Eagles TC Day 5: Eagles Go Live; Scramblin’ Joe Punctuates Practice
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles went live for the first time in training camp during Tuesday's practice and did not put Carson Wentz in harm's way.
The rehabbing quarterback was relegated to individual drills and 7-on-7 work for the second consecutive session as the Eagles attempt to slowly ramp Wentz up to ensure he is ready for the regular season.
That meant another quarterback had the opportunity to be the star of the day and it wasn't the Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles or the "future MVP" as Mack Hollins' describes Nate Sudfeld. It was Joe Callahan, the former Holy Spirit High School star, who led the Eagles' offense to a scoring drive with two big plays to end practice on a high note.
First Callahan extended things beautifully before finding 5-foot-9 receiver Rashard Davis, a young player Doug Pederson has often singled out for his improvement, in the middle of the field for a big catch-and-run.
"Rashard did a nice job with the scramble drill," Callahan told 973espn.com after practice. "Just noticing he was open and giving me a nice target to throw to."
Moments later, Callahan, who started his NFL career in Green Bay learning from All-Pro Aaron Rodgers, again pulled a Houdini act unleashing a trademark Rodgers pirouette before spinning out of trouble and finding a diving DeAndre Carter for a 20-yard score.
"I felt the pocket collapse on my left and spun out," Callahan said. "The defender didn't have any eyes and Carter did a nice job giving me a target and the ability to put the pull in the end zone. ... That was one of the things we worked on a lot in Green Bay and one of the things we emphasized the other day in the QB room was working the scramble drill in certain periods so it was nice to see it come together out there."
Doug Pederson felt that was a good place to put the punctuation on the session and blew the whistle to end things for the day.
"Those move the ball periods when it's live are always fun," Callahan said. "It's as close to a real game feel as you can get in practice. It was exciting to move the ball a little bit and get some live reps out there."
The 6-foot-1 Callahan spent parts of the 2016 and 2017 seasons with the Packers where he tried to take advantage of his time with Rodgers, arguably the most talented QB in football.
"It was a great way to start my career learning from somebody who has proven himself in the NFL and has consistently been among the top three quarterbacks in the NFL for the past 10 years," Callahan said. "That's a guy that I asked questions constantly and tried to get as much information out of him as I could while I was in Green Bay."
Now Callahan is trying to take advantage of his time with perhaps the most talented QB room in football.
"They've been great," he said of Wentz, Foles, and Sudfeld. "They welcomed me right away. You can tell they're a tight-knit group. They are close friends at work and then outside the facility as well. With any work relationship, it takes some time to get to know the people you are working with but they were very welcoming and friendly so on top of them being great quarterbacks they are also great guys."
DAY 5 NEWS AND NOTES
-Along with Wentz, starting left tackle Jason Peters, who is also rehabbing from a torn ACL, was held out of live drills. Peters had handled the majority of the work with the first team through the initial four practices. Halapoulivaati Vaitai, his replacement last season, took over the first-team work in the live periods.
-Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks was back at practice after missing Sunday’s session with dehydration. Brooks was fine after receiving IVs at the hospital and looked 100 percent while speaking after practice.
-Receiver Shelton Gibson and running back Matt Jones left practice early. Gibson was shaken up after running a slant and taking a hit. He was ultimately able to also walk off slowly but it certainly looked like a potential concussion.
-Jordan Hicks worked at outside linebacker on several occasions during practice, mainly in the base defense while Nigel Bradham and Joe Walker took MIKE reps. Jim Schwartz always preaches versatility and claimed it was simply cross-training.
-It was against the third-team defense but second-year running back Donnel Pumphrey put together a few nice few reps and even ran through some arm tackles which never happened last year so he does seem to have added some much-needed strength.
-It was Sidney Jones' day in the slot and the current score has Jones with three days on the first-team and De'Vante Bausby with two. Avonte Maddox was again the second-team option with D.J. Killings missing his second consecutive practice. Bausby, meanwhile, worked on the outside. Schwartz said Jones is “way ahead” of where a typical rookie would be after essentially redshirting the 2017 season.
-Bausby made another play today, intercepting Foles, who overthrew Zach Ertz on a fade pattern near the end zone.
-Rookie Josh Sweat just looks like an edge rusher and got some reps on the left side after spending most of his top on the opposite end during the first four practices. His first step is impressive and if the knee holds up, the Eagles got a steal in the fourth round.
-Rookie Jordan Mailata mentioned Sweat and Steven Means as the guys giving him an early education.
-Schwartz insisted he wasn't too concerned with the new helmet rule and that the players tend to adapt pretty quickly.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen