Underdog DE Dominates but context is key: Eagles Training Camp takeaways

Live. Hitting. That was the name of the game for the Eagles on Tuesday, who held their fifth training camp practice of the Summer, and one that would invoke plenty of physicality and surprises. Here’s all you need to know.

Ostman dominates, but let’s just breathe

It was a huge day for Central Michigan’s Joe Ostman, who has quite the hype train building behind him. The star of the 2018 scout team has enjoyed an impressive camp this year, but Tuesday’s live-hitting played very nicely into his breakout.

With three sacks and a TFL to his name, Ostman, on the surface, was frankly exploding and nothing could stop him. The lone thing to bear in mind though, is who was tasked with extinguishing said fire.

That would be project offensive tackle Jordan Mailata. Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m taking anything away from what was clearly a very strong practice, but it’s not like this was against Lane Johnson or even Andre Dillard for that matter. With his huge plays coming against a tackle who is still fundamentally raw, context is important. It’s also a sign of the inverse too. If Mailata is struggling mightily against Ostman, that’s not a glowing observation given the Mountain he has to climb. It’s the first we’ve heard of Mailata this offseason, and it adds some sharp context after a stunning first preseason playing the sport. There’s a long way to go yet.

Sanders steps up:

After Doug Pederson stated that his rookie running back would be ‘eased into training camp’ after picking up a hamstring injury, Tuesday’s practice showed plenty of promise.

The Eagles seem to be experimenting with different ways of getting the ball into the hands of Sanders and who can blame them? Seeing wheel routes in training camp is an exciting prospect, we know how lethal Corey Clement and Darren Sproles have been on sit-mesh concepts in the last two years and adding someone as explosive as Sanders into that mix definitely warrants taking note of. Expect to see plenty more of Sanders as camp progresses.

Aggy’s day in the Sun

Training Camp so far has been headlined by DeSean Jackson, but today was an opportunity for another wide receiver to steal some rays. That man was Nelson Agholor, the team’s starting slot receiver who stood out from the pack on Tuesday.

Target share is going to be a concern for 2019, but with Agholor’s $9M cap hit, it makes sense to give Agholor a fairly chunky slice of the pie. That could become difficult with 12 personnel looking to become even more popular due to the emergence of Dallas Goedert, but with performances like this, Agholor is doing well to remind the Eagles just how dangerous he can be.

SidneySZN

It feels weird seeing so much positivity around cornerback play in Training Camp. We’re so used to seeing ‘X was burned by Y again’ or ‘X really struggling against Y’. Instead, it’s pass breakups and interceptions galore and the man at the center of it all is former second-round pick Sidney Jones.

Jones has been one of Training Camp’s biggest standouts and as of right now, figures to be the starting nickel corner. But, if Maddox does transition to Safety for a short while, it’s likely he will take CB1/2 reps alongside Darby/Douglas. Either way, Jones will be firmly in the starting picture, which is huge as he enters a critical third-year of his NFL career.

Greg Ward shines

Coincidentally enough, on a day I publish an article stating how the former Houston QB will be hoping that the ‘third time is the charm’, he has an impressive day of practice.

The Eagles obviously like what they see in Ward and this is his best chance to make the roster since originally transitioning to wide receiver. Can Ward Jr finally overcome the odds and stick onto the final 53? If he can enjoy another strong preseason, don’t write it off.

A key play

An 80-yard touchdown for rookie WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside was the signature play on Tuesday. A ball batted in the air was snagged by the marauding wideout and the rest of the offense followed him down the field in celebration. You just love to see it.

Wentz is doing Wentz things

By this point, Wentz has been so consistent in camp that it’s become the norm. He’s connecting on deep balls, completing passes all over the field and looks as good as he ever has. Which is frankly music to the ears of any Eagles fan.

What I really like though is the variety of passes being thrown. We’re not just seeing bombs to DJax, or shots down the field. We’re seeing wheel routes to running backs, intermediate completions, and a nice spread of the ball which is huge for a season where target share is going to be a focus.

Lurie is the MVP

A slightly worrying moment happened early in practice when owner Jeffery Lurie had his legs ripped from under him at the end of a play. The players who accidentally ran into Lurie, picked him straight back up and he seemed to be fine.

Props to Jeffery Lurie for being so willing to get close to the action and wanting to be involved in Training Camp as opposed to taking a back seat. It’s that level passion has seen the Eagles become one of the NFL’s most recognizable franchises.

The other QB’s

As for the other quarterbacks, Nate Sudfeld’s topsy-turvy camp continues, with flashes of improvement being shrouded by ball placement mistakes that haunted him last preseason.

And Clayton Thorson is now missing wide-open running backs in the flat, so that’s a thing.

Mandatory Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Perez

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