Eagles Training Camp Notebook: Darby lifts the secondary as Defense begins to rise

Eagles Football
Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks from the left, Carson Wentz (11) Matt McGloin (3) and Dane Evans (7) during an NFL football training camp in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Another day, another Eagles Training Camp Notebook. The team are preparing for their second game of the preseason and looking to get newcomers Ronald Darby, Keevan Lucas, and Rashard Davis up to speed as soon as possible. Here’s everything you need to know from todays action.


Several players who have suffered minor injuries returned to action today, with quarterback Nick Foles being among them. Joining him back on the field was Bryce Treggs, Brandon Brooks, Wendell Smallwood and Alshon Jeffery, who was a full participant for the first time since injuring his shoulder.

The following Eagles were still absent:

DT Fletcher Cox- back spasms, day-to-day
OL Halapoulivaati Vaitai- Knee, day-to-day
CB Ron Brooks- hamstring, day-to-day
TE Anthony Denham, calf, day-to-day
WR Paul Turner, shoulder, day-to-day




Safety storm:
It was all about the Safeties for Jim Schwartz today. The addition of Corey Graham may have provided a spark in the secondary to allow some more aggressive formations when in the nickel. Today saw a lot of blitzing by the Eagles safeties…something we were used to seeing a lot from Malcolm Jenkins last year.

It will be interesting to see how this carries over into the team’s second preseason game on Thursday Night, and whether or not the Defense gets creative with how they utilize a now extensive group of Safeties.




Wentz to Alshon connection:
With his number one receiving option now back in the fray, Wentz wasted no time taking advantage of Pederson’s discretion. Jeffery was back out with the Birds today but wanted to make up for some lost reps by spending time with his quarterback and fellow wideout, Nelson Agholor, after practice.

It’s still unclear as to whether Jeffery will play on Thursday night, but the signs are definitely pointing towards a few offensive snaps for the former Chicago Bear.



Darby builds on debut:
It was an impressive debut yesterday for newly signed Ronald Darby, and today he hauled in his first interception as an Eagle.

It’s extremely enticing to now see a sense of tenaciousness surge through the secondary. The production of Darby and injection of starting prowess is only going to boost the confidence of those around him, but at the same time it’s great to hear how quickly he’s adapting to the scheme and life in the City of Brotherly Love. It was only a few days ago he was practicing in Buffalo…so for Darby to hit the ground running is a huge positive for the Birds.



Redzone efficiency:
If there’s one area where the Eagles struggled all season long last year, it was when they were inside the opposing 20-yard line. This isn’t lost on the coaching staff however, who seemed to place a lot of attention on redzone situations today…just as they have throughout camp.

The Offense finally appears to be rolling inside the redzone, but will it carry over into the regular season?



Gibson on the rise:
It’s been a wobbly Training Camp for Shelton Gibson so far, but it looks as if the worst of the storm is behind him.

There’s still a long way to go for the former WVU standout, but Gibson appears to be making the most of his opportunities after finally getting over a mental hurdle. The question now becomes, can Gibson do enough to secure his place on the final 53?



Secondary stands out:
There’s no doubting that today was the day of the Secondary. From Safety blitzing, to the continued production of Darby, and even the performances of the rest of the DB’s.

There appears to be a certain swagger carrying throughout the unit which for fans is simply amazing to see. Rasul Douglas could be one player who benefits from the spotlight being diverted, but all of a sudden the secondary has become an area of interest as opposed to one of concern.



Clement’s climb:
Wendell Smallwood may have been making a bold statement recently, but Corey Clement isn’t going down without a fight.

If Clement has improved in those areas as ESP mentions, it all comes down to how dominant he can be in preseason. Smallwood has now matched Clement on a physicality standpoint it seems, but do the Eagles want a pass-catcher or a backup for Blount? All will be decided soon…