The Eagles are learning a new offense and a new defense. It’s still only May. Growing pains are to be expected.
Still, it was kind of ugly out there Tuesday afternoon, as the quarterbacks were the main attraction and for all the wrong reasons.
1. Bradford makes bad throws
The following were seen from Sam Bradford in 11-on-11 drills:
- An interception thrown to Rodney McLeod over the middle
- An interception on a deep pass to Jaylen Watkins in the end zone
- A near interception at the line of scrimmage, bobbled and dropped by Mychal Kendricks
- Another near pick by Malcolm Jenkins in the end zone
2. Matthews in the slot, and backfield
Contrary to what many have surmised aboutthird year pass-catcher Jordan Matthews, new head coach Doug Pederson has him lining up in the slot on the majority of plays — so far. He also lined up behind Bradford in the backfield on a goalline play. It was expected that he would play more on the outside than he did under Chip Kelly.
3. Wentz has a gun
Carson Wentz, playing with the third team, showed off his deep ball-throwing prowessTuesday, highlighted by a long, 50-yard-plus bomb competed to Xavier Rush in 7-on-7 drills.
4. Wentz has a quick release
While Wentz had some accuracy issues at the mid-range level, he was deadly accurate and extremely quick to get rid of the ball on short passes. Unfortunately it showed it can also be a weakness, as a few of his passes were aired out a bit too early.
5. Preparing for Dallas
Worried about Dez Bryant and Jason Wittenbeating the Eagles? Doug Pederson is too, apparently. In the middle of Tuesday’s practice, players wearing Nos. 88 and 82 in red jerseys lined up alongside Chase Daniel (and later Wentz), all against the Birds’ first-team defense. Those plays had Nos. 88 and 82 lined up in a bevy of different spots, looking to catch the defense off guard.
6. Mathews returns
After missing practice last week due to illness, the Eagles’ presumptive featured running back Ryan Mathews was getting first team reps Tuesday.
7. Shifty Smallwood
Wendell Smallwood, the Eagles’ fifth round pick, has been extremely impressive since joining the Eagles, showing quickness and an ability to make defenders miss.
8. Solid day from Mills
Don’t sleep on Eagles’ seventh-rounder Jaylen Mills. The LSU cornerback has been all over the field and impressing Eagles coaches.
“He’s got a lot to learn,” Eagles’ defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz recently said of Mills,”and his head’s probably swimming a little bit. But what he has shown is he’s a very good athlete. He can play the ball, and he’s comfortable being on an island. I think if you were check-marking things for corners, those would be three near or at the top.”
9. Multifaceted running backs
Much like Andy Reid’s approach with Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalterover a decade ago, Pederson appears tobe looking to use his backfield as passing threats, too. This was on display Tuesday with a bevy of passes completed to Smallwood, Mathews, Kenjon Barner and others.
10. Daniel fired up
The most energetic and emotional of the Eagles’ three quarterbacks is by far Chase Daniel, who displays the agony of an incomplete pass, and celebrates the jubilation of a touchdown even in practice.