Eagles Training Camp Notebook: Defense brings the heat during hottest practice of the summer

LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 13: Eagles DT Hassan Ridgeway (98) and linebacker T.J. Edwards (57) tackle Washington running back Peyton Barber (34) as he leaps into the air during the Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Football Team NFL game at FedEx Field on September 13, 2020 in Landover, MD. (Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire)

Eagles training camp continues to roll on as we head further into the dog days of summer. The big story to open up the day was the team moving the start time up by an hour from 10 a.m. to 9 a.m. in order to avoid the heat on the hottest day of camp so far. Head coach Nick Sirianni, however, is a big fan of having guys practice in this kind of weather, stating that it helps the team better prepare for games in hot areas and it likened it almost to a type of team bonding.

This is not something that most NFL head coaches would really put a second thought into, but Sirianni has shown he is not like most other coaches. He can come off a little weird and wacky but his messages are never not clear and he seems to be a good communicator with his players.

Nick Sirianni Discusses the State of the Offense

In his post practice media availability, the second year head coach mainly addressed how the offense looked is progressing. The team today was running 2 minute drills and the offense had glimmering moments, but again, the defense was shutting them down. When asked why he again brought it back to the theme of the day, the heat.

“The other thing you like about it is they get tired a little quicker, and so you have to fight. When you’re tired, fundamentals suffer, football IQs can suffer, so you’ve got to fight through that, so there’s so many great things that are preparing us for the season when you have a hot day like this.

Sirianni expressed that while the Eagles offense isn’t where they want to be, training camp is the place to make mistakes and continue to grow. As many know, defense tends to come to camp a little ahead of offense and that’s certainly been the case so far this camp, but there has been improvement with every new day.

Other Eagles Training Camp tidbits

The injury list for Thursday’s practice was surprisingly extensive and some big names did pop up:

Grant Calcaterra – hamstring

Andre Dillard – concussion

Jordan Mailata – concussion

Mac McCain – knee

DeVonta Smith – groin

Greg Ward – toe


Zach Pascal – illness

The thing that jumps out the most is 1st and 2nd team left tackles Mailata and Dillard both being out with a concussion. DeVonta Smith is the other big name listed out with a groin injury. Of the three, Smith seems to have the least serious of the injuries, as the Eagles are just trying to be cautious with the young pass catcher.

The defensive line also played like the force they are supposed to be in practice. On a day when the offense was only okay, the defense was fantastic. The pass-rush reportedly looked alive and swarming. Stalwarts like Brandon Graham and newcomers like Haason Reddick and Jordan Davis even had their moments in practice today as well.

In individual player news, all reports are showing that A.J. Brown is the receiver every Eagles fan has hoped for. Some reporters have even gone so far as to say he’s been dominating his other Pro-Bowl teammate, Darius Slay. It may just be training camp but there should be real optimism and excitement about what he can bring to this team.

On the linebacker front, T.J. Edwards is having an excellent camp, with 2 pass breakups today, one of which was nearly intercepted. Edwards looks to continue to slide up the depth chart even with multiple new additions to the position in the offseason. Nakobe Dean has also reportedly been quiet this camp. I don’t see this as a cause for future concern but something to take notice of nonetheless.

Photo by Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire