Cowritten by Eric Fenstermaker
The Philadelphia Eagles hosted their only public practice on Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field with some 40,000+ fans in attendance to benefit the Eagles Autism Challenge. Through 14 practice periods, the team worked on individual drills, situation football and play scripts before presenting their jersey’s to military members and signing autographs for the fans. Here are our five takeaways from our vantage point on the Eagles sideline:
#5: “Paper Stacked”
On paper, we know how good this team is and yesterday just confirmed that statement. With guys like Vinny Curry and DeSean Jackson returning, and most recently adding Johnathan Cyprien and Orlando Scandrick — the depth across the board for this team is ridiculous. To add to that, the high-performing veteran players like Malcolm Jenkins, Fletcher Cox, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce just give this team a confident presence that knows how to handle their business. This team is structured in a way that has an aurora around them entering this season.
*Side note – Ronald Darby was moving around quite well.
#4: Something in the air
There were Eagles fans taking plenty of pictures and videos during practice, but the one thing an iPhone gallery can’t capture is the atmosphere, and it was electric. Excited fans both young and old, lined up early to get the best seats possible, some arriving three hours before the practice started and wailing E-A-G-L-E-S chants in the scorching sun before entering the gates. Those in attendance could feel the excitement and enthusiasm about the practice, and player introductions aroused emphatic screams, cheers, and whistles. – in addition to one Giants fan getting booed out of the stadium… It didn’t feel like an ordinary practice; it felt like a glimpse or sneak peek at the beginnings of something special.
#3: Offense ahead of the defense
When it came to team drills (and taking the non-tackling part out of it) The offense seemed to have a slight edge on the defense. Carson looked in full command other than one interception, and the red zone offense looked good. But then again, how can it not when you have a basketball-like starting five in Ertz, Goedert, Jeffery, Arcega-Whiteside and anyone else?
#2: Miles Sanders takes the lead
The Eagles made it a major priority this offseason to solidify the running game by adding Jordan Howard via trade and drafting Penn State’s Miles Sanders. It was just one practice, but all summer long, Sanders has looked like he belongs. About a week ago, Brandon Graham came out and simply stated that Sanders “has it”, and he wasn’t lying. Sanders has a nice off-tackle run from the 20 he punched in among a few other nice runs. Good vision and great build – Don’t be surprised if he ends up getting more carries than Howard by the end of the season.
#1: Carson to Desean – Beleive the Hype
Desean Jackson adds an element to Quarterback Carson Wentz’s game that he really hasn’t had consistently in his first three years. Although he’ll turn 33 this season, Jackson looks rejuvenated and was caught numerous times spending extra time working with his young QB. It just looks like two kids in the backyard having fun when they hook up. Probably Wentz’s best play was a scramble to the right, and a 40-yard pass from the right numbers to the left numbers where Jackson was waiting to high-point the ball.
You can catch your first true glimpse of the Birds when they take on the Tennessee Titans in their first preseason game this Thursday Night. Now is just about the time teams get tired of practicing against the same guys and are ready to lay a hit on an opposing player. It should be fun to see the 2019 Eagles take the field in a somewhat meaningful game later this week.