Minicamp Roundup – Day 2

Posted: June 13th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 1 Comment »

Another day of practice, another day of practice notes.

Sheil Kapadia on Wentz to DeSean.

During the team period, DeSean Jackson lined up out wide to the left against cornerback Rasul Douglas and toasted him on a deep post. The bomb from Carson Wentz landed in Jackson’s hands as he made his way to the end zone.

Earlier in practice, during the route-on-air portion (no defenders), Jackson ran a 20-yard stop route. Wentz released the ball before Jackson was out of his break. By the time Jackson turned around and put his hands up, the pass was there.

The anticipation and timing between these two have been impressive all spring. Seeing their connection has made it glaringly obvious how much this offense has been missing a true vertical threat.

It’s never wise to put too much stock into OTAs and minicamp, but this spring couldn’t have gone much better for the Wentz-Jackson connection. I’m not quite ready to say Jackson will lead the Eagles in receiving yards, but I’m getting there.

The Eagles have been lacking an explosive weapon in recent years. Torrey Smith showed flashes in 2017, but wasn’t a consistent deep threat. Mike Wallace got hurt last year and didn’t do a thing. DeSean Jackson is a major upgrade.

It is very encouraging to hear that Wentz and Jackson have already developed good on-field chemistry. If you’re going to be throwing vertical routes, you need excellent timing. These two could end up being a pretty lethal combination. Someone mentioned recently that Wentz could be the best QB that Jackson has ever played with. That could be true. And a scary thought for opposing defenses.


Jimmy Bama on some good DBs.

The defensive highlight of the day was an interception by Avonte Maddox, who was playing what looked like trail coverage on Marken Michel, who was running some sort of seam route. When the ball was released by Wentz, Maddox accelerated — and then elevated — for the ball, making an impressive leaping catch, before running the other way with it. Maddox has picked up right where he left off a season ago, and looks really good.

As crazy as this sounds, Maddox could end up being the best DB on the Eagles. He is smart and athletic. He can hit and tackle. Maddox is versatile enough to play anywhere. He also is a playmaker. The big question is where Maddox will play. He’s alternated between the slot and outside corner this spring.

After retrieving his jock strap from the field on the Michel play, Sendejo bounced back and made a few nice plays of his own. He didn’t bite on a double move to Jackson, and was able to break up a deep throw from Wentz. He also made an interception on what was a bad read or throw, or combination of the two by Wentz.

Sendejo isn’t a fan favorite because he’s a former Viking, but the veteran FS is a good player and could play a key role this year. Corey Graham was disappointing last year and it hurt the defense. Sendejo is a better player. He should be a good #3 safety and can even fill in as a starter if needed.


Jeff McLane on Malcolm Jenkins.

Malcolm Jenkins hasn’t had many passes thrown his way over the last two days, but his contributions extend beyond playmaking. I asked Doug Pederson before practice if he was worried about the safety’s displeasure over his contract situation affecting his performance and the coach said that he thought it wouldn’t become a distraction. I can’t imagine it will. During the 2017 season, Jenkins and defensive end Brandon Graham started racing to the ball at the start of team drills as a way to encourage their teammates and add an element of hustle to each practice. They did it again last season, and when the whistle blew for the start of team drills the last two days, Jenkins was the first player to the ball.

Cool story.

Leadership comes in many different forms. Bringing this kind of energy and competitive spirit to practice has real value. Practice isn’t easy and isn’t a lot of fun. If you can fire up other players and get them to really buy into practice, that is going to help the team. Generally speaking, the teams that practice the best play the best.

The second unit: Josh Sweat, after spending most of the spring on the left, took some snaps on the right and got to face off against rookie Andre Dillard. I wouldn’t make much of line play when little contact is allowed, but as far as technique goes, Dillard looks like he’s miles ahead of most first-year tackles. He has cat-like feet and on one rush squared up Sweat with ease. I don’t know what to make of Nate Sudfeld’s spring. He’s had his moments and there are parts of his game that really stand out – like his touch on deep balls or passes that need to be floated into certain spots. But he’s had his struggles on throws outside the hashes. He hasn’t always gotten to work with the best receivers, but it’s not like the second unit defense is full of future NFL starters.

Good note there on Dillard, the rookie LT. He’s got plenty to learn, but it sounds like his talent is obvious to those watching practice. You can learn technique and develop skills, but talent is something you have or you don’t. Should be fun to watch Dillard in Training Camp and the preseason.


Mike Kaye on Joe Ostman and Boston Scott.

The practice squad holdover had a nice day. In back-to-back 11-on-11 plays, Ostman was in the backfield for “would-be sacks.” At one point, his burst led to a few offensive linemen hitting the ground, including first-round left tackle Andre Dillard. Ostman brought consistent pressure but it’s important to keep in mind that these are limited contact drills and the pass rushers are at an advantage.

Ostman keeps stacking good practices. That’s what he needs to do to have a legit shot to make the roster. I still have my reservations about Ostman, but I am genuinely excited to see him in TC and the preseason. Is he Steven Means, Pt. 2? Is he more than that?

Running back Boston Scott had a really impressive cut during a handoff in 11-on-11 drills. It was so impressive that Scott had a huge hole to run through and the offense players on the sideline erupted. It was like Scott’s teammates were reacting to Allen Iverson crossing over Michael Jordan. It was a bit much but the move was impressive.

Scott has gotten the attention of the coaches. Obviously doing this in shorts is one thing. Doing this in pads with full contact will be a bigger challenge. There is a spot for a RB like him on the roster, but Scott will have to be lights out.


Brandon Lee Gowton with some Red Zone highlights.

Wentz was on fire during red zone drills. He hit Wendell Smallwood on a wheel route in the back left corner of the end zone. The ball JUST made it over the outstretched arms of Tre Sullivan and into the hands of Wendell Smallwood as he ran the route in stride. Perfect timing and accuracy. Very impressive throw. Right after the Smallwood completion, Wentz threw a tight window touchdown to a tip-toeing Zach Ertz along the back of the end zone. Another great ball.

The Eagles were great in the Red Zone in 2017. Last year? Not so much. Getting back to being a top RZ team would help tremendously. Better weapons will be a big part of improved RZ play, but Wentz needs to be better as well. He left points on the field last year.

Undrafted rookie free agent DeAndre Thompkins got some “oooh’s” from his veteran teammates while doing a receiver drill focused on releases. He looked shifty.

Thompkins has the talent to be a role player in the NFL. I’m interested to see what he does this summer.

***** on Marken Michel.

Another strong outing from young wide receiver Marken Michel. During a 7-on-7 drill, broken coverage allowed Michel to catch a wide-open pass out of the slot. But as the defensive back slowly came up to touch him to end the play, again no tackling here, Michel cut to the corner and raced away from the defense for a touchdown. Good hustle from Michel, who is taking advantage of the extended reps during this minicamp.

With some veterans out due to injury, Michel has taken advantage of the extra reps given to him. When you’re down the depth chart, that is exactly what you have to do.


One Comment on “Minicamp Roundup – Day 2”

  1. 1 Eagles News: Avonte Maddox making his case as Philadelphia’s best cornerback – Bleeding Green Nation – Special Sale Offer said at 2:29 PM on June 13th, 2019:

    […] Minicamp Roundup – Day 2 – Iggles BlitzThe Eagles were great in the Red Zone in 2017. Last year? Not so much. Getting back to being a top RZ team would help tremendously. Better weapons will be a big part of improved RZ play, but Wentz needs to be better as well. He left points on the field last year. […]