Eagles training camp observations: Goedert continues to dominate


The Eagles held their 12th training camp practice of the summer at the NovaCare Complex and will be heading to Cleveland later this week for some joint practices.

On Tuesday, the Eagles were in shorts and shells for a practice that lasted just under an hour and a half. It was a “yellow” practice today.

To the observations:

1. As always, housekeeping:

• Miles Sanders landed on the report with a hamstring injury. Sanders also missed Sunday’s practice with “leg soreness” so the hamstring designation isn’t a great sign. This is a big season upcoming for Sanders as he enters his fourth year in the NFL.

• Limited in practice: Le’Raven Clark (hamstring), John Hightower (groin), Jimmy Moreland (ankle), Boston Scott (concussion).

• Did not practice: Grant Calcaterra (hamstring), Christian Ellis (hamstring), Marcus Epps (back), Javon Hargrave (toe), Jason Kelce (elbow) Jared Mayden (ankle), Sanders (hamstring), Greg Ward (toe).

• James Bradberry was injured during Tuesday’s practice. He took a brief trip to the medical tent. While he didn’t leave practice, returning to watch, he did not participate in any more 11-on-11s or 7-on-7s during this session.

• Andre Dillard was practicing on Tuesday. He left the field early on Sunday after getting in a few fights. The Eagles took him in to check him out for precautionary reasons because Dillard recently got over a concussion.

• New defensive back Ugo Amadi (the return in the JJAW trade) was in Philly on Tuesday but was not yet practicing. He’s wearing No. 32.

2. Jalen Hurts threw his best pass of the summer on Tuesday. In an 11-on-11 session, he threw a perfect deep ball to A.J. Brown, hitting his best friend in perfect stride down the right sideline. Hurts threaded the needle between cornerback Josh Jobe and safety K’Von Wallace in coverage. Sure, this wasn’t a pass that beat normal starters, but it was still a tight window. The defensive backs had tight coverage.

We’ve seen Hurts throw some pretty teardrop deep balls in practice but this one was more of a laser out of necessity. Came off his hand with impressive zip.

3. Give credit to Hurts for having a strong day of practice because he didn’t get off to a great start. The Eagles’ defense dominated in a team red zone period at the start of camp. Hurts found Zach Pascal for a touchdown on the first play but then the defense didn’t give up an inch. We saw some sacks, tight coverage and a pass breakup as Jonathan Gannon’s unit put on the clamps.

4. In his two practices since returning from a groin injury, DeVonta Smith has been a major part of the offense. Early in camp, Brown was seeing way more targets but that has flipped the last two days. The thing that really impresses me about Smith is his body control. He can leap in the air, contort his body and make sure his feet come down in bounds about as well as anyone in the league.

He had a couple near the sideline. On one, he was able to make a sideline catch with Josh Sweat (!) in coverage. On the other, he caught a rocket from Hurts, who rolled left. It was a play that would have been a sack in a real game, but Smith’s catch was still impressive.

5. On that aforementioned play, it was Haason Reddick who should have been credited with a sack. On that particular snap, Reddick lined up as a standup rusher inside Brandon Graham, who was the defensive end. Reddick shot the B gap and was untouched on his way to Hurts. Reddick will obviously be used primarily as an edge rusher but we’ve seen them move him around a little bit.

6. It was a big Dallas Goedert day. Heck, it’s been a big Dallas Goedert Summer. He’s been targeted more than any other Eagle in training camp and Tuesday might have been his best day yet. During 7-on-7s in the red zone, Hurts hit Goedert on three consecutive passes. The last one was a touchdown in front of T.J. Edwards, who had tight coverage. Goedert is just really hard to cover because of his ability to use his body to box out.

A little later on an 11-on-11 rep from the goal line, Hurts pulled the ball on a play action rollout and found Goedert in the end zone. It was a perfect touch pass from Hurts, who waited out the defender long enough to force a decision. Those plays put defenses in a bind because Hurts has the ability to run it himself but you can’t leave Goedert either.

7. Second-year running back Kenny Gainwell hasn’t had a great camp and dropped a couple passes on Tuesday. One was tougher than the other but they were both balls he probably should have hauled in. Gainwell has the smoothest hands of the running back group but there have been a few hiccups this summer.

8. Jordan Davis got one of his big paws in the air to bat down a pass from Gardner Minshew during team drills. Those plays might show up during the season, especially if Davis gets double-teamed as much as we expect.

9. Without Marcus Epps on Tuesday, the Eagles tried a few different players next to Anthony Harris. We saw Wallace, Josiah Scott and Reed Blankenship get reps with the first-team defense. Jaquiski Tartt and Andre Chachere did not.

While working with the third team, Blankenship had an interception that was thrown directly at him by Reid Sinnett. Still, nice concentration from Blankenship, who made the play.

Scott also got some reps at nickel cornerback on Tuesday with the second-team defense. First time I remember him back there since he began playing safety. But we also saw Chachere get some reps at the nickel too. Gannon really cares about versatility.

10. Noah Togiai had another impressive day. He’s been stacking them the last week or so. He had a touchdown catch in 7-on-7s and then again in 11-on-11s. His second touchdown was a beauty in the back of the end zone. He caught the Minshew pass over Chachere.

Stupid Observation of the Day: Normally, I try to avoid the football at all costs during practice. No good can come of it. (If I make a play, no one cares; if I make a fool of myself, everyone cares.) But on Tuesday, an incompletion came in hot and took a bounce right toward me. Snagged it with one hand, underhand tossed it back to the ball boy. Phew. Disaster averted.

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