10 observations from Eagles OTAs: JJ Arcega-Whiteside does it again; practice ends with big pick


Another beautiful spring day for practice in South Philadelphia.

After today, the Eagles will finish off their OTAs on Thursday in advance of next week’s three-day mandatory minicamp from June 11-13 (Tuesday-Thursday). After that, there’s a long layoff before training camp in late-July, early-August.  

Here are 10 observations from the Eagles’ ninth OTA practice (and the fourth and final OTA practice open to reporters): 

1. The end of Wednesday’s practice was fun. The first-team defense was lined up against the third-team offense with four chances to get in the end zone from the 10-yard line. 

The first play was a near interception by L.J. Fort. He was diving but the ball went right through his hands. It was the third or fourth dropped INT of the day.

“Is everybody going to drop a pick today?” Rasul Douglas yelled. 

The second play was a 6-yard gain on a short pass to Braxton Miller. 

The third pass was underthrown by Clayton Thorson in the end zone and Sidney Jones picked it off. A little redemption for Jones, who dropped an INT about two minutes earlier. It was a bad throw from Thorson, who had a shaky day. But Jones picked this pass off and the defense went crazy. 

2. Rookie wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside did it again today. Another great grab in the end zone. This time, it was a perfectly thrown ball from Nate Sudfeld and JJAW simply went up over cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon to make the grab in the back left corner of the end zone. He even got both feet inside the white line and the official at practice signaled touchdown. The kid just has great body control. 

3. Let’s take care of attendance. Not at practice: DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, Alshon Jeffery, Miles Sanders, Malcolm Jenkins, Nigel Bradham, Lane Johnson, Jason Peters, Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox. 

Jalen Mills and Blake Countess were spectators, while Mack Hollins, Ronald Darby and Corey Clement worked on a side field. Hollins ran routes for a while and looked pretty good. Maybe we really will see him at training camp. Darby warmed up with the team but didn’t practice. 

The new player, safety Trae Elston (see story), was practicing. He wears No. 35. 

4. Overall, I’d say the defense won the day. Carson Wentz didn’t have his sharpest practice and there weren’t many balls down the field. But a lot of that is likely because he was without his top three receivers. Without Jeffery, Jackson and Agholor, these receivers filled in: Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward, Charles Johnson and Shelton Gibson. Aside from that, though, there were also some false starts from the offense. This is the time to wipe out all the sloppiness. 

5. The Eagles used some of their three-safety look on defense during 11-on-11s. Added to the mix was Deiondre’ Hall. He joined Tre Sullivan and Andrew Sendejo. Hall has been making plays in recent practices. Last year, Hall was added in a trade near the start of the season and played just six defensive snaps all season. 

6. Dallas Goedert again made another impressive catch by using his big body. This one he caught in front of a defender near the sideline. I’m already expecting a big year from him.  

7. While everyone else seemed to be dropping picks, Douglas hauled in a terrible duck of a throw from Cody Kessler. Kessler airmailed it and Douglas was basically returning a punt. But he was quickly off to the races the other way. 

8. I haven’t been too impressed with Sudfeld in previous open practices this spring, but I thought he had a good day today, especially in the red zone. He fired in some passes to Richard Rodgers and Will Tye. And he made a nice throw to Marken Michel, who failed to make a tremendous diving catch in the end zone. 

One slightly scary moment came when Sudfeld tripped in his backpedal, but he popped right up and was fine. 

9. We saw Zach Brown in coverage on two plays. One was good, one not so good. Earlier in the practice, he stepped in front of a ball intended for Tye, but couldn’t haul in a pick (it was a theme on Wednesday). Later in the practice, he lined up 1-on-1 outside with soon-to-be training camp darling Boston Scott. Scott was just way too quick. He shook Brown with a couple steps and then made a nice diving catch to pick up a first down. 

10. During 7-on-7s, a far field housed OL vs. DL 1-on-1s. I didn’t catch all of them, but I was impressed by one rep from Jordan Mailata. Just a year and a half into his football career, he held up against a bull rush from Brandon Graham. He’s come so far. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: I’m short. 

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