Eagles Training Camp Day 1: Carson Wentz, Jalen Hurts stats

Eliot Shorr-Parks
August 17, 2020 - 1:55 pm
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Football is back. 

That was the top takeaway from Monday’s Eagles practice, the first session open to the media this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yes, there were masks. There was social distancing. The rules for reporters were slightly different. 

But after going through my first COVID-19 practice, it was good to see that despite everything going on, football can still feel like football. 

With all that being said, here are the top takeaways from Monday’s practice: 

Carson Wentz: Lets start at the top of the depth chart and the top of the roster with quarterback Carson Wentz. Monday was the first time we have seen Wentz throw a ball since he was prematurely knocked out of the team’s playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. There has been plenty of talk this offseason about what Wentz weighs, how much muscle he has put on and if he does indeed now have a dad bode. Watching Wentz run around and take reps, he looked exactly the same physically as he did last year — which is a good thing. He looked in great shape and quick when he did have to move around. 

Wentz had a very impressive first day of practice. He started his day off hot, connecting on his first five passes, two of which went to receiver Jalen Reagor. Wentz and Reagor connected over the middle twice for gains of about 15-yards. It is good to see Wentz developing some chemistry with Reagor, considering how much the rookie is going to need to play early on. 

Wentz had a strong showing in a red zone drill towards the end of practice. Wentz attempted eight passes from about the 10-yard line, five of which went for touchdowns. Wentz has always been surgical in the red zone, so it isn’t surprising he was impressive, but the coaches still had to be happy to see it. 

Wentz really only had one bad throw on the day, when in an 11-on-11 drill, he tried to hit tight end Dallas Goedert but didn’t see linebacker Alex Singleton, who should have had an interception but dropped it. 

Outside of that, Wentz had a very strong day and got in a ton of work, taking 29 reps and seeing the field far more than either backup. 

Wentz Stats:

Reps: 29 

Stats: 13/19, 5 TD, 0 INT

Jalen Hurts and Nate Sudfeld: The backup quarterback spot has been an important one for the Eagles the last few seasons, and as a result, it has been a much talked about position this offseason. Head coach Doug Pederson has made it pretty clear that Nate Sudfeld is the backup, and that was the case on Monday, as he took all of the reps with the second-team offense. 

But for as much as Pederson has talked about getting Wentz and Sudfeld the most reps to prepare them for the season, that wasn’t the case with Sudfeld. Sudfeld basically split reps, with Sudfeld getting 17 reps and Hurts finishing with 16. 

While Sudfeld didn’t do much to stand out, Hurts had an outstanding day of practice. It is clear why the Eagles are excited about him as a quarterback prospect. He is extremely dynamic in the open field, taking it down and running it a few times. The nice part about being so close to the field for practice is that you can really see Hurts up close, and when he was moving in the pocket, it looked like he was keeping his eyes down the field — which is a great sign for a rookie. 

Hurts had one of the most impressive throws of the day when he hit rookie John Hightower down the sideline for a 30-plus yard gain that would have gone for a touchdown in a game. Hurts put the ball right over Hightower’s shoulder, hitting him in stride and over cornerback Rasul Douglas. 

Hurts had a strong showing during his turn in the red zone drill. His first two passes, both in the corner of the end zone, went for touchdowns to receiver Deontay Burnett. Sudfeld, on the other hand, went 1/2 in the red zone without a touchdown. 

The Eagles might be going with Sudfeld as their backup, but watching the two on Monday, it is hard to imagine that lasting for very long. 

Sudfeld Stats:

Reps: 17

Stats: 4/6, 0 TD, 0 INT

Hurts Stats:

Reps: 16 

Stats: 5/8, 2 TD, 0 INT

Jalen Reagor: The best part about the start of training camp is getting overly excited about the play of a rookie or journeyman free-agent signing. Jalen Reagor looks like he has all the makings of being that player. 

As mentioned above, Reagor caught two passes over the middle from Wentz, and looked quick after the catch with the ball in his hands. Physically, Reagor looks like — wait for it — a combination of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Malin. No, he isn’t as fast as Jackson, or as big as Maclin, but watching him run around in that No. 18 jersey it was hard not to see a combination of the two. Welcome to Day 1 of training camp. 
One issue Reagor did have was fielding punts. The rookie dropped two in a row early on in the practice, dropping down and doing 10 pushups after the first drop, and hitting himself in the head the second time. 

So while it wasn’t a perfect first practice for Reagor, it was easy to see why the Eagles feel he can be a dynamic part of their offense. 

Starting Wide Receivers: The starting wide receivers on Monday, with Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside sidelined, were DeSean Jackson, Jalen Reagor and Greg Ward. 

Andre Dillard: Monday was the media’s first look at Dillard as the starting left tackle. 

It didn’t go great. 

Dillard missed some snaps on Monday with the first-team offense as he continues to deal with a minor injury, and while physically he should be OK and won’t miss game time, it isn’t great that he is missing reps. Dillard needs all the work he can get this offseason as he prepares to take over one of the most important jobs on the offense. 

Taking Dillard's place at left tackle when he wasn't in was. Jordan Mailata, which is also not great news considering he has never taken a snap in the NFL. In a real game it would likely be Jason Peters who goes in for Dillard, but it was still concerning to see the two players tasked with protecting Wentz on Monday. 

When he was on the field Dillard didn’t stand out outside of one play where it seems like he got knocked over during a running play. It isn’t great to see Dillard get knocked down, but overall, it was good the only time he stood out was on one play.  

Shaun Bradley: Strong first day of practice for the Eagles rookies on both sides of the ball. On defense the standout was linebacker Shaun Bradley. 

Bradley made two impressive plays with the second-team defense. His first came on a completion to tight end Dallas Goedert. After Goedert caught the ball Bradley came in and drilled him, sending the tight end to the ground. Goedert held out, but it was the kind of hit — in training camp at least — you wouldn’t expect from the Eagles’ linebacking group. Bradley stood out again later in the day when he got a run at the quarterback and would have likely “sacked” him if it were a game. 

Bradley wasn’t viewed as a speedster coming out of Temple, but he looked plenty quick on Monday. He is definitely a player to keep an eye on for some surprising early-season reps with the defense. 

Avonte Maddox: One of the biggest questions on defense has been who will start at cornerback opposite Darius Slay. That answer on Monday was Avonte Maddox. 

Maddox got all of the reps opposite Slay at outside cornerback, with Nickell Robey-Coleman as the nickel corner with the first-team defense. When the team switched to second-team defense it was Sidney Jones who stepped in for Maddox, Rasul Douglas stepping in for Slay and Cre’von LeBlanc replacing Robey-Coleman. 

No players in the second stood out, but on paper, this cornerback group is one of the deepest defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has had since he got to Philadelphia — assuming either Maddox or Jones can give them solid play opposite Slay. 

Miles Sanders: The Eagles are set to go with Miles Sanders as their featured running back this season. That plan seems like a good one. 

Sanders looked lighting quick, elusive and confident running the ball on Monday, getting the large majority of the reps with the first-team offense. He got five touches in the 29 reps the first-team offense ran, including a goal-line run that he brought in for a touchdown. 

It won’t happen, but considering how good Sanders looked, and how important he is to the offense, sitting him down and just resting him until Week 1 might not be the worst idea. 

Corey Clement and the backup running backs: Monday was a good day overall for the backup running backs, starting Corey Clement. 

Clement looks the strongest he has been since he came to Philadelphia, and after dealing with injuries the last two seasons, he looked the best he has on Monday since 2017. Yes, it is a training camp practice where running backs — especially physical ones — will look good. But it was noticeable how hard Clement ran the ball, and how hard it looked for opposing defenders to bring him down in the open field. 

Second-year running back Elijah Holyfield also had a good day. Holyfield is known as a physical runner, which he was on Monday, but he also looked pretty quick getting down the sideline when he was able to make it to the edge. Holyfield was a late-season pickup by the Eagles last season and has the inside track on a roster spot. He did nothing on Monday to think he won’t land on the 53-man roster. 

Injuries: It wouldn’t be an Eagles’ practice with an injury update!

The team was missing some key players on Monday. Here is a breakdown:

** Jason Peters (lower body) - day to day.

** J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (lower body) - day to day.

** Derek Barnett (lower body) - week to week.

** Javon Hargrave (upper body) - multiple weeks.

** Duke Riley - illness  

Of all the injured players there is no question Hargrave is the most worrisome. Multiple weeks could mean all of training camp. It might even mean Week 1 is in question. That isn’t great news for a player who was signed to be a big-time contributor on the defensive line. 

You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at esp@94wip.com!

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