PHILADELPHIA -- Having Super Bowl hype certainly resonates around the city of Philadelphia, none more evident than what was displayed at the only open practice at Philadelphia Eagles training camp Sunday night. An estimated 50,000 fans entered Lincoln Financial Field to cheer on the Eagles, who are coming off a NFC championship and have one of the game's best quarterbacks in Jalen Hurts.
The expectations around this team were on full display Sunday night, as fans got to watch their team take the field in their home stadium for the first time since the Eagles won the NFC Championship Game back in January. Just imagine how crowded training camp would be if the practices were still at Lehigh!
Whether fans were just coming to get their hands on the new "Kelly Green" alternate jerseys or watching Jalen Hurts throw touchdowns to A.J. Brown, they certainly got what they came for Sunday.
Some observations from the open practice:
Hurts has been great throughout this camp, but the fans haven't gotten to see that first hand. Hurts and the first-team offense weren't on the field much Sunday night, yet they impressed in the limited reps.
The play of the night was during the hurry-up drills (the situation was that the Eagles were down eight) and Hurts threw a perfect pass to Brown in the back left of the end zone for the touchdown. Brown was able to get both feet in on blanket coverage by Josh Jobe (who is having a very good camp, by the way).
The touchdown was Hurts' lone touchdown pass of the night, and it was another practice where Hurts didn't throw an interception (he only has one in seven practices).
As the crowd chanted M-V-P upon his entrance, Hurts delivered for them.
Smith has been impressive throughout training camp, and that continues in the open practice. He beat Tyler Steen for a sack and collapsed the pocket, while also showcasing his ability to generate pressure on both sides.
Smith has been doing 1-on-1s against Lane Johnson and that has certainly helped his game. The Eagles may not experiment with him as an off-ball linebacker as much, so he can get back to learning on the edge. His speed will significantly help the pass rush.
Watch out for the rookie come the preseason games. Even though Brown is on the second and third team at safety, he's ready to hit someone at all times. His closing speed down the field stood out in the lone live session of practice (the Eagles aren't hitting much in other practices).
Kennedy Brooks felt the aftershock of Brown's hit in the live period, as the rookie is waiting to showcase what he can do when he actually does get to make a play. Brown almost clobbered Joseph Ngata in the live period too, but he held up before contact.
Brown is going to get a lot of looks this preseason as he wants to continue moving up the depth chart.
Good safety play
There are some question marks regarding the safety position, but Reed Blankenship continues to be a lock on the first team. Blankenship took all the first-team reps at safety again as he forced an incompletion on A.J. Brown.
Terrell Edmunds also got into the mix, having a pass breakup on a Hurts pass intended for DeVonta Smith on a crossing route. Since Smith typically has the edge on that play, Edmunds knocking the ball away showcased when he can do when he's lined up as a hybrid safety/linebacker in a big nickel package.
With Blankenship seemingly a first-team lock, Edmunds and K'Von Wallace are the two top contenders for the other spot, with Sydney Brown moving up the depth chart.
Even with D'Andre Swift was carrying the ball. Elliss continues to find the football and be in the right spot., Elliss is still in the mix to start at off-ball linebacker next to Dean. He had two tackles for loss on Sunday, one when
Elliss is on this roster, but where he fits in the grand scheme of things is uncertain. At the worst, he provides excellent depth at off-ball linebacker.
Depth chart notes
- The Eagles had just four healthy off-ball linebackers, so everyone got a shot at first-team reps. Christian Elliss and Shaun Bradley opened on the first team, with Nicholas Morrow following. Even undrafted rookie Ben VanSumeren took some reps on the first team.
- New Eagles Myles Jack and Zach Cunningham were on the sidelines Sunday night, with Cunningham wearing No. 46 and Jack wearing No. 47. They will be in the mix for the first team reps next to Nakobe Dean.
- Haason Reddick was back on the first team in 11-on-11s. The first team defensive line was Reddick, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Davis, and Josh Sweat.
- Josh Jobe got first-team reps at cornerback with James Bradberry out. Kelee Ringo was with the second team and opposite him was Greedy Williams.
- Cam Jurgens got some first-team reps at center and Tyler Steen got them at right guard. The Eagles did the same thing last practice to give their veterans a rest.
- The Eagles have four players who did not participate in practice: Nakobe Dean (ankle), Patrick Johnson (ankle), Deon Cain (ankle), and James Bradberry (groin).
- The Johnson injury is not believed to be considered serious, which is tremendous news for the Eagles. Johnson was taken out on a cart and it initially was thought to be season-ending.
- Rookie defensive tackle Moro Ojomo was poked in the eye and headed to the sideline. He want into the locker room and did not return.
- Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni said Dean is "close" to coming back. Dean has the green dot and is the play caller on the defense. He's missed the last few practices.
Keep in mind this was a light training camp practice with pads on. Eagles fans showed up in droves.
This is the result of having one of the best teams in the NFL and being a Super Bowl contender. The 2023 season may be the most hyped season for the Eagles since the Andy Reid-Donovan McNabb heyday from 2002 through 2004.
So far, the Eagles are living up to that hype. The fans see it too.