The Eagles formally ended training camp last week, but they opened Sunday’s practice to the media before the Dolphins come to town for two days of inter-squad workouts. Here’s what I saw on what was essentially Day 19 (Links to Days 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18):
- After two days off, Doug Pederson held a light 10-10-10 practice. The players were in shorts and shells and the session was less than two hours. I’m not a huge fan of 10-10-10 workouts, and not just because there is little action. Plays are evenly split between offense, defense and special teams and designed to benefit each unit as they take turns – particularly in the case of the first two. You want your starting offense and defense to experience success in practice, but is there any benefit to the backups, who are basically asked to play at a lesser speed? Why not have competition all the time?
- Several players returned from injury. Running back Wendell Smallwood (hamstring), cornerback Ron Brooks (hamstring), tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) and tight end Anthony Denham (calf) were full participants. Quarterback Nick Foles (elbow) was limited last week and missed Thursday night’s preseason game, but he was a full participant on Sunday and should be ready to go for the Dolphins. Tackle Jason Peters was back from an excused absence. Defensive end Derek Barnett was the headliner among those who sat out practice. Pederson said that the rookie, who has been impressive in the preseason, had a “lower body injury” and was receiving treatment inside during practice. The coach didn’t seem concerned about Barnett and said that he had a day-to-day injury. Receivers Bryce Treggs (calf) and Paul Turner (shoulder) and offensive lineman Josh Andrews (hand) remained sidelined.
- Alshon Jeffery was back in action and continued to be integrated back into team drills. Quarterback Carson Wentz targeted him several times. They worked on a double move that had Jeffery running a fake slant before he wheeled outside. The pass was completed, but it looked like it took too long to develop. The quarterback and receiver had more success with a back shoulder toss. Wentz and Jeffery also hooked up in the end zone on a few fades. Of course, it’s important to note that they weren’t exactly running into any defensive interference. Eagles receivers coach Mike Groh said that Jeffery was behind after missing most of the previous three weeks. It was evident on the first drive of the Bills game when he ran the wrong route – an out instead of a corner – and Wentz had to go through his progressions and find tight end Zach Ertz. Pederson and Jeffery both said after practice that he wasn’t behind schedule. The Eagles’ season opener is in exactly three weeks.
- Caleb Sturgis was successful on all nine of his field goal attempts. The Eagles kicker was good from 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45 and 47 yards. He’s had a solid camp as far as field goals go – 53 of 61 (87 percent) – but he’s also missed two 45-yard tries in the preseason. Some of his struggles could stem from having two holders throughout camp. Backup punter Cameron Johnston has split duties with regular holder Donnie Jones.
- The starting offensive line was back together for the first time in weeks. Barring injury, the group should get its first preseason snaps on Thursday. They need the work. Vaitai got some work at left tackle with the first team. He has spent most of the summer on the right, but the Eagles need to cross-train him in case of emergency. There wasn’t any obvious depth chart shuffling coming off the Bills game. Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills were still the first team outside cornerbacks. Patrick Robinson was in the slot even though Brooks returned. I still think that job will belong to Brooks when the season starts.
- Vinny Curry caught an earful from defensive line coach Chris Wilson. The defensive end jumped early into the neutral zone on two occasions and each time he eased up probably thinking that the plays would be whistled dead. They weren’t and Wilson barked the second time, “Finish! Finish! Finish!” Even after the play ended, the assistant implored Curry to keep moving. It wasn’t a big deal, but Curry has been quiet for most of the summer. A day earlier, Wilson said that it was too early to talk about Barnett starting ahead of Curry. The veteran must feel the rookie breathing down his neck, though.
- And a few leftovers … Linebacker Najee Goode and cornerback Rasul Douglas collided over the middle and the latter took the brunt. Douglas was down for about a second or two before a teammate pulled him up. The same essentially happened a week ago when an Eagles player dragged receiver Mack Hollins to his feet. It’s a tough guy thing, but it isn’t smart even if the player isn’t knocked out. Douglas eventually walked to the sideline with a trainer and was cleared to return a few plays later. … Smallwood took plenty of repetitions with the first team offense. He has yet to play in the preseason. He’ll want to get up to game speed after performing well during the first week of camp. … The Eagles and Dolphins will wear full pads on Monday and shorts and shells on Tuesday, per Pederson. Both workouts are scheduled to be longer than two hours.