‘Jordan’ Day at Eagles Training Camp
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The first full-squad practice at the NovaCare Complex was a scaled-back 10/10/10 version with a distinct 'Jordan' theme.
Whether it was receiver Jordan Matthews being at practice despite reports of unhappiness due to his lame-duck contract status, middle linebacker Jordan Hicks finally confirming his Honeymoon injury was a broken pinkie finger or Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor arguing LeBron vs. Jordan in the locker room, it seemed that everyone had some kind of Jordan on their minds.
It started before the afternoon practice began when reporters gathered around to see if No. 81 would take the field with his teammates and sure enough Matthews was there, showing no effects from the left knee tendinitis that drastically limited his spring work.
Matthews is entering the final year of his rookie deal and there were reports that some in the organization believed the wideout could have practiced more in the offseason but chose to be cautious because of his lame-duck contract status.
"I would literally never do that," Matthews said after practice. "You guys know me, from the time I have been here and I go to work. This is a privilege to be able to go to work regardless. Any time I can come out here and play I do that."
Earlier in the week, Doug Pederson indicated that Matthews might be somewhat limited in camp due to the knee issue but the veteran receiver was a full go on Thursday, starting by shagging punts in individual work and working in with the first-team at his usual slot position.
After a strong offseason replacing Matthews in the slot, Nelson Agholor was given the first rep with the starters but that figures to change relatively soon.
Matthews himself made the catch of the day in practice, an Alshon Jeffery-like high-pointing of the football over rookie defensive back Randall Goforth in the end zone on the back end of a Nick Foles throw.
"If you make plays, you get paid," Matthews said. "That takes care of itself."
Hicks was more limited in his work and did have a cast on his hand under a glove but the star Mike claimed if it was the regular season that he would be playing with no problems.
"I've been through so much, this is nothing," Hicks told reporters.
DAY 4 CAMP CHATTER:
-Second-year tackle Dillon Gordon might end up being the biggest winner in the Allen Barbre trade. The 6-foot-4, 322-pound LSU product was used on the first team as an extra blocker when the Eagles went with an unbalanced line and he also mixed in for Jason Peters as the 35-year-old veteran was on a bit of a pitch count on Day 1.
-The second-team offensive line from left to right without Barbre was: Gordon, Chance Warmack, Stefen Wisniewski, Josh Andrews and Halapoulivaati Vaitai.
-Rookie Donnel Pumphrey continued to get plenty of work in the receiving game and dropped a perfect swing pass at one point. Pumphrey, however, has taken to a receiving role well considering he wasn't asked to do much of it at San Diego State.
-Ron Brooks was in his familiar nickel back position with the first-team defense while Jalen Mills was at left corner and Patrick Robinson on the right side, giving rookie Rasul Douglas more of a margin for error. Malcolm Jenkins raved about Robinson's skill set on Wednesday in the locker room.
-Vinny Curry was the starter at right defensive end opposite of Brandon Graham while first-round pick Derek Barnett backed up Curry and Chris Long handled the duties on the left side for the second team.
-Backup linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill made a nice play by punching the ball out from behind after Zach Ertz made a reception.
-Jeffery had a rare drop on a poorly thrown Nick Foles ball that he got his hands on. He also made a spectacular catch on a fade from Carson Wentz on the right sideline, showing off his vaunted catching radius.
-Safety Terrence Brooks ended practice by pulling up just as he was about to blow up tight end Anthony Denham, who was on a seam route tracking a Matt McGloin throw.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen