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Practice Notes: Analyzing Carson Wentz's Perfect 7-On-7 Drill


Weather forced the first padded practice of Eagles Training Camp to be shifted to Saturday afternoon. Find out about Carson Wentz's amazing 15-for-15 performance in the final 7-on-7 drill of the day.

Number Of The Day: 5.57

In 2016, tight end Zach Ertz ranked first among tight ends with 5.57 receptions per game, which is the third-highest mark by any player in franchise history, trailing only running back Brian Westbrook in 2007 (6.0) and Westbrook again in 2004 (5.62). - John Gonoude

Practice Observations

1. During the final 7-on-7 period, Carson Wentz was a perfect 15-for-15. Here's a breakdown of those 15 plays.

A. Wentz completes a quick 5-yard pass to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

B. Wentz connects with Ertz, who caught the ball 16 yards down the field.

C. Ertz is the target again on a short crossing route.

D. Tight end Trey Burton gets in on the fun with a quick out and a gain of 5 yards.

E. Wentz throws a perfect touch pass for a gain of 30 yards to wide receiver Jordan Matthews. Wentz had the ball in the air as soon as Matthews passed linebacker Najee Goode, but it was placed in an ideal spot where neither safety Rodney McLeod nor safety Jaylen Watkins could get it.

F. Wide receiver Torrey Smith catches a 10-yard pass from Wentz.

G. Wentz goes to Burton, the underneath option, for 6 yards.

H. The play of the day. Wentz hits Ertz with a back shoulder throw along the right sideline for 29 yards. Ertz caught the ball and got both feet in as he was falling to the ground. Watkins had good coverage on the play. Amazing anticipation throw. Note that wide receiver Nelson Agholor was creating confusion for the defense running a go route.

I. A quick pass to Matthews in the flat.

J. A dig route by Smith goes for 20 yards.

K. Wide receiver Marcus Johnson turned cornerback Patrick Robinson around faking in before going out for a 17-yard gain.

L. Ertz was the recipient on a shallow cross.

M. Agholor caught the ball on a quick out route.

N. A hitch route by Smith gained 13 yards, although cornerback Jalen Mills read the route and had good position.

O. Burton finishes off the drill with an out route for a short gain.

Matthews said after practice it certainly wasn't the first time seeing Wentz in the zone.

"You can tell he's in full command," Matthews said. "He's confident. He's excited about the weapons around him. A lot of guys come out and lean on that. He's focused. He's got the eye of the tiger right now."

Tight end Zach Ertz noted the difference in Wentz from last year to now.

"He's a Type A personality and for him to have to kind of wait in the wings I don't think was very comfortable for him to be behind Sam (Bradford) and Chase (Daniel) at this time last year," Ertz said. "He wants to be motivating people each and every day. I think now he's just so confident and he's so comfortable in his role. I think he's looked phenomenal thus far." - Chris McPherson


2. As practice got underway on Saturday, we got our first look at the Eagles' current punt coverage team. Some of the notable takeaways for me were linebacker Don Cherry with the first team (Cherry was a starter on kickoff coverage as well on Friday), along with second-year running back Wendell Smallwood with the starters. On the outside, cornerback Ron Brooks and wide receiver Nelson Agholor were the starting gunners. Off to the side, rookie wide receiver Greg Ward - a converted quarterback with very little experience on special teams - got some pointers from safety Malcolm Jenkins and Mills. Ward stepped in with the second unit, which was interesting to see as well. Later in the day, as more special teams drills took place, I loved watching the competitive one-on-one battles between players like Ward and Chris Maragos as well as the pairing of Goode and wide receiver Mack Hollins. *- Fran Duffy

3. As I watched special teams drills, I couldn't help but hear offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland offering up some praise to second-year guard Isaac Seumalo. For what? I have no idea, but I thought it was notable as the unit worked on their combo blocks on the middle field. - FD

4. One of the most acrobatic plays of the day came via safety Rodney McLeod, who hauled in a spinning one-handed interception during individual drills with the rest of the safety group. - FD

5. Before paying close attention to the receivers and defensive backs going one-on-one, former undrafted free agent receiver Marcus Johnson opened eyes in the media section of the sidelines with two deep grabs - one from quarterback Carson Wentz and another from Matt McGloin down the right sideline. - FD

6. Afterwards, the one-on-one drills began. Here are my biggest takeaways from that period of practice.

A. Alshon Jeffery was outstanding (again) on Saturday, and if you just look at this portion of practice you can see why he will be such a great fit for Wentz and this offense in 2017. On his first rep, he lined up to the left side against Robinson and released outside. Robinson got on Jeffery's hip, and was exactly where he needed to be in coverage.

Any other receiver would be in trouble at this stage, but not Jeffery. The wideout throttles down, cuts Robinson off underneath, goes up, and outmuscles Robinson at the catch point for a leaping reception downfield. On his next rep, Jeffery ran a deceptively quick comeback route and dove to the ground to make a tough catch. Alshon lined up in the slot on his next rep against Aaron Grymes, who was in his face from the jump and had what seemed to be control of the rep from start to finish, until Jeffery shook loose and broke back to the quarterback, using his strength to break away and come away with the catch. On his fourth and final catch of the day, we got to see Jeffery turn on the jets and run past Robinson and catch a fade downfield. As the two players went up and battled for the ball, Jeffery came down with it clean but took a minute to get up, tweaking his shoulder. He would later return practice, but it was a very impressive outing for number 17, with a 4-for-4 performance in one-on-ones.

B. On the very first rep of the period, Agholor lined up against Mills on the far right side. Mills got a good jam at the line of scrimmage, but Nelson released outside and was off to the races. Mills stayed hip to hip (or, "in-phase") with Agholor, got his eyes on the football, and climbed the ladder to make a picture-perfect pass breakup to get the ball on the ground. It was a great way to start the drill for the defense, and it was one of two breakups for Mills in the drill that I saw.

C. The next receiver to line up at that spot was Smith, who blew by second-year cornerback C.J. Smith on a vertical route and caught a pass on his back shoulder for what would've been a touchdown. Ward caught a vertical throw a few minutes afterwards. Bryce Treggs ran a similar route on the opposite side of the field later in the drill, but it was perfectly defended by McLeod, who cut Treggs off at the pass and did enough to keep him away from the catch point for an incompletion.

D. On the other side of the field, Johnson matched up against cornerback Rasul Douglas, a battle of two oversized skill players. Douglas struck Johnson with a strong two-hand jam, but Johnson used his strength to fight through the initial contact and ran a hitch, stopping on a dime at the top of his route to create separation and come away with the catch.

E. Hollins, who needed to continue improving at the line of scrimmage with his releases against press coverage, put hard work into practice with his first rep of the drill, beating fellow rookie Jomal Wiltz on a slant route thanks to a crafty arm-over release. Wiltz recovered and contested the throw, but Hollins came away with the catch.

F. With Hollins using his size, it's only right that fellow rookie Shelton Gibson would use his speed to haul in one of his most impressive catches wearing Eagles green. Gibson shook Douglas at the line of scrimmage after his former West Virginia teammate tried to engulf him with a two-hand jam, and turned on the afterburners to fly past his fellow Mountaineer to haul in what appeared to be about a 50- or 60-yard throw from quarterback Matt McGloin. It may have been Douglas who got the last laugh, however. The next time the two faced each other, Gibson shook free on a quick hitch route, but the ball bounced off his hands and Douglas dove to reel in what I believe to be his first interception of camp.

G. After an early drop, Matthews was perfect the rest of the afternoon, catching a ton of in-breaking routes through traffic against players such as McLeod and Ron Brooks. He also ended the drill on a high note with a leaping grab on a corner route where he fell to the ground, but secured the tightly contested catch on the throw from McGloin. - FD

7. As everyone else watched Carson Wentz light up the far field in the 7-on-7 drill, I kept my eyes in the trenches with the offensive line and defensive line in one-on-one drills before making my way over that direction. Here are my notes on that drill before taking a look at Wentz…

A. On Friday, Brandon Graham beat Lane Johnson on the very first rep of the drill with a quick hand swipe move on the outside. He tried the very same thing again on Saturday, but this time Johnson stopped him cold, striking Graham in the chest, and nearly knocking him to the dirt with his punch. Doing that to Graham is no small feat, and Johnson received plenty of praise from coaches and teammates on his way back to the huddle.

B. Tim Jernigan has a quick first step, and when you see him in person you can see why he's so tough to move in the run game, but he hit Seumalo with good ol' hump move patented by Reggie White on his first rep, winning the play by ripping through the second-year guard's inside shoulder. On his next rep (and the last that I watched of the drill), Jernigan used a bull rush to punch Chance Warmack in the chest before ripping inside against the former first-round pick. - FD

Injury Report

Quarterback Nick Foles rested with a sore elbow.

Cornerback Randall Goforth was sidelined with a knee injury that he incurred during Friday's practice.

Defensive end Alex McCalister missed practice with a hamstring injury. - CM

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