Philadelphia Eagles News

Practice Report: 10 observations from Tuesday's spirited minicamp session

Tuesday's minicamp practice, the first of the week, is in the books and it was a high-energy affair with tremendous competition on both sides of the ball. Here are some of the highlights in our Practice Report.

1. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery looked like he hadn't skipped a beat, connecting with quarterback Carson Wentz throughout the practice and looking sure-handed and confidence as he always does.

"I'm happy to be back," Jeffery said after practice. "This year I'm not even going to talk about the expectations. Everyone knows what it is, what time it is this year. We've got a special group of guys and we just have to work hard.

"Everything looked good to me."

Jeffery and left tackle Jason Peters joined the offense and immediately played with the first group, naturally. If anyone was concerned about the offense taking some time to get its continuity and chemistry back, don't worry. The offense is where right it needs to be in mid-June with two camp practices to go.

2. One of the benefits of having all of the players at practice is the experience that the veterans can pass down to the younger players. During individual drills, Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce pull Jordan Mailata aside to discuss angles and proper technique. Mailata spent his rookie season of 2018 learning the left tackle position exclusively as he never played organized football. This year, Mailata was moved to the right side of the line after the Eagles used their first-round pick on left tackle Andre Dillard. This was just one example of many taking place on the field Tuesday.

Johnson, meanwhile, worked at right tackle alongside right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai, taking reps with the first group while Brandon Brooks continues to rehab from a torn Achilles tendon, and the two looked comfortable together. "We have a lot of guys who have played together for a number of years, no matter the position," Johnson said. "Big V is making a lot of progress at guard. He's a great athlete. He knows where he needs to be. It's a work in progress, but that's why we're out here practicing."

3. Special teams coordinator Dave Fipp and head coach Doug Pederson talked about utilizing DeSean Jackson as a punt returner the past two days. "DeSean is an exceptional player and he's special and very electric with the ball in his hands," Pederson said. "There are times when we'll use him when maybe you need to get that one punt return that can flip a field and maybe put you in field goal position or score a touchdown at the end of the game to win. We'll pick our spots with him, but even talking with DeSean, he's excited for that opportunity as well." On Tuesday, Jackson was involved in fielding punts along with Boston Scott and DeAndre Thompkins.

4. Greg Ward started his career as a rookie free agent with the Eagles in 2017 and he spent the majority of the season on the practice squad. He was re-signed in April after gaining valuable experience in the AAF. The 5-11, 190-pound Ward was utilized often in the slot on Tuesday with the first-team offense. A former quarterback at the University of Houston, the Eagles tried to get him the ball on the run to take a shot down the field during a team drill, but the defense kept him from getting the pass away.

5. That wasn't the only trick play attempt of the day. Pederson dusted off the flea flicker as Wentz handed the ball off to running back Jordan Howard, who pitched the ball back to Wentz who connected with second-round pick J.J. Arcega- Whiteside on a deep crossing route.

That wasn't the only highlight for Arcega-Whiteside on the day, as he made a diving catch in the end zone from Wentz during a 7-on-7 red zone drill.

6. As beautiful as those plays were from Arcega-Whiteside, the pass of the day came from Wentz, who dropped a dime over the shoulders of wide receiver Marken Michel down the left sideline for a huge gain in a 7-on-7 drill. Pinpoint pass from Wentz, who hit Michel in stride. Later in practice, Michel caught another nice ball over the middle in a team drill. Fipp said on Monday that while Michel is not necessarily in the mix as a returner, he's stood out in enough ways that he may get a look.

The first-year player from the University of Massachusetts is only 5-11 and 190 pounds, but he sure had a lot of opportunities to make plays on Tuesday – and he delivered. Michel, the older brother of Patriots running back Sony Michel, caught at least a half-dozen passes, including the downfield haul from Wentz.

7. Tight end Dallas Goedert was named as one of Pederson's standout players this spring and the former second-round pick showed why as he went up to haul in a tightly contested ball in the back of the end zone during the 7-on-7 red zone drill.

8. New linebacker Zach Brown has talked about learning the defense, which takes some time with the new language, but there is no doubting his ability to move and cover. Brown had a nice interception in seven-on-seven drills and looks to be settling in well within the framework of the defense.

9. Joe Ostman spent his rookie season on the team's practice squad and he used that time and a full offseason to gain 10 pounds of muscle – and a bull rush. "Oh, he brings it," right tackle Jordan Mailata said. "He really gets up on you and has a lot of power. It's very legit."

10. Practice ended with safety Godwin Igwebuike picking off a pass. Igwebuike was claimed off waivers from the 49ers earlier this spring. The 6-0, 212-pound Igwebuike played in six games between the Buccaneers and the 49ers in his rookie season of 2018.

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