Eagles training camp notes: The ups and downs from day one vs. the Browns appeared in the original NBC Sports Philadelphia
The Eagles returned to the practice field Monday night and brought some friends with them, hosting their first of two joint sessions against the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns hosted the Eagles for two combined practices last year in Berea, Ohio, and the Eagles paid off their home-and-home share in 2023.
It was good to see some familiar faces in Philly:
While there was some cheering and a bit of jaw-dropping, there were no fights between the two teams on Monday. This is good news for these two training machines.
For the most part, I watched the Eagles attack as the fields were divided. I’ll switch over to Tuesday and watch their defense more. But the team’s recent stint has been on the same field with both sides watching to give the team a more competitive feel.
Let’s move on to the notes:
1. As usual, we start with the housekeeping:
• The Eagles made roster moves Monday, signing DT Olive Sagapolu and placing LB Shaun Bradley on Injured Reserve. Bradley suffered a torn Achilles tendon in a preseason game on Saturday. Sagapolo wears number 66
• Injury report from the beginning of practice:
Won’t exercise: WR Britain Covey (hamstring), LB Patrick Johnson (ankle), WR Quez Watkins (hamstring)
Limited: WR Deon Cain (Ankle)
• Left goalkeeper Landon Dickerson left training early. After a trip to the medical tent, he went inside. But after practice, he was walking around the practice field with his left ankle sprained. Don’t look serious.
2. Some depth chart notes:
• Sidney Brown wasn’t around for the team’s starting practice but the rookie safety did get some first-team delegates. He had a solid performance in a pre-season game and presumably earned a first team appearance.
• Without Watkins, we saw Olamide Zaccheus working for the Eagles first team slot.
• When Dickerson left the workout, the Eagles gave Sawa Obita some left guard reps and later brought in Josh Seals. It gives an idea of the depth chart.
• When the entire field gathered around one field late in practice, they started with Nakobe Dean alongside Nicolas Morrow at linebacker. Reed Blankenship and Tyrell Edmonds were safe.
3. It was a rough day for the Eagles’ senior offensive line against the Browns, who had several “sacks” in the team’s practices. Miles Jarrett was, as you might guess, a handful of Jordan Mailata on the left side of the line. Garrett had a couple but it wasn’t just him.
Sometimes it is difficult to determine exactly what is and is not a “bag” in a training environment. But the Browns had about a five or six in the practice and Jalen Hurts had to try and quit the practice several times.
4. On a couple of close sacks, Hurts ended up scrambling and making really impressive throws that may or may not count in the game. This is another tricky thing to do with a midfielder as elusive as Hurts in a training environment.
Hurts threw a great punt to DeVonta Smith on one of those plays after Smith got some breakaway from Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward deep on the right sideline. A few plays later, it was a similar situation with an even more impressive throw from Hurts. He threw it across his body on a rope to Smith, who gained some room against Ward. It really hurts her to squeeze in there.
It’s probably fair to say that the Eagles’ best offense against the Browns on Monday came off schedule, which isn’t ideal.
5. Ward also got the best of Hurts in a 7v7 game. Hurts caught a deep pass down the right sideline intended for Smith. It was a foul kid – Smith had a move – and Ward made Hurts pay for it by intercepting him.
6. (guest ob by Rob) In middle court, the Eagles defense went up against the Browns 1-and-2 in a 7-on-7. The Eagles’ most notable game was Red Blankenship’s interception of Browns backup QB Josh Dobbs, who started the last two games last year with the Titans. Dobbs targeted receiver Anthony Schwartz, but linebacker Zack Cunningham kicked the ball up in the air and hit Blankenship.
Darius Slay and Amari Cooper got some good action against each other, but the Eagles defender’s best play against Cooper came along the left sideline when Avonte Maddox put his right hand in front of Cooper 12 yards from Deshaun Watson, and hit. ball away. Cooper beat Slay for a 20-yard gain from Watson on a corner road, but the next time they paired, Slay had great coverage on Cooper and Watson threw the ball 10 feet over Cooper’s head.
7. After an impressive performance in a preseason game, receiver Terry Cleveland followed it up with a beautiful catch on a Marcus Mariota pass on Monday. Cleveland caught a great pass that Mariota placed on his back shoulder with CB Lorenzo Burns providing tight coverage. It was a gain of over 25 yards.
8. We’ve talked a lot about the Eagles’ running backs making catches from the backfield this summer, but we’ve also seen them line up in other areas for standoff advantages. On Monday, the Eagles lined D’Andre Swift right wide and threw a quick bubble screen en route for a nice gain. Then they ran a play very similar to Kenny Ginwell on the left side and it wasn’t as successful.
It also saw a nice blast from Swift during the first team stretch of the day. He is skilled and can really accelerate.
9. A few notes from watching the Eagles receivers in action against the Browns DBs in 1-on-1s:
• The standout play came from AJ Brown, who hit a deep ball on Martin Emerson Jr. The ball was placed perfectly on his back shoulder and Brown used his two late hands to get it out to the left side.
• PBU Ward got Smith in their first two reps against each other but Smith came back later and got some breakaways in the curl.
• A nice breakaway from Zakos, who etched Mike Ford Jr. on an inside road.
10. At the end of practice, the two teams gather around one field for a competitive period with everyone watching. This is basically an alternative game for the Eagles rookies, who won’t be playing much (if any) this pre-season.
The Eagles offense came with quick passes to Dallas Goedert and then a 10-yard touchdown run to Brown. But then Smith failed to pull a deep ball around him, Hurts had to get away from the pressure and the drive stalled. Even without Jarrett Ward on the field. Both left coaching early for Brown.
The Eagles’ defense has looked pretty good against the Browns’ offense this period and they’ve been helped by a few drops from Cooper, who dropped 12 (!) passes last season. The leadership is finished with Jalen Carter’s briefcase as the rookie continues to get more first-team action. It’s worth noting that Derek Barnett lined up inside on that play and that some of his best actors this summer have come from DT.
Dumb watch of the day: I’m a creature of habit, so when I arrived for an evening practice, I couldn’t stop myself from saying, “Good morning!” To everyone I saw on my walk to the field. Maybe I’ll do it right tomorrow.