Philadelphia Eagles News

Practice Report: Huff Blazes On The Field


Over 43,000 fans made the journey to Lincoln Financial Field for the second and final Open Practice of Training Camp. It was also Military Day which featured the Eagles wearing a special version of the practice jerseys with camo letters and numbers. Following practice, the Eagles reenacted a staple from head coach Chip Kelly's time at Oregon. The players lined up along the home sideline and the members of the Armed Forces in attendance stood on the visitors' side. They met in the middle of the field and the players gave the jerseys off their backs to the soldiers.

Here are the rest of the observations from Lincoln Financial Field ...

1. During the National Anthem, a plane flew over Lincoln Financial Field with a banner that was sponsored by Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy and other Dallas fans. The banner read: "We Still Dem Boyz #SacksComing." Eagles fans, to their credit, didn't respond until after the National Anthem had come to a close.

"They said Greg Hardy paid money to fly it over. Waste of money," tackle Lane Johnson said. "It was kind of stupid to me."

2. Cornerback JaCorey Shepherd left Sunday's Open Practice early after colliding with running back Darren Sproles near the end zone along the visitors' sideline during a pass play. Shepherd had to be carted to the locker room. The team offered no update on Shepherd's status.

Shepherd was taking the majority of the reps with the first-team unit at nickel corner since Training Camp opened. Shepherd, a sixth-round pick out of Kansas, impressed during the spring.

Second-year defensive back Jaylen Watkins was working in with the first-team unit at nickel on Sunday prior to Shepherd's injury. A fourth-round pick a year ago, Watkins learned cornerback, nickel and safety in his rookie season after playing all over the secondary at Florida. Watkins said that he has to take "a different approach" since he never knows where he'll line up on any given day.

"That's what's special about my talent is that I can do all three," Watkins said. "I have to embrace it and be ready for it. That's my job, to be technique-sound for all three positions."


The second #EaglesCamp Open Practice featured special #EaglesSalute jerseys in honor of Military Day. View the full gallery here...

3.** Wide receiver Josh Huff had a standout day, hauling in three nice touchdown grabs over the course of practice, including a spiraling 360-degree grab in the back of the end zone during a red zone 11-on-11 drill. Huff appears to have found a nice chemistry with quarterback Sam Bradford especially.

4. During the one-on-one pass rushing drills between the two sides of the line, there were a few standouts, both expected and unexpected. On the defensive side of the ball, undrafted rookie defensive end Travis Raciti impressed, consistently pushing the pocket. Linebacker Connor Barwin was also his usually impressive self, teaching second-year lineman Kevin Graf a lesson at one point in which Graf overset to the outside, leaving Barwin an easy lane for a spin move.

5. On the other side of the ball, Andrew Gardner held up well at left tackle, holding his own against Fletcher Cox. A day after Chip Kelly sung his praises, undrafted rookie Malcolm Bunche impressed again. The drills should be taken with grain of salt, though, as explained Sunday by defensive coordinator Bill Davis.

"It really is about the technique of the first couple steps and then the hands and you'll see them peel off and that will be the end of it," Davis said. "If you have put a quarterback in you have to protect him. So it's really about the first couple steps, angles, their sets, our angles, our hands, their hands, those type of things are what you are looking at."

6. Defensive backs coach Cory Undlin was a character to watch during the latter half of practice as he supported his group during team drills especially. Undlin was thrilled on back-to-back plays with the effort from the two main competitors to start at cornerback opposite Byron Maxwell. First, rookie Eric Rowe made a diving pass breakup on a throw along the sidelines. Then, Nolan Carroll broke up a pass of his own, rising to knock away the ball in the back corner of the end zone.

7. Quarterback Tim Tebow drew some of the biggest cheers of the day whenever he tucked the ball and ran. He rushed in for a touchdown during red zone drills, much to the fans' delight. Of course, Tebow and the rest of the quarterbacks can run with no fear thanks to the red practice jerseys.

8. Safety Walter Thurmond intercepted a pass that deflected off the hands of tight end Zach Ertz and popped up into the air, continuing a strong camp as he transitions from cornerback.

9. Tight end Trey Burton had a nice day, which included a sliding catch about 25 yards down the field on a pass from quarterback Mark Sanchez.

10. Kicker Cody Parkey hit a 58-yard field goal at the start of practice. Parkey has looked strong in Training Camp heading into his second season.

11. For the second straight day, it was Julian Vandervelde working with the first-team offense at right guard.

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