Eagles-Ravens: ‘You Get an Interception, You Get an Interception’
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles finished up a pair of joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday in advance of Thursday's preseason matchup between the two teams.
Philadelphia sort of matched up with the Ravens' strength and weaknesses as a team, excelling at times on defense against a trio of inaccurate quarterbacks in Lamar Jackson, Penn State rookie Trace McSorley, and South Jersey native Joe Callahan, who who was in camp with the Eagles last year.
At one point near the end of the session, McSorley was playing Oprah to the Eagles' secondary: "you get an interception, you get an interception, you get an interception."
In one span of four or five plays, Tre Sullivan, Jeremiah McKinnon, and Ajene Harris all came up with on picks. Even defensive end Vinny Curry got in the act a little earlier, although that resulted in an ugly lateral attempt to Avonte Maddox and an eventual fumble recovery by Rodney McLeod. Linebacker T.J. Edwards also recorded a near interception.
The first-team Ravens offense goes heavy on 12 and 13 personnel because they have a host of talented tight ends and struggle with getting the ball outside the numbers. The lone exception to that Tuesday was massive rookie Miles Boykin, who is such a big target Jackson was able to hit him on a couple out routes.
To compensate the Eagles used more base defensive than usual with L.J. Fort as the Mike linebacker being flanked by Nate Gerry and Zach Brown. Nigel Bradham continues to work back in during 7-on-7 drills but admitted he's not close to team drills yet and needs to garner more confidence in the strength of his foot. When the Philadelphia defense wasn't in base, it was typically big nickel with Malcolm Jenkins essentially playing LB next to Gerry and McLeod and Andrew Sendejo playing safety.
There were a couple of interesting tweaks by Jim Schwartz. All one occasion he lined up Malik Jackson at left defensive end and had Brandon Graham inside while Ronald Darby flipped sides to left cornerback with Sidney Jones playing RC and Maddox in the slot.
Conversely, while the Eagles offense rebounded a bit from Monday's session against a tough Ravens' secondary, the completion percentage was still not great but above the 50-50 nature of Monday's effort. The highlight was on a corner route in the end zone to Alshon Jeffery in 7-on-7 work. It would have been a big deep ball to Mack Hollins but the struggling receiver let it slip through his fingertips.
Josh McCown felt a little more comfortable in his third practice since being signed and got the ball downfield a little bit more, at one point connecting with backup tight end Alex Ellis on a big gain.
"I’m still getting acclimated to the timing of just different guys, throwing to these guys and getting to know everybody," McCown said after practice. "That’s the main thing right now. Understand the system, knowing the calls, things like that. [The] coaches are doing a great job of teaching it."
TUESDAY PRACTICE NOTES:
-Got an opportunity to watch the Eagles O-Line working with the Ravens D-line in combo pass-protection/pass-rush drills. Andre Dillard was again a standout stoning Matthew Judon and Aaron Ayeoye. Huge Baltimore DT Brandon Williams really got the better of undrafted rookie Keegan Render, however. Tyus Bowser also bettered Matt Pryor when the latter was playing left tackle.
-There was a mini-scuffle between Eagles rookie DT Kevin Wilkins and Baltimore OG Isiah Williams.
-The Eagles are awaiting more tests on tight end Richard Rodgers, who was carted off Monday with a leg injury, although the early whispers weren't positive and Rodgers was seen on crutches.
-After getting some first-team reps Monday Corey Clement took a bit of a step back with a fumble today.
-Doug Pederson wouldn't confirm CB Jalen Mills would start the regular season on the PUP list and said the cornerback is doing well in his rehab although there is no sign he will be activated soon.
-One of the guests on hand Tuesday was Delran's Carli Lloyd of the World Cup-winning USWNT. A big Eagles fan who gave a shout-out to her favorite team at the victory parade earlier this summer Lloyd visited on a great day because perhaps the greatest kicker of all-time was also around, Baltimore's Justin Tucker. Lloyd was coached up by Tucker, Eagles K Jake Elliott and the former Mayor of Marlton, NJ, Ravens kicking coach Randy Brown before booming through a 55-yarder through the smaller AFL-like goalpost setup.
-Also around to visit was former Southern Cal long snapper Jake Olson, who walked on to one of college football's greatest programs despite being blind, an amazing story.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen