Eagles Practice Report: Defense Bounces Back After Slow Start
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - A day after the first live periods of training camp the Eagles were back on the practice field in shorts and shells for a session focused heavily on red-zone work.
It was a mixed bag for the offense which continued to work without receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) and running back LeGarrette Blount (family matter).
Carson Wentz and Co. were inconsistent, starting out hot in team drills with a perfectly thrown wheel route to Darren Sproles for a touchdown and a slant toward the back of the end zone that found Trey Burton beating Patrick Robinson. Burton caught another slant as well, inside of Jalen Mills in what was essentially a 2-point conversion.
Things slowed from there, however, with the much-maligned secondary rebounding with a series of PBU's, including a nice strip by backup corner C.J. Smith.
Smith, who went to school at North Dakota State with Wentz, has been mixing in with the first team at times and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz spoke about his progress after practice.
"He's still a young player," Schwartz cautioned. "He has made some plays so far, and we need corners that can make plays. But I think all the guys have made plays. It's just they need to be consistent. When you play corners, if you make one mistake, it can be a touchdown, it can be a ball over your head. You can spoil three good plays in a row. From that whole group, C.J. included, we need consistency. We're very encouraged by him. He's doing a good job."
Once the success wasn't there Wentz seemed to lose at least a bit of his accuracy and in one stretch of 17 plays in both 7-on-7s and team drills, the offense failed to find the end zone.
"I liked the way the guys came out today and competed," Schwartz said. "It was a lot of red zone work, which shrinks the field a little bit, but it’s also tough to defend."
DAY 9 NovaCare Notes:
-Also missing from practice were WR Paul Turner (shoulder), RB Donnel Pumphrey (hamstring), QB Nick Foles (elbow), DT Elijah Qualls (groin) and DE Alex McCalister (hamstring). WR Torrey Smith returned after missing Tuesday's practice with back spasms.
-Najee Goode continues to work with the starters during team drills while Jordan Hicks (finger) does individual and 7-on-7 work.
-Rookie Greg Ward continues to show impressive quickness from the slot while fellows receivers Marcus Johnson and Nelson Agholor continued their strong recent play.
Agholor beat Jalen Mills with a nice toe-tapping catch in the corner of the end zone and also schooled Smith on a slant.
-Backup safety Terrence Brooks had an interception after a Matt McGloin pass popped out of Anthony Denham's hands. CB Aaron Grymes also picked off a pass.
-Wentz overthrew Smith in the corner of the end zone and the receiver took out a security guard in a scary scene but everyone was OK.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen