All you need to know from the second Eagles & Patriots joint practice

Eagles quez watkins
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 12: Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Quez Watkins (16) celebrates his touchdown with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) during the preseason game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Pittsburgh Steelers on August 12, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The Eagles and Patriots clashed again at the NovaCare Complex ahead of Thursday’s preseason showdown at Lincoln Financial Field. Here’s all you need to know from another intense day of work for the Birds.

Injury updates

There were a few injury updates of note today, with neither Derek Barnett or Javon Hargrave taking part in team drills. DeVonta Smith is reportedly almost back to 100% which is an encouraging sign for the Eagles. Whether or not he sees preseason action is anyone’s guess, but it would be smart to be cautious with the first-round selection.

JJAW builds light momentum

It’s been a quiet camp for former second-round pick J.J Arcega-Whiteside. The Stanford product has been largely overshadowed by the speedy depth on the roster, while big-bodied target Travis Fulgham has allowed little in the way of an opening to make his mark.

JJAW picked up some steam today with a few strong catches, but there’s still a lot of work to be done if he is to somehow make it onto the final 53-man roster given just how intense the wideout competition really is right now.

Jalen Hurts builds on his best practice yet

The bonafide QB1 lit up the Patriots yesterday and picked up where he left off during today’s practice.

Hurts has seemed to develop a real rapport with both Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz, which can only mean good things. The QB finding solace in his star pass-catching tight ends should only inspire more confidence and we saw Hurts go to both targets on numerous occasions during his preseason debut. If that continues into the regular season, then keeping Zach Ertz around may well prove to be the smartest move after all, with Hurts having two reliable security blankets over the middle.

Eagles D might be…good?

The Eagles defense had come under fire pretty regularly this Summer and Thursday’s loss to the Steelers did anything but change that. However, they appear to have really gotten the best out of New England in back-to-back practices now.

I think this unit still carries so much intrigue and mystery that the reports that come out are always that much more amplified. Gannon’s defense appears so varied and mixed in terms of how they’re going to line up in multiple fronts that getting a real grasp on how they’re performing can feel tricky. However, silencing what is a pretty strong group of Pats receivers is certainly worthy of a round of applause.

Quez does what Quez does best

Quez Watkins has undoubtedly been this year’s preseason hero, burning his teammates at any given opportunity. After putting the burners on JC Jackson yesterday, he decided to go one step further and break his ankles.

I broke down what’s changed in his game in comparison to his rookie year and it’s genuinely scarily impressive to see a receiver look this much more refined in his craft as a route-runner, especially when getting off the line. With confidence flowing and momentum building, it’s hard to deny that Watkins should be given a starting spot for week one.

Gronk spike

Former Bills QB Tyree Jackson is another name who has shined this Summer, and decided to really put the Cherry on the Cake in today’s practice. Playing against the Patriots, he saw it fitting to ‘Gronk spike’ the ball int he endzone after making a huge touchdown pass.

There’s a strong chance that Jackson displaces Richard Rodgers at this point, but seriously, how can you not love this guy?

Reagor highlight catch

Today’s biggest highlight came from TCU product Jalen Reagor, who has made a habit of drawing similar headlines this Summer. Just a few practices after dazzling during a team practice, Reagor completed a one-handed grab that stunned just about everyone in attendance, with some drawing comparisons to that Odell Beckham Jr. Reception.

It’s really nice to see Reagor building up a solid resume after such a shaky start to the offseason. After going through a tough time in his personal life and showing up to camp in a shape that wasn’t good enough, before getting his ear bitten off by Nick Sirianni, he’s rebounded really well.

K’Von gets it

If there’s one thing Philadelphia fans love, it’s trash talkers. No, we don’t mean the Jalen Mills type, but more the Brandon Graham kind. Second-year safety K’Von Wallace seems to have learned a few tricks from the veteran defensive end, making sure to get into Cam Newton’s head during today’s action.

You just love to see it. Wallace could be pushing for a bigger defensive role this year and it’s clear he’s not only been grinding tape, but has enough swagger about him to chirp a quarterback with a very strong reputation. Let’s hope that form carries into the preseason.

Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire