Eagles TC Day 8: Elliott Delivers, Wentz Scaled Back Further
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Pressure situations. That's what it's about for placekickers in the NFL.
You might think stepping up to the plate to hit a game-winning 61-yarder against the New York Giants might be pressure-packed or knocking through a key field goal on the biggest stage of them all in Minneapolis is as nerve-racking as it gets but for Jake Elliott, putting through a simple 45-yarder on the far practice field at the NovaCare Complex on August 3 might be the toughest environment he will ever have to kick in.
That's because Doug Pederson put a Friday night for the entire team on the shoulders of his diminutive kicker. Make it and the scheduled team meetings would be canceled with a day off looming Saturday. Miss it and everyone would be working into the night in South Philly.
Elliott slipped it inside the right upright and the team erupted.
Pederson has a flair for ending his practices on an up note and accomplished that yet again in Day 8 of training camp with the first open practice set for Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night.
The big news Friday continued to be Carson Wentz, who did less during the scaled-back session than any other since camp began. The rehabbing QB did some light individual work before putting on a baseball cap and watching the rest of what was a 10/10/10 practice.
After things wrapped up, Pederson admitted that last Saturday's session in which there was a pile-up near Wentz's legs during team drills caused the Eagles to pull back a little. Since then the third-year QB, who is attempting to come back from a torn ACL and LCL, hasn't been put in harm's way.
“That’s part of it,” Pederson admitted. “That’s what we saw last week. Right now is not the time to risk that. It’s all a part of his plan and his progression.”
Pederson insisted that there has been no setback with Wentz, who has sat out of team drills for five straight sessions.
“What you see out here is considered backward,” Pederson said. “What we see in the building and what he does with our strength and conditioning staff is still progressive. It doesn’t have to be every snap, every football situation go forward, you know what I mean? What you see out here is one small tidbit of what he’s doing collectively inside this building.”
The Eagles are now less than five weeks away from the season opener against Atlanta and Wentz is still less than eight months post-surgery. The last hurdle is being cleared for contact.
“Carson is out here working his tail off every single day," Pederson said. "He’s throwing individual routes. There’s going to come a time where we game plan and we’re game-plan specific. If he gets a chance to be in there, then we work. But for now, 7-on-7s and the things that we’re doing with the starters and Carson, and all of that is preparing him for that day we cross that bridge."
DAY 8 NEWS AND NOTES
-Elliott was 6-of-6 on the day with his field-goal attempts.
-Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz was given a day off and veteran defensive tackle Haloti Ngata returned after being given a veteran's day on Thursday. Both Josh Sweat (ankle) and Richard Rodgers (arm) missed the practice after leaving early on Thursday.
-The defense was back to using Sidney Jones in the slot with Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby in their typical outside positions. One interesting development there is the fact that Mills indicated he feels more comfortable outside.
-There was a little scuffle between CB De'Vante Bausby and rookie receiver Anthony Mahoungou.
-Darren Sproles was the top kick returner and the top back in the hurry-up offense. We have been speculating about Sproles to kick returns making sense with the new rules.
-After sitting out the spring with a foot injury former Notre Dame star Josh Adams has been starting to show some things while working on the third-team. At 225 pounds and with Matt Jones sidelined, Adams has looked like the Eagles' most powerful pack, albeit against lesser competition.
-The Eagles spent a lot of time on special teams Friday. Elliott tried three onsides kicks, each to himself, one he recovered but the other two were corralled by Kamu Grugier-Hill and Rodney McLeod.
-On kickoff coverage, hers's how the Eagles lined up: L1 Wendell Smallwood, L2 Jordan Hicks, L3 Nigel Bradham, L4 Sidney Jones, L5 Ronald Darby, R1 Mack Hollins, R2 Joe Walker, R3 Dallas Goedert, R4 Stephen Roberts, R5 Jalen Mills. The second group used was: L1 Tre Sullivan, L2 Kamar Aiken, L3 Corey Clement, L4 Avonte Maddox, L5 Rodney McLeod, R1 LaRoy Reynolds, R2 Kamu Grugier-Hill, R3 Nate Gerry, R4 Rasul Douglas, R5 Malcolm Jenkins.
-The upbacks on KR when Sproles was returning were Smallwood and Corey Clement. Nelson Agholor was the second-team KR and his upbacks were Mack Hollins and Mike Wallace.
-The personal protector for Cameron Johnston on punts was Tre Sullivan.
-Injured DT Tim Jernigan was in the locker room after practice but wasn't talking about a timetable for his return. He simply said: “Ask coach.”
-Chris Long and Michael Bennett have become fast friends and have lockers next to each other. Long put on his reporter cap and asked Bennett: "Who do you like better Coach [Pete] Carroll or Coach Pederson?" Bennett went the political route: "I like them both equal."
-I was able to ask Kamu Grugier-Hill, Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham about how the officials called the helmet rule in the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday night. All were skeptical, to say the least.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen