Over the next few weeks of training camp as the Eagles try to decide who to keep on their 53-man roster, we’ll be catching up weekly with seventh-round defensive tackle Moro Ojomo from Texas. We’ll be tracking his progress as he tries to make the Eagles’ roster.
Moro Ojomo knifed through the Browns’ offensive line, picked up running back Jordan Wilkins and flung him to the ground.
Then Ojomo flexed and let out a primal scream.
“I think I was just excited,” said Ojomo, who smiled in acknowledgement of the play and subsequent celebration. “We were out there competing and it feels good when you do good. If you play this game, you gotta have fun playing this game.”
This play happened in the second of two joint practices between the Eagles and Browns at the NovaCare Complex this week. While the third-team didn’t get much work, Ojomo got plenty of opportunities rotating in with the second-team defensive line and continued to make some plays.
Overall, the Eagles were disappointed with their performance on the first day of joint practices, especially on offense. The entire team seemed to lack some juice on Monday. That wasn’t the case on Tuesday, when they really began to dominate the Browns.
Ojomo said the energy was definitely up after the leaders on the team pushed everyone to be better.
The most exciting period on Tuesday came at the end of practice, when both teams gathered around the same field and cheered on their teammates. The Eagles decidedly won all four drives.
“That was fun,” Ojomo said. “Everyone was juiced, everyone was just competing and everyone was just competing to get better.”
Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni really cares about these joint practices. In many ways, he feels like they are even more important than preseason games because the Eagles are able to get more reps in a controlled environment that, theoretically, lessens the chance for injury.
The Eagles will hold another joint practice next week with the Colts.
The last couple of days gave Ojomo a chance to see what NFL joint practices were all about and he really enjoyed them.
“I didn’t know what it would be like,” he said. “What I have enjoyed a lot is the energy from the teams and the competition, hitting another color. I think it builds camaraderie and builds the team dynamic. So it was cool.”
These joint practices began just a couple days after the Eagles’ first preseason game in Baltimore on Saturday night. That was Ojomo’s first chance to play in an NFL game and he didn’t disappoint.
Ojomo played 40 snaps (62%) on defense in the 20-19 loss to the Ravens. The only players who were on the field more than him on defense were Sydney Brown, Mekhi Garner and Ben VanSumeren, who all played 41 snaps.
“It was fun. It was cool,” Ojomo said. “And then I kind of just got back to football and it was exciting to be with such a great organization.”
Ojomo finished with three combined tackles and his first tackle for loss. Here’s a recap of Ojomo’s three tackles: No gain, no gain, loss of one.
Once Ojomo got on the field and began playing, the nerves dissipated. But he definitely felt some nervousness before taking the field for the first time.
“Maybe a little bit. But good nerves,” he said. “Not really anxiety but good nerves. I think if you care, nerves generally show that you care. It was kind of just that.”
Training camp can sometimes be monotonous but the joint practices help to break that up. Ojomo agreed that he's gotten into a rhythm that works for him this summer.
The Eagles will have their second preseason game on Thursday night against the Browns. They’ll be back at practice on Saturday and Sunday by themselves before welcoming the Colts for a joint practice on Tuesday. The final preseason game of the summer is next Thursday, Aug. 24. After that game, final cuts are looming on Aug. 29.
A couple more weeks for Ojomo to prove he belongs on the 53-man roster.
Goal for next week: “I love the path that we’re on as a team. Just continue growing as a team and getting closer.”