Ravens-Eagles Practice in Oppressive Heat
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles hosted the first of two joint practices with the Baltimore Ravens Monday in advance of a Week 3 preseason matchup between the two teams play at Lincoln Financial Field on Thursday night.
In blistering heat in which the AccuWeather real feal went well over 100 degrees, at least three different Philadelphia players had to come out early, including first-round pick Andre Dillard, veteran linebacker Zach Brown, and rookie interior offensive lineman Nate Herbig.
The Eagles' first-team offense got valuable work against what was the No. 1 ranked defense in football last season and arguably has the most talented defensive backfield in the league.
Nothing was easy especially against Ravens' cornerback Marlon Humphrey and future Hall of Famer Earl Thomas playing center field but Carson Wentz and Co. accomplished a few things, including a deep toss to Alshon Jeffrey and a nice touch throw to Nelson Agholor on the right side. Conversely, Humphrey proved to be a CB DeSean Jackson couldn't just blow by.
The lone touchdown from Wentz came in red-zone work with Mack Hollins working the seam.
Everything was earned, however, as the Ravens' talented back end rarely blew coverages or was out of position.
The 40-year-old Josh McCown had his first real practice as a member of the Eagles after the scaled-back 10/10/10 session on Sunday and was ramped up quickly working with the second-team offense. He generally checked the ball down and was a little scattershot with downfield throws but that's to be expected.
Cody Kessler was cleared from concussion protocol and worked some but rookie Clayton Thorson was more impressive, hitting J.J. Arcega-Whitside and Marken Michel for back-to-back TDs in third-team work.
The sessions are a valuable way for Philadelphia to really test what it has against another well-respected organization with its own playoff aspirations in 2019. Familiar face John Harbaugh, like Eagles mentor Doug Pederson, an Andy Reid acolyte, is entering his 12th year in charge in Baltimore but his first with Lamar Jackson as the undisputed leader of his offense.
"Getting 40 or 50 reps at practice going against guys that are really good and it's a completely different scheme than we go against every day. If I was playing a preseason game, I'd get 12 reps max," Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz explained.
On the injury front, Josh Sweat joined Kessler in returning after sitting out Sunday with a knee injury while receiver Charles Johnson missed the practice and was listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury.
The far bigger issue, however, was tight end Richard Rodgers getting carted off after injuring a foot/leg on a reception. He had missed a number of practices with a foot injury previously and Doug Pederson came to check on him before the cart exited the field.
MONDAY PRACTICE NOTES:
-The Ravens starting CBs -- Humphrey and Jimmy Smith -- are very good and forced Wentz to fit the football is very tight windows. Overall Wentz's completion percentage was nowhere near the 65 to 70 percent you would like.
-Corey Clement got quite a bit of work with the first-team offense, which was a bit of a surprise.
-Ravens All-Pro kicker Justin Tucker was using an Arena-league setup to practice his field goals. Perhaps all kickers should try that.
-Cre’Von LeBlanc came out to watch practice from the sideline and was still wearing a boot on his right foot. He was moving very well in the locker room after the session without the boot.
-With all the O-Lineman down Anthony Fabiano got some work on the third team as a left tackle while Brett Toth was started out at right tackle.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen