OTA Roundup

Posted: June 5th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on OTA Roundup

It doesn’t sound like Wednesday was a compelling day of practice for the Eagles, but let’s see what did go on.

Jimmy Bama.

Nate Sudfeld, on the other hand, had a nice practice. Sudfeld showed during the preseason last year that he throws a really nice touch pass, and is accurate down the field on deeper throws. He did that as well today.

His arm strength is OK, but he’s not going to throw lasers from the opposite hash to the sideline 20 yards down the field. Where he does show some nice zip on his throws is in the middle of the field in the 10-20 yard range. He made a nice window throw in that area to Richard Rodgers in the end zone for a TD today.

Sudfeld has been up and down, but it certainly is more fun to hear about his good days.

As Jimmy points out, Sudfeld isn’t going to wow you with a dynamic arm or anything special physically. He is at his best when making plays within the offense. Sudfeld is similar to Nick Foles in that he’s meant to be a point guard, spreading the ball to his weapons so they can make plays.

Mr. Bama also noted the play of Josh Sweat.

If I had to pick an early front-runner for the fourth defensive end job, I would go with Josh Sweat, who has been very active in practice, and has been around the quarterback a lot. It’s also noteworthy that the Eagles have been lining him up a lot at LDE, when he primarily played RDE last year. Of course, LDE is the spot vacated by Chris Long, so his move to that side is worth mentioning. I do have a couple caveats in praising Sweat:

    1. It’s OTAs, and they’re in helmets and shorts, so there’s no actual hitting. This is the type of setting where a speed guy like Sweat should be showing something.
    2. He has done a lot of his damage against Jordan Mailata, who is just learning how to play RT.

Context is always crucial when it comes to player evaluation. Kudos to Jimmy for that. Still, it is encouraging to hear Sweat is having some good moments. This is a huge spring/summer for him.

*****

Mike Kaye.

Safety Deiondre’ Hall made a nice play in coverage against tight end Zach Ertz. The tight end was being targeted down the seam and Hall was playing centerfield. He was able to get in front of Ertz and breakup a potential touchdown play. Hall has put together to two strong open practices this week.

This is exactly what Hall needs. Doug Pederson has talked about “stacking practices” over the years. Don’t just have one good day and relax. Build on that. Hall is finding a way to stand out. This is what the coaches want from young guys trying to win a roster spot.

*****

Brandon Lee Gowton.

• Malik Jackson’s height/length is something that’ll come in hand for the Eagles this year (no pun intended). The 6-5, 290 pound defensive tackle knocked down a Wentz pass at the line of scrimmage. Jackson has averaged 3.83 pass deflections per season since 2013.

• Josh Sweat notched a sack where he pushed an offensive lineman into Sudfeld, which caused the quarterback to get tripped up and fall.

• Good news for the #BostonScottHive: the Eagles running back was the first team punt returner. He also had a nice screen reception and another short catch for a touchdown during a red zone drill.

• Zach Brown also came up with a pick while covering a tight end. Ended up being a deflection instead. Quality coverage by the veteran linebacker.

• T.J. Edwards seems to play the run well in terms of knowing where to be. The undrafted rookie had Scott lined up for a tackle for loss.

• Wendell Smallwood had a bad drop. He later got praised by Duce Staley for good pass protection while going up against Malik Jackson.

• Shelton Gibson got called for a false start. He also made a nice catch on a ball thrown behind him while running a slant.

A lot of interesting nuggets there.

Boston Scott has generated buzz since Doug Pederson mentioned him on Monday. Scott is versatile and athletic. We just don’t know if he can play at the NFL level. The RB group is beaten up now so that means a lot of reps for Scott. It sounds like he is taking advantage of that right now.

Another day, another good play for T.J. Edwards.

*****

Jeff McLane.

Sidney Jones has had a positive spring and he ended Wednesday’s workout with an exclamation point when rookie quarterback Clayton Thorson tried to throw his own corner fade into the end zone. Receiver Braxton Miller didn’t get the kind of separation that Arcega-Whiteside had gotten earlier, but the decision to throw a jump ball there wasn’t necessarily a bad one. But Thorson had hardly any air under his toss and Miller never stood a chance. Jones, to his credit, turned his head and was able to secure the ball for a practice-ending interception. He made up for an earlier drop on another ill-advised Thorson throw. The Eagles defense was a playing a deep zone – something like a Cover 3 or 4 – but Thorson threw into a Bermuda Triangle of defensive backs. The pass wobbled short and into Jones’ arms, but he couldn’t hang on. Thorson hit on a couple sideline routes, but he seemed to struggle Wednesday. It’s early in his development. Every quarterback has his welcome to the NFL moment.

There is a reason the Eagles were excited to draft Jones back in 2017. He is a really talented player with good cover skills. Jones was up and down last year, but most of his struggles involved injuries. This year he is healthy and it shows in his play.

A healthy Jones finally living up to his potential would help the Eagles secondary quite a bit.

I haven’t made previous mention of Malik Jackson in my practice notes, but he seemed extra motivated Wednesday. The new Eagles defensive tackle killed a play when he shot into the backfield and tagged Wentz down. During the “backed up” period, Jackson motored past guard Matt Pryor to Sudfeld for a would-be safety. The veteran had lost his starting job with the Jaguars last season because they had soured on his run defense. Even if he isn’t dominant against the run in Philly, I can’t imagine that Jackson doesn’t have a significant impact as a pass rusher.

Can’t wait to see Malik in action this fall. He and Fletcher Cox are going to give offenses fits.

*****

Dave Zangaro.

Rookie wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside did it again today. Another great grab in the end zone. This time, it was a perfectly thrown ball from Nate Sudfeld and JJAW simply went up over cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon to make the grab in the back left corner of the end zone. He even got both feet inside the white line and the official at practice signaled touchdown. The kid just has great body control.

JJAW can be a good role player for the Eagles, even as a rookie. He makes plays on a regular basis. I love the fact he’s doing just what the Eagles wanted. JJAW made tough, contested catches in college and he’s doing that in the NFL as well. He’s underrated as a route-runner and we’re seeing that as well.

We saw Zach Brown in coverage on two plays. One was good, one not so good. Earlier in the practice, he stepped in front of a ball intended for Tye, but couldn’t haul in a pick (it was a theme on Wednesday). Later in the practice, he lined up 1-on-1 outside with soon-to-be training camp darling Boston Scott. Scott was just way too quick. He shook Brown with a couple steps and then made a nice diving catch to pick up a first down.

Brown is still getting comfortable with the Eagles scheme. He’s been up and down in practices so far. Brown is excited to be an Eagle, but it would be nice if he started to stand out more in practice.

*****

Bo Wulf.

12:18 p.m. – A great throw from Nate Sudfeld to Dallas Goedert near the right sideline for a completion of something like 25 yards. Probably the best throw I’ve seen Sudfeld make this spring.

It is easier to make big time throws when you have big time targets. Goedert is having a great spring. QBs just need to get the ball near him. Really interested to see what kind of impact Goedert has this year.

1:02 p.m. – McKinnon breaks up a pass in the end zone intended for Josh Perkins, prompting defensive backs coach Cory Undlin to say, “I don’t know how you did that, but you got it.” Later, McKinnon knocks away a slant. He’s had a good day other than the pantsing.

Jeremiah McKinnon has about 37 CBs ahead of him, but he’s having a strong spring. He’s got a major uphill battle, but if he continues to play well he could be a practice squad candidate.

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