defensive linemen, four linebackers (Jordan Hicks, Nigel Bradham, Nathan Gerry, and Joe Walker). The three defensive backs on the field are Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, and Jalen Mills. – Fran

15. The first two snaps were runs by running back Jay Ajayi. The defensive line got into the backfield and the coaches and players signaled for a safety on the second play, as Joe Walker flew in almost untouched. Ajayi isn’t the easiest ball carrier to bring down, so it would have been interesting to see what the result would have been in an actual tackling scenario. – C-Mac

16. Wide receiver Shelton Gibson returned to practice and hauled in a nice grab down the left seam from Joe Callahan. The second-year player caught a nice pass earlier in the day from Nate Sudfeld as well in his first practice back on the field after clearing concussion protocol. – C-Mac

17. Cox had a nice pass rush up the middle which forced Sudfeld to throw the ball out of bounds. – C-Mac

18. On Sudfeld’s next series, he completed four straight passes. First, he hit Goedert in the flat, followed up by a throw to Rashard Davis along the sideline. On the third throw, he hit newly signed tight end Gannon Sinclair along the sideline before hitting Perkins on an out route to the right. – Fran

19. When I saw Sudfeld make that third throw to the flat, I saw an “8” on the back of the jersey and assumed Goedert made the catch. Fran quickly corrected me that it was Sinclair, No. 48, who added another grab from Callahan later in the drill. A former rookie free agent of the Cardinals in 2015, Sinclair started his college career at North Dakota State College of Science before transferring to Missouri State where he had seven touchdown grabs as a senior. – C-Mac

20. Clement rotated in as a punt returner along with Sproles during this drill as well. – C-Mac

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