Football is back. Wednesday was the first day we could say that all 32 teams had conducted at least one full training camp practice. The Eagles were actually talked about quite a bit by national NFL insiders, and of course by local media as well. Let’s take a look at some of what stood out during day one at the NovaCare Complex.
Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown – as expected – are generating a lot of buzz
Despite a couple sloppy plays, Hurts had a pretty encouraging first day of camp, at least compared to last year.
Really clear sign of an improved Hurts:
Last year #Eagles did Red Zone on Day 1, just like they did today. Practices were very similar
Hurts attempted 14 passes on Day 1 last yr
He attempted 15 passes on Day 1 this yr
Last year: 5/14, 2 TD, 1 INT
Today: 12/15, 4 TD, 1 INT
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) July 27, 2022
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, who was in Philadelphia, talked multiple times on both TV and Twitter today about the new element that Brown brings to the offense, and how his prior bromance with Hurts has allowed the two of them to gel quicker than normal.
More #Eagles thoughts:
— Hurts was mostly sharp, as he was all spring.
— WR Jalen Reagor arrived in great shape and had a really nice day.
— One description of AJ Brown: “A massive RB after the catch.” Physicality has impressed.
— Gannon’s D should take a big step in year 2. https://t.co/0LbzJotNQI
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 28, 2022
It was not a perfect day for Hurts, but he seems to be throwing with more confidence and anticipation compared to 2021. If he can mesh with Brown quickly and become a more complete passer, it is going to do wonders for the offense this season.
Jalen Reagor (!) looks much improved
As you can see from the Rapoport tweet above, Reagor actually turned some heads during day one of camp. Reagor had an ugly summer last year, so even though he has been demoted to second-team offense, the fact he is contributing at all is an encouraging sign. Most people (rightfully so) have written off the possibility of Reagor having a positive impact on the Eagles this season considering they acquired multiple wideouts better than him and, well, he is a bad player. If he can contribute in some kind of useful capacity next year, even in a small role, it would be better than initially expected.
- Miles Sanders heavily bobbled his first target of the day. He really needs to improve his hands before the season starts.
- Brandon Graham appears to be 100% healthy. If he is even close to what he was pre-injury, it is going to be a huge boost to the Eagles’ defensive line.
- The Eagles could really use a good safety. Anthony Harris did not practice much because he is still recovering from COVID, and Marcus Epps has been solid, but after that it is ugly. K’Von Wallace really struggled with both coverage and play recognition, and there is even less behind him at the position. The window to trade for Jessie Bates is probably shut, but that could be the one spot outside of quarterback that becomes a weakness for the Eagles this season.
Of course there is a lot of training camp left, but it is hard to ask for much better vibes to kick off the summer of practices. These players think they can win, which is certainly not a first for this organization, but this time they are going to have to show it.
Photo: Associated Press