Wentz Excels at Open Practice
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) – Carson Wentz was extremely sharp Sunday at the Eagles’ open practice in front of over 36,000 at Lincoln Financial Field.
The second-year quarterback had a field day by finding tight windows in both one-on-one and team drills starting with a beautiful over the shoulder throw on a corner route to Jordan Matthews, who was being doggedly pursued by Malcolm Jenkins in a one-on-one battle.
Wentz also found a streaking Agholor on a go route but the resurgent receiver dropped the football with C.J. Smith a step behind. The speedy Torrey Smith also beat Patrick Robinson on a deep ball while the best throw of the day might have been a seam route to Trey Burton in team drills with three defenders converging.
Despite the drop, Agholor gets more separation than any other receiver on Philadelphia’s roster right now while rookie Shelton Gibson may have finally turned a corner after a slow start to his pro career, making two brilliant receptions, one where he came back and attacked the football over a defensive back and another where he laid out completely for the football.
In other practice news, the team’s WR1, Alshon Jeffery, was back in action after missing a week of practice with a shoulder injury. The former Pro Bowl selection was worked back in judiciously, however, and did most of his work in individual drills.
Veteran Corey Graham also made his practice debut playing safety with many single-high looks. At 32, Graham’s cornerback days are likely behind him so his presence may mean more “Big Nickel” for the Eagles, a strategy that puts Malcolm Jenkins in the slot while Graham enters at safety opposite Rodney McLeod on obvious passing downs.
Philadelphia went that way last season after the Ron Brooks injury but wasn’t thrilled with Jaylen Watkins’ performance.
“Malcolm has played some nickel in the past, particularly when we like some of those match-ups in there, so there’s potential for that opportunity for a safety to come in – a three-safety package, which we played probably more due to necessity last year,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Some was on our terms, but some was due to necessity. But it allows us potentially to do it more on our terms.”
Missing from practice today were quarterback Nick Foles (elbow), receiver Paul Turner (shoulder), offensive lineman Josh Andrews (hand) and tight end Anthony Denham.
Monday’s practice is scheduled to be the final one of training camp with live periods.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen