Eagles Training Camp Notebook: Agholor flashes in physical practice

The Eagles endured another physical practice today, with the hitting being as intense as it ever has. With position battles raging on and pre-season drawing ever nearer, the sense of urgency is beginning to embed itself down at the NovaCare Complex. Here’s everything you need to know from today’s practice.

 

Injuries:
LeGarrette Blount was excused from practice again for personal reasons, while Mychal Kendricks was a new appearance on the sideline after suffering a quad injury. Nick Foles, Alex McCalister, and Donnel Pumphrey are all still out of action.

 

Agholor steals the show
It’s been a long time coming, but Agholor’s progressive training camp has culminated in a huge showing today.

Catching nearly everything thrown his way, Agholor has been one of the big standouts of the offseason, but today it all came together for the USC product. The battle between himself and Torrey Smith is heating up for the WR2 spot, but if Aggy can continue to turn heads and make big receptions as he has, then it’s hard to count him out. Agholor has seen a swift change this offseason. After being doubted and put down since entering the league, there’s a sudden resurgence behind him. It’s exciting to see as all signs point toward the year many dreamed he’d have upon entering the league.

 

A chip on the shoulder:
One player who has turned into a monster since hitting worked its way into practice has been Wendell Smallwood. The second year running back simply doesn’t take no for an answer and has taken on a far more aggressive style of rushing.

As the physicality has picked up, so has Smallwood’s attitude. As defenders hit him, it’s the running back that’s pushing back with a vengeance. Maybe it’s the addition of Blount and Clement that has driven a more dominant downhill style out of Smallwood to match, or maybe it’s simply the competition. Either way, Smallwood is running like a man possessed.

 

Smith begins to build momentum:
After a strong day yesterday, North Dakota State’s C.J Smith turned in another strong practice.

It’s encouraging to see Smith’s rise in both confidence and production. After sticking onto the Eagles roster one year ago, the door is wide open for him to run through. The question is, can he dart straight into a starting role? It’s not entirely out of the question…especially if he can maintain this level of intensity during camp.

 

Linebacker battle intensifies:
With Mychal Kendricks out, the gates have opened for the likes of Joe Walker and Nate Gerry to make an impact. The duo bring contrasting styles to the table, but it’s interesting to see Gerry get some first-team reps in the absence of Kendricks.

The formerNebraska Safety-turned-linebacker has had a quiet camp so far, but some reps with the first team in a goal-line drill certainly bode well for a spot on the roster.

 

A ways to go:
After Trey Burton got some reps at fullback just the other day, the Eagles handed the reins over to offensive lineman and former LSU tight end, Dillon Gordon.

As Jimmy Kempski notes, there still seems to be a fairly long road until Gordon is working exclusively as a fullback, but his value as a swing-tackle is surely where his future lies for now. Nonetheless, it’s great to see the Eagles experimenting with different scenarios. Considering that Beau Allen has previously taken regular season reps at fullback, it’s clear that the team are comfortable sharing the load around willing contributors…is it a potential gateway to an increased role for Gordon?

 

Special teams counts:
After being drafted by the Eagles, many assumed that special teams would be where we see Mack Hollins shine. So far, it’s been as a receiver on the field. Special teams are no doubt the best way to cling onto a roster spot and work your way up the depth chart…but for both Hollins and Marcus Johnson, camp has shown us just how valuable they can be on the offense.

With that said, special teams is a crucial facet of the game and an area where if you can contribute early and often, it bodes extremely well for your future. Not only that, but the unit had NO contributions from receivers whatsoever last year. Not a single wideout played a role in Fipp’s unit…so seeing two of the Eagles camp standouts putting in work in that area as well is extremely encouraging.

 

Discipline matters:
As intense as training camp can get, discipline and health matters to the Eagles. While the aim is to replicate regular season scenarios and allow thud-hitting, there’s a limit. Something that isn’t lost on Jim Schwartz or any of the Eagles for that matter.

It sounds minor, but it makes a HUGE difference to a team’s training camp. Baltimore, LA, Dallas, Miami….all teams who have suffered some kind of camp related setback. Keep it competitive, keep it intense, but keep it tame. The Eagles are doing a great job so far of making sure tensions don’t boil.

 

Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

 

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