Camp Observations: Birds Solo For Last Dance
Stomach Bug Takes Fins Off Field
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — A stomach virus circulating the Miami Dolphins majorly altered Thursday’s scheduled second of two joints practices between the Eagles and Dolphins at the Baptist Health Training Complex.
The Dolphins cancelled their practice, leaving the Eagles to practice against themselves – like a typical training camp practice at the NovaCare Complex, just in South Florida at Miami’s complex.
The Eagles practiced for about an hour minutes, followed by a post-practice walkthrough to prepare for Saturday’s preseason finale.
The Eagles weren’t able to get revenge on the Dolphins, who were widely considered the narrow winners of Wednesday’s session, but still got plenty of work in for their final training camp practice of the 2022 season.
The team will be off Sunday and rosters will be trimmed to the NFL-mandated 53 by Tuesday afternoon. Practice for the Sept. 11 season opener against the Lions in Detroit will begin soon after.
Thursday was a red-zone day for the Eagles, with Jalen Hurts and Gardner Minshew taking all of the reps in team drills. Reid Sinnett and Carson Strong will get plenty of work in Saturday’s game.
Wide receiver A.J. Brown and left guard Landon Dickerson didn’t practice for rest seasons. Also out were defensive end Derek Barnett (ribs) and safety Andre Chachere (groin), as were the others who were out Wednesday except for offensive guard Jack Anderson, who returned.
On with the observations:
1) In his pre-practice news conference, Eagles coach Nick Sirianni gushed over Jalen Hurts’ performance in Wednesday’s joint session, calling it one of the best practices of Hurts’ career, which seemed strange because we of the dink-and-dunk nature of that practice, which was written about here. Sirianni couldn’t have been thrilled with Thursday’s effort by the first offense. Hurts was picked off twice and Minshew added another with the second team. In general, the offense looked choppy and one step behind. The defense seemed to know what the offense wanted to do. There were some offensive highlights, but very few, and Hurts spent a good deal of the session running instead of throwing.
2) If the Eagles had to play a game today, and if Miles Sanders was still out, Boston Scott would be the top ball carrier. Over the two practices, Scott appeared to take more reps with the first offense, or the first set of reps with the first offense. Not to say Kenneth Gainwell isn’t getting his touches, but Scott appears ahead right now on the depth chart. Obviously, that could change quickly.
3) Avonte Maddox was responsible for one of the two Hurts picks. Really nice play in which he jumped to snag an underthrow to DeVonta Smith. Earlier, Hurts was late on a toss to the right and was nearly picked by Anthony Harris before the ball settled in the hands of Darius Slay for an interception and return. Slay came back to practice after leaving Wednesday’s sessions after he came up slightly lame at the end of a 1-on-1 against Tyreek Hill, who beat him for a touchdown. Given the shaky depth at outside corner, the coaches were probably ecstatic to see Slay back.
4) Rookie tight end Grant Calcaterra took a reps with the first offense, a good sign as the team tries to ramp him back from missing a ton of time from a hamstring injury. Look for Calcaterra, a sixth-round pick, to get plenty of action Saturday as he pushes to be the No. 3 tight end. Noah Togiai has also had a good camp. I still think the Eagles keep just two tight ends and stash a few on the practice squad.
5) On that note, Tyree Jackson came out and watched some of practice from the sideline. He’s still on the Physically Unable To Perform list as he comes back from ACL surgery and will probably start of the season there, too, but he looked noticeably bigger in the chest and arms area. Hes already 6-foot-7, so that added muscle really stood out. Could be a boost to the offense sometime around mid-season.
6) Vic Fangio was on hand to observe practice again. It’s not the first time he’s attended an Eagles practice. The former Broncos head coach, and former 49ers and Bears defensive coordinators, has been spotted at practice a few times this summer.
7) Zach Pascal caught a nice touchdown from Hurts in the near right corner of the end zone on what looked like a sprint right option touchdown, or just a quick out sort of like the one Golden Tate caught from Nick Foles in the 2018 wild-card game against the Bears. Pascal got some more first-team run with Brown not practicing.
8) For one second, I thought Andy Reid was back. Near the goal line, the Eagles pulled off a well-executed shovel pass from Hurts to Dallas Goedert up the middle for a touchdown. Shades of Donovan McNabb shoveling to Brent Celek or Brian Westbrook, and shades of Patrick Mahomes shoveling to Travis Kelce.
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