Eagles Training Camp Observations: Some Dominant Performances

BEREA, Ohio — Those last two joint practices against the Browns are why Nick Sirianni believes in them so much.

The Eagles and Browns were fairly even on Thursday, but the Eagles were clearly better on Friday as practice moved into the red zone.

While the Eagles stay in Cleveland for their preseason game on Sunday, don’t expect to see the starters play in that one. Still, there will be plenty of youngsters ready for all those shots.

Let’s move on to the observations of day 14:

1. As always, housekeeping:

• Did not train on Friday: James Bradberry (groin), Miles Sanders (hamstring), Javon Hargrave (toe), Jason Kelce (elbow), Greg Ward (toe), Christian Elliss (hamstring).

• While head coach Nick Sirianni avoids any discussion of the schedule, the Eagles are said to be expecting Sanders and Hargrave to return for Week 1. They are just taking precautions. Bradberry, meanwhile, is day to day.

• Limited: Grant Calcaterra (hamstrings) returned to training for the first time since July 30. Sirianni admitted Calcaterra was obviously late, but it was good to see the close rookie back on the pitch.

2. AJ Brown had the catch of the day early in the 11v11. As the Eagles worked in the red zone, Jalen Hurts threw a pass to Brown, who beat Browns corner Greedy Williams, snatching the ball from him as Williams was knocked to the ground. As Brown stood over Williams, he stared at him. Absolute posterization.

Not to be outdone, Dallas Goedert won a 50-50 ball over safety D’Anthony Bell in the end zone a few minutes later.

Brown and Goedert have been the most reliable targets for Hurts this summer and it’s important to note how much Hurts seems to trust them, especially with those jumping balls. A big criticism of Hurts is that he will only throw to wide open receivers. But if he trusts these guys in training, maybe he’ll be ready to trust them in games as well.

3. Aside from that play when Goedert Moss made a safety, he had an impressive one-handed grab on a perfectly executed screen pass. On this play, it was fun to see rookie Cam Jurgens come out front. The Nebraska rookie had a block about 15 yards down.

4. Browns defensive end Myles Garrett returned to practice Friday after missing several days due to a personal issue. Although Garrett did not participate in team drills, he did participate in 1-on-1 against Jordan Mailata twice. On the first, Garrett had an impressive rush to push Mailata deep into the pocket. Mailata said one was a win.

That was supposed to be all they did, but Mailata asked Garrett to go one more time. On the second rep, Garrett attempted a sprint around the edge and Mailata used his strength and speed to widen Garrett’s path well past the quarterback. It was a Mailata win, so they finished 1-1. It was a great job.

Also, on a team drill, Mailata had a big block to launch Boston Scott on a gut run. OL coach Jeff Stoutland started shouting, saying the game would be on their teaching tape.

5. Even without Hargrave, the Eagles defensive line was a wrecking team on Friday against a pretty good offensive line. Late in practice, Haason Reddick fell victim to Browns tackle James Hudson III. After a summer of dealing with Lane Johnson, it’s fun to watch Reddick go wild against other tackles.

Another guy who had a great time in the team-wide competition at the end was rookie Kyron Johnson. Johnson didn’t flash a ton in his rookie training camp, but had a sack on Deshaun Watson (working with the second team) and shoved him out of the pocket on another.

The other three players who really impressed on the line were Josh Sweat, Jordan Davis and Tarron Jackson. Sweat had a few “bags” on Friday. Davis, quite simply, is an inside problem. He showed it in 1 on 1. And Jackson is a completely different player in Year 2. I was watching the Eagles offense on Friday but every time I looked at the far field of their defense, Jackson was in the backfield.

6. Sudden end to this practice for second-year running back Kenny Gainwell, who has struggled recently. The relatively safe Gainwell had another drop. This one came in the middle of the field in the red zone. It can’t happen. Then right after, Sirianni was loudly yelling at Gainwell for messing up his mission.

seven. The Eagles have used a ton of play options in this practice and it’s fun to see how comfortable Hurts is with these plays. Sometimes he shoots the ball or puts it back at the last possible moment.

A note on these plays: While Johnson pretty much managed Jadeveon Clowney in pass protection, Clowney was destroying running plays. He has such a long first step that he was so fast in the backfield. This led to Sirianni jokingly asking Clowney to stop ruining their plays.

8. Reid Sinnett got some second-team reps on Friday but didn’t make the most of it. He missed a big opener from Britain Covey and the attack looked a little scrappy with him in there. But don’t worry about Sinnett losing his No. 3 spot. Carson Strong finally got some reps and didn’t look sharp. On one play he showed his cannon with one arm but didn’t fire a ball at anyone in particular which hit a large pad in the back of the end zone. Camp was tough for the Nevada rookie.

9. The Eagles fullback made a lot of plays on Friday. Kyzir White had an interception and got caught on his own when he dropped another. He’s a great linebacker. And then Marcus Epps and Darius Slay had huge pass breakups during the most competitive training period. Epps had PBU diving on a targeted pass for tight end Harrison Bryant. And then a few plays later, Slay hit a ball intended for Amari Cooper. On this play, Cooper was open but Jacoby Brissett’s pass was late and Slay closed very quickly.

ten. Scary moment for Calcaterra in his first training after a hamstring injury:

Stupid observation of the day: Since training the Browns in Berea, Ohio, the Eagles have used the locker room at FirstEnergy Stadium to get dressed before practice. They then took buses from downtown Cleveland to the Browns practice facility, about 25 minutes away. By the time the Eagles arrived they had to use the bathroom. So every day there were about 20 NFL players lining up to get into one of these trailer pots before practice. It looked like Sirianni had taken her class on a field trip.

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