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Philadelphia Eagles

Takeaways from Eagles first live hitting session

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2 of training camp for the Eagles got under way today as the team had their first live hitting session at the Nova Care Complex.

This is where roster spots are won. When the best of the best truly standout. For a few young players, today was another step in solidifying a roster spot or a significant role with the team.

Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones make plays in the secondary 

Former scout and current ESPN analyst Louis Riddick said it best when visiting Eagles camp on Sunday.

The Eagles are loaded at every position, and that finally includes the corners. Not only has Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby had strong camps, but 2017 picks Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas are catching the eye of the team as well.

Jones took first team reps in the slot again for the defense. If you are tracking the slot CB battle that is 3 days of first team reps for Jones, and 2 for DeVante Bausby.

Jones has made plays in both man coverage and zone. He has been tested by Nelson Agholor which is expected considering Agholor is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL, but Jones has held his own.

He may not crack the outside just yet but the slot CB position has become almost equally as important since teams have begun using their #1 receivers a large portion of the time inside (Keenan Allen, Adam Thielen, Odell Beckham Jr., Larry Fitzgerald).

Rasul Douglas may not get the playing time Jones does without an injury but the second year corner has had a solid summer. Defensive Backs coach Corey Undlin has really focused in on Douglas, trying to teach him better patience in his backpedal before breaking in on the receiver. It is part of why so many of the Eagles corners get beat on double moves. Playing aggressive is good and can lead to turnovers but young players like Douglas and the Eagles secondary need to further develop their route recognition and know when to stay square, and when to get down the field.

In 7 on 7’s today, Douglas went up against Markus Wheaton 1 on 1 and Wentz targeted that match up down the field. Douglas, who has been known to struggle with faster receivers, ran toe to toe with Wheaton and made a nice play on the ball to force the incompletion.

The Eagles use a lot of man coverage both off and press. The defense has really tried to feature Douglas at the line of scrimmage as a press-man corner. With his long arms and physical style, that is an area he can thrive.

It is so great to finally have young, talented depth at corner. Not that long ago the Eagles were dealing with this.

 

 Schwartz using number of looks at the WILL LB spot

The Eagles starting weak-side linebacker spot is wide open for the taking. Kamu Grugier-Hill got a lot of the first team reps at the start of camp, but the defense as used a number of different players and formations.

On a number of occasions Jordan Hicks (who is having a hell of a camp) lined up as the WILL LB while Joe Walker played MLB. While it is expected Hicks ends up playing in the middle, this could be a look the Eagles go to during the season if the other WILL LB that starts is struggling.

Nate Gerry has been the hot name of the week in the competition. Gerry has shown strong coverage skills and played with the first team today again.

Tre Sullivan could keep Corey Graham off the Eagles 

Tre Sullivan is starting right where he left off in the spring. In space, Sullivan made a number of solid tackles today and even picked off Carson Wentz in 3 on 3 drills.

Jim Schwartz spoke about the safety depth after practice and mentioned Sullivan as the first guy that will back up McLeod and Jenkins. Although he mentioned it would be difficult going into the season with just Jenkins and McLeod as veterans, he also said the team isn’t focused on bringing anyone in from free agency and instead are focusing in on the talent they have.

Sullivan, and Jeremy Reaves too have an opportunity to stand out in the preseason next week and throughout the rest of training camp. If they do, it may just keep the Eagles from adding Graham or another veteran safety to the team.

Nelson Agholor might just lead the Eagles loaded offense in receiving 

The jump Agholor made from year two to year three was incredible. He might make an even bigger leap in 2018. Hands down the former USC Trojan has been the best receiver on the team in training camp.

Agholor has given fits to slot corners and has made some explosive plays down the field.

He isn’t just fast, Agholor has shown that when he runs, he runs hard and angry. His effort and constant attack mode has been on full display.

The Eagles are the deepest offense in the NFL right now, but if predicting today who would lead the Eagles in receiving this year. Right now Nelson Agholor would be the pick.

Cian Fahey is back and in prime Fahey form (eyes roll out of sockets) 

Ugh…..I enjoyed the time away from the self-proclaimed “QB Guru”.

 

Its just like….this is…..whatever I am not going to even get into it this bothered me in 2016 but not anymore.

The Eagles get back to hitting tomorrow as training camp rolls on and the team prepares for their first preseason game next Thursday against the Steelers.

 

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a writer, host, and producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

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