Eagles TC Day 7: Defense Tops Offense in Goal-Line Work
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles went live on the goal line Thursday and the defense got the best of a Carson Wentz-less offense, at least according to first-year offensive coordinator Mike Groh.
Wentz sat out teams drills for the fourth consecutive session but was again on the field doing individual work and some 7-on-7 drills, heading off to a separate field to work on his rehab at times.
The only noticeable issue with Wentz was stopping on occasion after a sprint but the QB mentioned Wednesday that each day is different when it comes to his knee, which is not even nine months post-ACL and LCL surgery.
As far as the offense, Nick Foles and company got four opportunities to punch it in and were able to do so twice, on a bulldozing Corey Clement run behind the massive right side of the offensive line, as well as a bubble screen to Zach Ertz in which the Pro Bowl tight end made a beautiful grab on a high toss before reaching and extending the football over the plane. Mike linebacker Jordan Hicks was right there trying to stop it bit the bang-bang play was given to the offense.
The defense, meanwhile, easily stopped a designed roll out with the intention of getting the football to Ertz with Hicks and Malcolm Jenkins bracketing the tight end. Clement was also stuffed on another attempt to run the football in.
The second-team is when the defense really stood out as Nate Sudfeld and his unit couldn't find pay dirt on four tries. LB Kamu Grugier-Hill was the star of the sequence, first meeting Wendell Smallwood in the backfield for a TFL that ignited a "Kamu" chant and then breaking up a play-action pass designed to go to tight end Richard Rodgers.
Smallwood was also stopped when trying to get around the right edge when Michael Bennett pushed Taylor Hart onto the wrong side of the line of scrimmage and a shovel pass to the shifty Rashard Davis also went nowhere.
"I think [the defense] got the better of us today," Smallwood admitted when talking to 973espn.com. "I think they held it down on the goal-line-area. They were flying around today. I think we kinda got our butts kicked."
The third-team offense, led by South Jersey's Joe Callahan, was the most successful group scoring on back-to-back reps, a pass to TE Billy Brown who was in front of LB Core Nelson and a Josh Adams run over left tackle.
"I thought on the goal line there’s some areas that we need to improve," Groh said. "I thought the defense got the better of us there. We were looking at some things. The short-yardage situation, I thought, was very positive for us offensively. Good execution and got out of it what we wanted to get out of it."
DAY 7 NEWS AND NOTES:
-The bumps and bruises are started to pile up today staring with receiver Greg Ward who went into the medical tent during individual drills and emerged with a heavily-taped left ankle. Running back Matt Jones tried to go after misisng practice on Wednesday but limped off before the team work started trying to loosen up what looked like his left groin.
-In practice both rookie defensive end Josh Sweat and tight end Richard Rodgers were forced to leave. Sweat tweaked his surgically-repaired knee but was able to walk off on his own and teammates in the locker room said they did not believe the injury was serious. Rodgers, meanwhile, injured his arm on shoulder trying to make a contested catch.
-WR Bryce Treggs was activated from the NFI list and practiced for the first time this summer. Treggs confirmed to 973espn.com that he had some cartilage damage under his kneecap which was more a wear-and-tear thing from the grind of being a receiver not from any specific injury or act.
"It felt good to be back out there," Treggs said after practice. "After missing the first six practices and watching [the guys] doing routes on the side it was good to get a defender in front of me and have to make some movements like that so it was really nice to get back out there."
-Veteran nose tackle Haloti Ngata was given a veteran's day.
-Jim Schwartz must have been listening to The Sports Bash on Wednesday because a day after I called for it and after six days of rotating Sidney Jones and De'Vanye Bausby at the nickel cornerback slot, the first-team nickel defense saw Jalen Mills move inside with Jones taking his place outside the numbers.
-Asked about veteran left tackle Jason Peters’ off-field contributions to this team, Mike Groh joked that the big man is "the DJ on Bus 3.”
- It wouldn't be a day at Eagles' training camp without the Isaac Seumalo bad-snap report and the checkmark was placed in the column again on Thursday.
-Second-year corner Rasul Douglas had one of the plays of the day in team drills, going to the ground to pick off an errant Nate Sudfeld pass. The other on defense, which excited the crowd, was when Malcolm Jenkins picked off Foles and then stiff-armed Rodgers to the ground.
-For the offense, a brilliant play call had Rodgers and Joshua Perkins flooding the zone and breaking wide open because rookie safety Jeremy Reaves didn't know who to defend.
-Steven Means ended the session by sacking Joe Callahan and breaking out his hammer celebration. Few players in the entire NFL can match Means' energy on a daily basis.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen