Rather than going writer by writer, let’s focus on some players.
WR B.J. Cunningham
Jimmy Bama – “Wide receiver BJ Cunningham isn’t projected by many to make the 53-man roster, but he has had a strong camp. Cunningham doesn’t have one trait in particular that will wow you, but his overall game is solid. It will be interesting to see if he can almost force the Eagles to keep him if he has strong performances in the preseason games.“
Sheil Kapadia – “The catch of the day goes to B.J. Cunningham. Tremendous effort on a 50/50 ball downfield against Marsh. He ended up coming down with the pass from Barkley for a touchdown.“
Brandon Lee Gowton – “Matt Barkley airs it out deep (40 yards) along the sideline to B.J. Cunningham for a TD. Cunningham did a good job of keeping his body under control while high-pointing the ball with Curtis Marsh tightly contesting the play. Good throw from Barkley to let his WR make the play.“
I was a big fan of Cunningham’s coming out of Michigan State. He wasn’t the fastest player, but was a highly productive receiver for Kirk Cousins. Cunningham was tough and physical. He had good RAC skills.
It would be great to see Cunningham have a strong showing in preseason games and really push for a roster spot.
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#Eagles kicker competition: Alex Henery 5 of 5 from 38, 43, 48, 43, 53. Carey Spear 4 of 5. Wide right on 48 yarder.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 3, 2014
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DE Joe Kruger
Jimmy Bama – “Many of you have asked about DE Joe Kruger. I had a good opportunity to watch him rush the passer today, and came away thoroughly unimpressed. The third team right tackle was handling him with ease.”
Jeff McLane – “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.”
Kruger sounds like a long shot for the roster based on comments from the last couple of days. He still has upside, but needs a lot of technique work. Kruger bulked up to the 290 range this spring and it could be that he’s struggling to play with the extra weight. He could try playing lighter or the coaches could hope he stays big and is more effective next summer.
Kruger’s best hope is to come alive in the preseason games. Some guys thrive in games more than practice.
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WR Josh Huff
Sheil Kapadia – “12:35 – During the 3-on-2 portion, Josh Huff delivers a great effort on a jump ball down the left sideline, but Curtis Marsh breaks it up. One thing that stands out with Huff: the way he competes for the football. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the preseason. (later) Huff makes a great adjustment on a ball from Sanchez downfield. The crowd goes nuts, and the offense starts moving to the new line of scrimmage. But Kelly calls it back. Apparently he didn’t have both feet in bounds.“
Brandon Lee Gowton – “Sanchez to Josh Huff 25 yards or so down the field along the sideline. Great throw by Sanchez and tough catch made by a leaping Huff. Roc Carmichael was in tight coverage. Huff made sure to get his feet in-bounds. One of the best plays I’ve seen Huff make in camp.“
Huff is playing like a normal rookie WR. He’s up and down. That seems almost bad when you compare him to Matthews, but you can’t expect every rookie to be lights out. I can’t wait to see Huff in action. He could thrive in preseason games because he is so tough and so competitive.
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WR Quron Pratt
Jeff McLane – “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.”
Sheil Kapadia – “Undrafted free agent Quron Pratt makes a fantastic diving grab while keeping his feet in bounds on a back shoulder throw near the sideline.“
Brandon Lee Gowton – “Quron Pratt records a diving catch along the sideline. Pratt has made a few select really impressive catches during camp.“
At only 5-11, 195 Pratt lacks the size the Eagles prefer in a WR. But he has the kind of skills they do like. He can work in the slot or outside. He is quick and can get open in tight space. He has good hands and can make tough catches. Pratt also is a solid blocker. He’s more of a practice squad target for now, but has some potential.
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And now for the misc notes.
• Najee Goode had nice coverage on several occasions today. On at least two of the rare occasions a ball was thrown to Jordan Matthews and he didn’t make the catch, it was because Goode was in good position when Matthews ran through his zone.
• Bradley Fletcher, playing with the second team today, had a nice afternoon. He picked off Nick Foles on a play in which Arrelious Benn slipped, and he had blanket coverage on a deep ball to Damaris Johnon in 1-on-1’s. One thing to note with Fletcher is that he is a very physical corner. That’s generally considered a good thing, but at times last season it worked against him. In 2013, Fletcher had six pass interference penalties. With the league expected to crack down on contact more than five yards down the field in 2014, Fletcher’s handsy nature could be an issue.
Jimmy also has plenty of praise for WR Jordan Matthews, but as he points out…that’s almost gotten boring because he seems to play well every day.
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1:19 – During one-on-ones, Ifeanyi Momah separates from Brandon Boykin on a go route and makes the grab on a beautiful throw from Nick Foles. I still don’t think Momah makes the squad, but clearly he has improved.
1:57 – Boykin vs. Momah again. This time, Boykin’s all over him, racing ahead in hopes of an interception. But Momah shoves him from behind to make sure that doesn’t happen.
One of the biggest disappointments last year was that Momah didn’t play like a big WR. He wasn’t athletic either, but the one thing I hoped for sure was that he would play like a 6-7, 240 guy. You just didn’t see that. This summer he is more confident and more aggressive. And more physical. That’s a good sign.
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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 …”
Love the info on Shady. You want your best players to shine in practice (insert AI joke here).
More positive talk about Allen. Like that.
Graf didn’t impress me as a pass protector at USC. He’s not very athletic. I do wonder if pro coaching can help him a bit. I didn’t think too much of Matt Tobin coming out of college and he played much better than I ever expected.
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Foles to Maclin for a TD with Carroll in coverage. Foles scrambled to his left and lobbed it up for Maclin to make the play but it’s worth noting Foles had a lot of time before he let go of the ball.
• 11-on-11: Nice medium distance throw from Foles to Maclin along the sideline with Carroll in coverage.
Foles deep to Momah… no good. Boykin in coverage. It looked like Momah committed offensive pass interference on the play. Good coverage by Boykin(g).
Foles ‘sacked’ by DeMeco Ryans.
• Practice ends on a high note: Foles connects with Brent Celek for a touchdown in the front right corner of the endzone. It was an impressive throw and catch because Connor Barwin was draped over Celek in coverage. That’s a much better end to practice than the one that ended last week on a missed field goal kick from Carey Spear.
I am curious to see if Foles starts to play better when Riley Cooper is back and he’s got his normal set of weapons. It isn’t that Foles has looked bad. He just hasn’t been lights out.