Eagles’ Defense Stiffens in Live Periods
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The heat and humidity finally caught up with the Eagles Tuesday and the defense finally slowed down an offense which was missing its starting outside receivers, Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, as well as running back LeGarrette Blount.
Day 8 of training camp featured the first live periods of the summer, the first of which ended on the second play when Carson Wentz badly underthrew Marcus Johnson in double coverage, resulting in a Rasul Douglas interception.
The live periods featured the first-team offense against the second-team defensive and vice versa while the third-teamers squared off against each other.
Without Jeffery (shoulder), Smith (back spasms) and Blount (family matter), Johnson, Nelson Agholor and Mack Hollins got a lot of first-team reps at WR while second-year back Wendell Smallwood flourished running the football.
On the first live play of camp, Smallwood burst off left tackle for a significant gain until the hustling Chris Long helped catch him from behind. The big play was wasted, however, when Wentz, who had been very sharp in his previous two practice sessions, made the poor throw that Douglas snared.
Backup Jaylen Watkins also intercepted Wentz in practice as the defense as a whole recovered a bit from some struggles during previous days.
The offense did end on an up note, however, when Wentz play-faked to Smallwood before rolling right and finding Zach Ertz in the corner of the end zone on the final play of practice.
-Also missing for practice was quarterback Nick Foles (elbow), defensive tackle Elijah Qualls (groin), offensive lineman Josh Andrews (hand) and running back Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring).
-Cornerback Patrick Robinson called his day was terrible because he was beaten deep twice by Johnson.
-With Pumphrey sidelined, Byron Marshall replaced him in the team's "21 Pony" formation and saw a lot of action with the second-team.
-Hollins had an inconsistent day catching the football and the lengthy rookie WR seems to struggle with balls he needs to reach down for.
-Lane Johnson was rocking the head band today instead of the blonde wig and seems much more relaxed this season after suffering through a camp last year where the PED suspension was looming.
-Najee Goode was still working in the middle during team drills with the first-team defense. Jordan Hicks is only seeing action during individual drills and 7-on-7s.
-Nigel Bradham really rocked Bryce Treggs on an end around.
-Matt McGloin had the throw of the day, hitting Jordan Matthews in a tight window between Jalen Mills and Malcolm Jenkins.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen