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Practice Notes: Eight Observations From The First Day Of Action


2017 Training Camp is officially underway. Check out all of the photos from the first day of action in South Philadelphia.

The first practice of Training Camp is in the books. Here's what Fran Duffy and Chris McPherson witnessed on the practice fields.

Number Of The Day: 80

According to John Gonoude from the Eagles Media Relations team, the contingent of media and other personnel watching Monday's practice from the sidelines exceeded 80. There were only 34 players on the field.

Practice Observations

1. We got a chance to see most of the rookies this spring, but undrafted free agent offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky was not one of them because of a sprained knee he suffered during the Rookie Camp. The center from West Virginia did not look like your typical undrafted rookie. I'm excited to see Orlosky once the pads go on and we see more drills between the two sets of linemen down in the trenches. - FD

2. Only one tight end is in attendance during the early stages of camp, and that's another undrafted free agent in Shepherd's Billy Brown. The 6-4, 255-pound Brown has NFL size and looked smooth in drills today, catching everything that went his direction. - FD

3. After a host of individual drills, the team got together for a pair of 7-on-7 periods, one in the middle of the field and another down in the red zone. On the very first 7-on-7 play, quarterback Carson Wentz hit second-year receiver Marcus Johnson right between the numbers on an out route with a defender tight in coverage. It was a beautiful throw by Wentz and a tone-setter for the rest of the afternoon. On the next play, Wentz hit Brown over the middle of the field on a quick completion before going over the top to rookie receiver Mack Hollins on a deep post route. It was a beautiful ball by Wentz (and his last throw of that period) that just grazed off the fingertips of the rookie wideout. Hollins made up for it a few plays later, catching a comeback route from quarterback Nick Foles. - FD

4. One of the things you want to see during this phase of Training Camp is the rookies taking advantage of the extra attention they're getting from coaches during practice. Can they build off of their performance in the spring and use it as a springboard toward the rest of the summer? Rookie speedster Shelton Gibson certainly hopes so, as he drew praise multiple times from offensive coordinator Frank Reich on Monday morning for some crisp route running on deep curl routes, one from each side of the field. Why is that important? In college at West Virginia, Gibson ran a very limited route tree, so learning to run a wider array of routes is one of the first big hills he has to climb in his first year in the NFL. - FD

5. It's not just rookies in attendance at this stage of the summer, as veteran cornerback Ron Brooks is making his presence felt as well. After missing action all spring due to the quad injury he suffered last October, Brooks returned to the field on Monday, making a pass breakup late in practice down in the red zone. Perhaps just as important, he's proving to be a mentor on the field for the younger DBs.

In the last individual drill of the session, defensive backs coach Cory Undlin worked with his players on their press coverage technique on back shoulder fades. After nearly every rep from a rookie, Brooks would take the player aside and give them pointers on what they may have done wrong on the previous play. That coaching carried over to the next team period, as defensive back Randall Goforth, one of the young players Brooks coached up, came away with an interception down on the goal line.

"We were in a man coverage. Me and Rasul (Douglas) worked together in the bunch set and we just went out there and made the play. He threw it my way. Luckily I saw the ball, I caught it and got ready for the next play," Goforth said. "I was playing (David) Watford. I saw the ball, it hit me in my hands. I just gotta squeeze. That's where all of the JUGS and catching the ball in the offseason comes in. It came just like that." - FD and CM

6. Douglas also got his hands on a few passes during the day. During the 7-on-7 red zone drill, Douglas used his long arms to break up a pass intended for Johnson just past the goal line. - CM

7. It's great to see the ball in running back Donnel Pumphrey's hands, but it will be interesting to see what happens when the defenders can hit. Pumphrey caught a dumpoff screen from quarterback Matt McGloin and linebacker Don Cherry was right at the perfect spot to meet the rookie running back. - CM

8. A trimmer Corey Clement looked smooth catching the ball out of the backfield. Running backs coach Duce Staley told Clement that he wants him to tip the scales at 215 pounds. After weighing 227 at the start of Rookie Camp, Clement reported at the goal weight.

"I spent a lot of time on the conditioning part. I really didn't touch weights too much. It was all body weight stuff," said Clement of his time away from the NovaCare Complex ahead of Training Camp. "I just made sure that I slimmed down coming into camp. I feel great. Coming in and out of my routes, running, I feel a lot lighter on my feet. I just want to show the coaching staff I can be a lighter back and more versatile." - CM

Play Of The Day

Wide receiver Greg Ward delivered the highlight. In a 7-on-7 red zone drill, Ward hauled in a one-handed grab from quarterback Nick Foles along the right side of the end zone. The cornerback fell down, but Ward still had to concentrate to bring in the ball and get both feet down.

"I just had a corner route. Luckily the ball came to me and I made a play. That was the main thing, just doing the best you can while you're out there," Ward said.

Ward started his college career as a wide receiver at Houston. He transitioned to quarterback, and is now returning to his pass-catching roots.

"I have to condition more, but that's something you have to work on each day, coming in and out of breaks, catching the ball. That's something you have to work on every single day. You can't take a day off," Ward said.

Ward made another nice play on a scramble drill throw from quarterback Matt McGloin, who called for Ward to get to the right sideline. McGloin delivered the ball and Ward made sure to get both feet in bounds for the score.

Injury Report

Cornerback Ron Brooks participated in his first full practice since suffering a season-ending quad injury in the Week 7 win over Minnesota last season. Dave Spadaro has more on Brooks' return which could provide a valuable boost to the Eagles' secondary.

Linebacker Joe Walker was also back in action. Walker missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL. Walker showed a lot of promise last summer and was on pace to earn a roster spot.

Rookie free agent center Tyler Orlosky missed the Organized Team Activities and minicamp with a knee injury. He was handling the center duties on Monday.

Defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao was sidelined late in the spring with a calf injury, but he was on the field Monday for the start of Training Camp.

Defensive tackle Beau Allen (pectoral) and cornerback Sidney Jones (Achilles) are on the Active/NFI List, but both were around the game on Monday. Jones watched practice from the sidelines, while Allen was doing medicine ball drills with the training staff on an adjacent field.

Interesting Look

Rookie defensive end Derek Barnett sported a long-sleeved sweatshirt under his jersey and sweatpants despite the temperatures hovering around 80 degrees.

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