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Practice Notes: Defense Responds And Dance Moves

Fran Duffy and Chris McPherson recap the final Organized Team Activity of the spring. The Eagles report Monday for the start of the mandatory minicamp. Practice kicks off on Tuesday.

1. Some rehab notes. Jason Peters worked in the individual and group install portions of practice. During the group install, he lined up with the second-team unit at left tackle. It was also great to see him break the offensive huddle before the first team session. Carson Wentz continued to get some reps in 7-on-7s. When he wasn't with the quarterbacks, he worked out on an adjacent field. Today's focus was sprinting and coming to a sudden stop. - CM

2. In the first team period of the day, we got a good taste of what was to come. Nick Foles attempted a pass to Mike Wallace on a slant route to the right, but Ronald Darby, lined up in the slot, broke on the throw to disrupt the pass. After what I would say was a very successful day for the offense on Wednesday, the defense rebounded on Thursday and was much more competitive at the catch point. - FD

3. Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson did not participate in Thursday's practice. Chance Warmack worked as the first-team left guard, Stefen Wisniewski was at center, and Taylor Hart was the right tackle. - CM

4. One incompletion later, Nate Sudfeld stepped in for Foles and completed a pass to Corey Clement over the middle. The second-year running back was active Thursday in the passing game. On the play, I focused on the matchup between the rookie linemen, Jordan Mailata at left tackle and Josh Sweat at defensive end. Mailata has a ways to go from a technique standpoint, but there aren’t many people with his size and quickness walking on planet Earth. He’s a fun player to watch every day. - FD

5. Soon afterward, Steven Means knifed into the backfield on a toss play for what would have been a tackle for loss on Matt Jones. Means dropped the hammer with his celebration behind the line of scrimmage, as the energy level continued on the defensive side of the ball. - FD

6. The team came together for a 7-on-7 period, first lining up with the offense’s back to the end zone. Nick Foles hit Greg Ward for a quick throw in the slot before completing a long pass downfield to Mack Hollins on a double move. The second-year receiver beat Jalen Mills down the right sideline, and Foles put great touch on the throw. - FD

7. Carson Wentz stepped in for his first throw and completed a pass to Zach Ertz on a slant route. Sudfeld came in after that play and completed an outstanding throw down the seam to Dallas Goedert for a big completion. - FD

8. The team flipped the field, but stayed in the 7-on-7 session, this time with the offense knocking on the door in the high red zone. Wentz got the first rep and attacked downfield on the first play, looking for Ward on a post route. The ball sailed a bit high, and Ward hit the ground hard and stayed down. Trainers attended to him and eventually he got up under his own power and was taken off in a cart. Ward said that he was OK in the locker room after practice. Good news as the second-year player was getting reps with the first team on Thursday. - FD and CM

9. After the injury to Ward, Wentz responded with a touchdown throw to Ertz down the seam. It seems that whenever Wentz is on the field, even if it’s with the second-team unit, he and Ertz are on the same page. I expect big things from that duo once Wentz is healthy this fall. - FD

10. A few plays later, Rasul Douglas popped up with a pass breakup down on the goal line on a throw from Foles. The second-year corner was extremely active on Thursday with all of the screen passes from the Eagles' offense. It was good to see him show up in that way. He said after practice that the experience from his rookie season is allowing him to react quicker on defense.

"That and me just learning concepts, what the offense is doing," Douglas said. "We don't scheme up our offense, but we kind of have a feel of all the plays they did last year and this year, which some formations bring, so when I see it, I just react." - FD and CM

11. Wentz threw an incompletion, but I felt it was noteworthy because he pump-faked and reset his feet in the pocket before delivering the ball which is what you want to see as he comes back from the knee injury. - CM

12. Defensive end Chris Long did his infamous strut to close out the 7-on-7 period. - CM

13. The full team got back together for 11-on-11 to close practice. In the offensive huddle, Mack Hollins busted out the backpack kid dance/floss which he used to celebrate his first career touchdown last season. - CM

14. Foles was given the ball for the first handful of plays. Clement snared the first two passes, with the second one coming out in space against Rodney McLeod in man coverage. Wide receiver Rashard Davis nabbed the next two throws, first on a screen then on a short crossing route in space where he was able to juke defensive tackle Elijah Qualls (much to the delight of their teammates along the sideline). Davis is a quick, jitter-bug type of slot receiver. I’m excited to watch him for a full summer in Training Camp. - FD

15. Sudfeld entered the drill as the second-team units took the field. After a completion to Shelton Gibson, the defense took over. Tight coverage on the back end allowed the defense to get home for "sacks," and undrafted free agent Joe Ostman was seemingly the benefactor, posting three "sacks" at the end of practice. The undersized pass rusher makes up for his lack of length with great technique and effort off the edge, and I believe he’ll be a player to watch this summer. - FD

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