MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It was hot in Cleveland. But Cleveland has nothing on Miami.
The only way to describe the heat and humidity on Wednesday: Soupy.
The Eagles got in plenty of good work against the Dolphins at their beautiful facility in Miami Gardens.
Overall, it was the toughest competition the Eagles have had in their joint practices under Nick Sirianni. If you were picking a winner from this practice, give a hat tip to the Dolphins. But it’s not about winners and losers, it’s about getting better. And the Eagles can learn from some of what happened Wednesday.
To the observations:
1. As always, a few housekeeping items:
• James Bradberry (groin) returned to practice in a limited fashion on Wednesday. He did just individual drills.
• Did not practice: Jason Kelce (elbow), Miles Sanders (hamstring), Javon Hargrave (toe), Greg Ward (toe), Jack Anderson (ribs), Christian Elliss (hamstring), Josh Jobe (elbow), Josiah Scott ( ham string).
• Jobe, Anderson and Scott are new additions to the injury report. All three have had good training camps.
More: Bradberry back at practice, still no sign of Sanders as Eagles visit Dolphins
• Darius Slay didn’t finish practice. More on that in a moment.
2. Overall, it was a tough day for the Eagles. On offense, Jalen Hurts didn’t have his best day and the offense seemed disjointed at times. They also had to deal with plenty of pressure from the Dolphins’ defense. Didn’t see Hurts push the ball downfield very much at all — ton of checkdowns. On defense, Tua Tagovailoa was getting the ball out quickly and the Dolphins were hitting the Eagles with some tempo in the summer sun that gave them trouble.
3. On the very first 1-on-1 rep of the day, Tyreek Hill torched Slay down the right sideline. Slay pulled up lame after the rep. But Slay did return for another 1-on-1 rep against Hill. While Hill beat him again, he used an unrealistic triple move to get open and Slay had tight coverage.
All day, though, the Eagles struggled to stick with Hill, who is a terror to cover. During 11-on-11s, Slay finally jumped a route and nearly had a pick but the ball fluttered through Slay’s arms and Hill still caught it. It was one of those days.
Eventually, Slay was pulled from the practice, presumably because of the injury he suffered early in the day. So by the end of the session, the Eagles’ top two outside cornerbacks were Zech McPhearson and Kary Vincent Jr.
4. There was a little dust-up between the Eagles’ offense and the Dolphins’ defense. It happened when Landon Dickerson flattened Jaelan Phillips on a Boston Scott run. Phillips retaliated and then Jordan Mailata took exception to that retaliation. Mailata (6-8, 365) plays the role of protector quite well.
When asked about the fight after practice, receiver Quez Watkins smiled and said, “It was hot out there.”
5. Hurts didn’t have his best day. One of his deep balls to DeVonta Smith was underthrown but Smith made a great play to come back and leap over Dolphins CB Nik Needham for a really tough catch. Needham was flagged for DPI but Smith still came down with the ball.
6. Big day for Zach Pascal. Gardner Minshew had a strong outing and kept hitting Pascal. Their best connection came on a deep ball down the left sideline. It might have been a blown coverage but Pascal was running free. Minshew saw the blitz and delivered a perfectly timed ball off his back foot.
7. Haason Reddick has really been shining the last couple weeks now that he doesn’t have to go against Lane Johnson every day. Reddick had one sack around the edge and another up the gut. Jonathan Gannon sent Reddick up the A gap and Reddick ran over running back Salvon Ahmed on the way to the quarterback. Ahmed tried to tackle Reddick, got called for holding and still didn’t slow him down.
8th. The second-team pass rusher duo of Tarron Jackson and Kyron Johnson had some juice off the edge This was the best training camp performance for Johnson, the rookie out of Kansas. He had great pressure on one play and Jackson cleaned up with the “sack” on Teddy Bridgewater.
9. Rookie tight end Grant Calcaterra had back-to-back catches during 11-on-11s from Minshew. The second was an impressive leaping grab. Calcaterra is working to catch up after missing a tone of time with a hamstring injury.
While the catches are great, it’s not the area where he needs to catch up most.
“I think with anything, most guys that are playing tight end in the NFL, it’s that in-line blocking,” offensive coordinator Shane Steichen said. “We want to see that from him this week. See where he’s at with that. Feel good about it. But we have to see it. Feel really good about his receiving skills, running routes. He’s proved that early on in camp. But it’ll be good to get him back out there.”
A couple other TE notes: Dallas Goedert had a bad drop in the middle of the field but made up for it with some catches later. Jack Stoll caught a pass and fumbled it on his own. Luckily, it went out of bounds.
10 A few notes from 1-on-1s between Eagles DL and Dolphins OL:
• Fletcher Cox had his way with big guard Robert Hunt on two reps. Just ripped right through him.
• Before the real dust-up on Wednesday, there was an exchanging of words between two players in this drill. Second-year DT Marlon Tuipulotu slipped on his first rep but then lined it up again and used that anger to overpower OL Robert Jones, who eventually pushed him away after the whistle.
• On Jordan Davis’s first rep against Connor Williams, he was able to get some good push. But on the second, Williams was better. And then on Davis’s third rep he was stone-walled. Rare to see that but it was hot and by the third rep, he might have been gassed.
Stupid observation of the day: The NFL required that all linemen wear those goofy Guardian Caps through the first two preseason games. From now on, they’re optional in training camp. Two of the Eagles who are still wearing them are Derek Barnett and Patrick Johnson. Those are the two players who got into fights with Andre Dillard after head butting him earlier in camp. They could use the extra padding.
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