Sunday, October 26, 2014
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Eagles practice observations: Wolff returns; Carroll with the starters; McCoy sizzles

The Eagles held their final open practice at Lincoln Financial Field. Their final open session will be at Franklin Field next Sunday. Let’s get to today’s highlights:

Eagles practice observations: Wolff returns; Carroll with the starters; McCoy sizzles

Nick Foles and the Eagles practice at Lincoln Financial Field during training camp on August 3, 2014. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Nick Foles and the Eagles practice at Lincoln Financial Field during training camp on August 3, 2014. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles held their final open practice at Lincoln Financial Field. Their final open session will be at Franklin Field next Sunday. Let’s get to today’s highlights:

-- Earl Wolff returned to practice after sitting out the previous two with soreness to his knee. Wolff said it was the same knee that kept him out of five games last season. He was back with the first team at safety alongside Malcolm Jenkins. He said that the coaches have been patient with his return and know that he wants to play, but understand he knows how far he can push it best. Wolff was once called for offsides during team drills.

-- Nolan Carroll has been one of the camp stars thus far. Before practice, Chip Kelly said that Carroll “is a guy that continues to show up every day.” The Eagles coach said that Carroll has forced the team to try and put him on the field more with the first team. Carroll has been the sixth defensive back in the defense’s dime package. They didn’t use dime much last season, but Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis suggested it may be a package we’ll see more of this season. I’ll have more in my column for tomorrow’s paper.

Some readers have asked if Carroll has done enough to supplant either Bradley Fletcher or Cary Williams. I wouldn’t go that far. Fletcher has looked solid. He intercepted Nick Foles today when he tried to squeeze a pass to Arrelious Benn.

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-- Williams didn’t participate in team drills. He said it was because of soreness. With Williams out, the Eagles mixed up their cornerback personnel. Carroll and Brandon Boykin were the outside receivers with the first team. When Boykin went inside to the slot in the nickel defense, rookie Jaylen Watkins played on the outside.

-- During wide receiver-defensive back one on ones, Ifeanyi Momah had a step on Boykin and caught a deep pass from Foles. Here are some other notable moments from that session:

1. Curtis Marsh recorded an interception. His celebration was a little over the top considering rookie receiver Kadrone Boone came back a few plays later and turned him around with a double move.

2. While most of the running backs worked separately from one on ones, Darren Sproles worked with the receivers. Hey, Chip, I thought he was strictly a running back? Fletcher jammed Sproles at the line and disrupted the timing of a Mark Sanchez’ throw.

3. Jeremy Maclin sat out the latter parts of Friday’s practice, but was back today. He used his hands effectively against Watkins and caught a pass running a short crossing pattern.

4. Quron Pratt has made a number of highlight reel catches in camp. G.J. Kinne threw to his back shoulder and Pratt was able to snag a pass that was slightly behind him. Pratt probably won’t make the Eagles roster, but he should catch on elsewhere.

-- The Eagles practiced lots of zone blocking during DL-OL drills, but there were a few moments that stood out whenever there was one on ones:

1.  Beau Allen keeps flashing in these situations. He more than held his own against center Jason Kelce and actually pulled off a spin move past Josh Andrews. Of the undrafted rookies, I’ve heard the Eagles think Andrews, who plays center and guard, may have the most potential.

2. Rookie tackle Kevin Graf has struggled in pass protection, but looks better as a run blocker. He drove defensive end Joe Kruger into the ground at one point.

3. There was good action when the outside linebackers joined the drill. Trent Cole gave tackle Andrew Gardner one of his patented step-over moves. Connor Barwin’s bull rush knocked Graff back on his heels. Travis Long used an outside-in move to slip past rookie Karim Barton.

-- If someone were to ask which three players have looked the best at camp I would probably say, “LeSean McCoy, LeSean McCoy, LeSean McCoy.” Last year, it was DeSean Jackson that sizzled. McCoy looks like he may be in the best shape of his career. One of the things I miss most about Lehigh was how close the reporters were permitted to get to the action. I love to hear the chatter. Reporters could get fairly close at the Linc and during one McCoy run you could hear him saying to defenders as he went past them, “Bye, so long, woooooooo …”

-- The following players missed practice again: receiver Riley Cooper (ankle/foot), receiver Jeff Maehl (ankle/foot), running back Chris Polk (hamstring), linebacker Jake Knott (hamstring) and center Julian Vandervelde (back).

-- A few quickies … Alex Henery had a leg up in the kicker competition. He connected on all five attempts (38, 43, 48, 43, 53) during field goal drills. Carey Spear was four of five, missing wide right from 48 yards. … B.J. Cunningham had the catch of the day, pulling in a 40-yard touchdown pass from Matt Barkley over Marsh. … Brent Celek ended practice with a TD grab from Foles over Barwin.

 

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Birds' Eye View is the Inquirer's blog covering all things Philadelphia Eagles and the NFL.

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