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Practice Notes: Defense Sends Offense Sprinting After Another Strong Outing


Monday's practice notes feature the first "interception" for new Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby, the return of some key players on the offensive side of the ball, and a battle between wide receiver Nelson Agholor and safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Number Of The Day: 64

Rodney McLeod is one of only five NFL defensive backs to start in every regular-season game since 2013, joining Brandon Carr, Patrick Peterson, Glover Quin, and Richard Sherman. - John Gonoude

Practice Observations

1. The team got together for some 11-on-11 action, and the first-team units saw the field for the first five plays which comprised of two false starts, an incompletion over the middle to Torrey Smith, a run by Darren Sproles (who was quickly met by Malcolm Jenkins in the hole), and a screen pass to Nelson Agholor. - Fran Duffy

2. Afterward, the receivers and defensive backs got together for some work in what is basically a half-field 7-on-7 drill. Late in the period, Ronald Darby was in tight coverage against Alshon Jeffery, which earned some applause from the fans in attendance. But it would be Agholor who drew the biggest rise from the crowd with an impressive catch down the seam, which ended up serving as a bit of an appetizer for what he did in the next period. - FD

3. The receivers and defensive backs went to the red zone for a one-on-one drill, and Agholor's battles with Jenkins in the slot were extremely fun to watch. On the first two tries, Agholor displayed the quickness and suddenness off the line to release quickly into the route before breaking off at the top of his stem and catching both passes in the back of the end zone. The fans were extremely excited on both routes, leaving the veteran Jenkins behind in the dust. On their third and final rep, Jenkins got the better end of the play. The safety jammed Agholor with both hands, knocking him backward at the line of scrimmage. Agholor released inside to run a slant, and Jenkins punched the ball out with a great pass breakup on the final rep of the session. - FD

4. Other standout moments from one-on-ones included Darby's first "interception" in an Eagles uniform. He matched up against wide receiver Mack Hollins on the left side and matched the rookie step for step on a comeback route, flashing his quickness, change of direction, and burst to close on the football. Darby finished on the ball with the interception, getting both feet in bounds to secure the turnover about 10 feet away from some very happy fans. Jalen Mills also had a strong period, engulfing Marcus Johnson on one fade route and taking away the throw, and getting another pass breakup against Johnson later in the drill. Rasul Douglas had a strong pass breakup against David Watford, earning praise from defensive backs coach Cory Undlin. On the other side, Shelton Gibson had two really impressive touchdowns - one on a slant in front of Douglas and another on a high-velocity back-shoulder throw from Carson Wentz at the front pylon. - FD

5. In the next team period, three big offensive plays really stood out to me. Agholor caught a pass in the flat and brought a bunch of oohs and aahs from the crowd with some wiggle after the catch as he ran downfield. Rookie Corey Clement had a decisive run inside that went for a big gain as the undrafted free agent got more work with the second-team offense. The third team got a spark from second-year back Byron Marshall on a long cutback run against the grain. - FD

6. The team moved into the red zone and the offense really got going. Wentz made a really quick read getting to his second progression on a throw to Zach Ertz down the seam for a touchdown. The two connected on Wentz's next throw off play-action for a score. On both plays, Greg Cosell from NFL Films noted how quickly the ball came out and said he loves watching red zone periods in practice because they most resemble the speed of an NFL game with tighter windows to throw into. He was really impressed with Wentz's decisiveness in this drill. Before Wentz's final throw, a touchdown to tight end Trey Burton on a corner route, Darby again drew praise from the crowd on a pass breakup where he jumped a slant route on the right side to get the ball on the ground. - FD


The Eagles are busy preparing for their second preseason game, this time at home against the Buffalo Bills. Check out the shots...

7. The second-team defense had a lot of success with the next group. Linebacker Najee Goode did a great job taking away a double move from tight end Brent Celek down the seam to force an incompletion. Linebacker Joe Walker was right there to meet Clement on a run stuff inside short of the goal line. Safeties Terrence Brooks and Corey Graham were right there in coverage to help force Burton out of bounds on a throw to the back of the end zone, a play that the veteran tight end came down with but likely not with both feet in bounds (at least to this set of eyes). *- FD

8. During a 7-on-7 red zone drill, new rookie wide receiver Rashard Davis had safety Chris Maragos beat on a corner move to the back left side of the end zone, but the pass carried him just out of bounds. Rookie tight end Adam Zaruba had one of his nicest moments of camp beating Walker on the same corner route for a score. - Chris McPherson

9. Jeffery appeared to do more work on Monday than in recent days. It's apparent how much Wentz trusts him. Lined up across from Mills on the left side of the formation, Wentz forced the ball to him on a slant route in the red zone 7-on-7 drill, Mills was right there to break up the pass. On the next snap, linebacker Jordan Hicks had a nice pass breakup on a pass intended underneath for wide receiver Greg Ward. - CM

10. Fran mentioned the battles between Agholor and Jenkins earlier. Another one came in this red zone 7-on-7 drill. Agholor, lined up to the right of the formation, shook Jenkins with a nice double move to get wide open for an easy score. On the next play, Jeffery scored down the right sideline after he beat Douglas to get open. Jeffery had to get a knee down as he was falling out of bounds for the ball. Director of football compliance Jon Ferrari was right there to signal touchdown. - CM

11. Quarterback Nick Foles returned to action after dealing with an elbow injury. In the red zone 7-on-7 drill, Foles fired a ball in between two defenders for Hollins, but the rookie was unable to come up with the pass. Good to see the heat on the throw. Later in a team drill, Foles went deep down the left sideline for Johnson on a go route, but the ball was a little underthrown and Mills was able to get the breakup. - CM

12. Head coach Doug Pederson had the offensive players run sprints after practice. The defense has gotten the better of the offense the past two days. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich said the sprints weren't any sort of punishment.

"No, just building chemistry, team bonding, building discipline," he said. - CM

13. Darby doesn't like his jersey number - 35. At all. He is targeting Wendell Smallwood's No. 28.

"I'm trying to go for that two-eight. I've been in his ear a little bit. Something in the 20s." - CM

Injury Report

Offensive lineman Josh Andrews remains out with a hand injury.

Cornerback Ron Brooks suffered a hamstring injury in the preseason game last Thursday and has yet to return.

Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox did not practice again due to back spasms.

Tight end Anthony Denham is still not back in action due to a calf injury.

Wide receiver Paul Turner was sidelined again with a shoulder injury.

Tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai incurred a knee injury against the Packers and remains a spectator.

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