July 28, 2023   5 MIN READ

‘Shout Out To Nakobe Dean’

Training Camp Observations: Swift Showcases Smooth Hands; More Personnel Groupings


On the heels of Thursday’s walkthrough, the Eagles returned to the scorching confines of the NovaCare Complex under an unrelenting July sun to kick off the second practice of training camp.

While Wednesday’s practice covered just under one hour, Friday’s session clocked in around 75 minutes.

Training Camp

ITB PHOTO: Rookie EDGE Nolan Smith (3) runs during a warm-up drill at Eagles training camp.

First, the injuries – much the same as Wednesday’s report:

  • EDGE Hasson Reddick (groin) didn’t practice.
  • CB Avonte Maddox (toe); DE Derek Barnett (knee) were limited.
  • RB Boston Scott at one point appeared to be shaken up as he made his way to the sideline but later returned.

Let’s get on with the observations.

  • Cam Jurgens opened practice as first-team right guard once again. Hardly a surprise to see Jurgens solely commanding the first-team reps to open camp, at least initially. Given their investment in him, and Jurgens’ pedigree, the Eagles presumably will give him every opportunity to seize the job.
  • Interested to see how the Eagles distribute the safety reps moving forward, as Friday featured first-teamers Reed Blankenship and K’Von Wallace, with veterans Terrell Edmunds and Justin Evans appearing with the second team. Edmunds would later rejoin the first-team alongside Blankenship.
  • Unsurprisingly, rookie Sydney Brown worked with the third team for the second consecutive open practice. The Eagles appear to be in no rush to toss Brown into the deep end. Say what you will about Wallace, but it’s evident the Eagles hold him in higher regard than the consensus. Wallace also delivered a pop on running back Kenny Gainwell.
  •  The second day of camp failed to provide additional clarity on the running back landscape, showcasing a heavy first-team rotation, as Nick Sirianni said would happen.
  • While on the subject, I thought D’Andre Swift really delivered as advertised as a natural pass-catcher, at one point reeling in two consecutive passes during the team portion. I actually thought most of the running backs looked comfortable catching the football, but Swift in particular looked smooth and explosive. His receiving prowess will be tapped into this season.
  • Jalen Carter is exhilarating to watch. His power at the point of attack, quickness, and lightning-quick burst is something to behold. I very much look forward to Carter’s 1-on-1 matchups when the pads come on.
  • It was Josiah Scott – not Zech McPearson – this time assuming first-team nickel reps in place of Maddox during team periods. I thought Scott largely held his own –  even had ideal positioning on a perfectly placed strike from Jalen Hurts to A.J. Brown – but it wasn’t meant to be for Scott. Perhaps the thought here was to mix and match personnel while Maddox is on the mend.
  • Marcus Mariota, who reportedly showcased a shaky debut Wednesday, generally rebounded, launching a deep heave to wide receiver Greg Ward for a would-be touchdown, with cornerback Josh Jobe trailing.
  • Speaking of Josh Jobe, the second-year cornerback bounced back shortly thereafter against the first-team offense, coming over to breakup an under-thrown deep shot to DeVonta Smith during team drills. Jobe nearly came up with an interception.
  • Olamide Zaccheaus, an offseason addition, appeared spry and explosive on a couple of passes from Mariota, his former Falcons teammate. Zaccheaus, the former Virginia standout, showcased his short-area burst and upfield explosion after the catch on both. Really interested in seeing this skill set manifest during the preseason, as it adds another dimension to an already prolific offense and alleviates pressure from Hurts.
  • Rookie free agent wideout Joseph Ngata used his frame and catch radius extremely well, corralling a couple of impressive receptions this morning. Ngata – a player I annually pegged as an ACC breakout player at Clemson – will be one to watch during 1-on-1s. I think he’s really going to open some eyes in contested-catch opportunities.
  • It didn’t take long for journeyman wide receiver Deon Cain to reacclimate himself on the NovaCare practice fields, where he nearly parlayed his 2022 late-summer success into a roster spot. On Day 2 in Act II, Cain – donning the innocuous No. 39 – was active early in team drills, corralling a series of passes.
  • Beyond the top three or four receivers, there will be a legitimate opportunity for someone like Cain, Ngata, or Tyrie Cleveland to stake their claim to an elusive spot on the 53, though special teams performance will be the ultimate indicator.
  • Caught up with CB James Bradberry after practice, who at the end of his answer, noted: “Shout out to Nakobe Dean, ‘cause he’s doing a great job of communicating as well.” Dean, of course, is a first-year starter tasked with donning the green dot on his helmet in ’23.
  • Cleveland, Zaccheaus, and Edmunds were among the handful of Eagles continuing to work on the field well after practice ended. Edmunds and Zaccheaus are notable because both players are established veterans who are all but assured roster spots, barring something unforeseen. Cleveland, on the other hand, is hardly assured anything other than an opportunity to complete for a place at the proverbial table. Was good to see the 25-year-old putting in extra work and honing his craft.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.

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1 Comment

  • Charles

    Great breakdown, Andrew!