Joint practices are the highlight of Training Camp for many players. Thudding against your teammates rep after rep, day after day, can get monotonous at times. Fresh competition against another NFL team is welcomed by players most of the time and the Philadelphia Eagles are no exception. They play host to the Cleveland Browns this week and are hosting a pair of joint practices before their preseason showdown.
The opening practice is now in the books and unfortunately for Eagles fans, it wasn’t the smooth-sailing day at the office many were expecting.
Browns defense dominates
It wasn’t a pleasant day to be on the Eagles offensive line. Landon Dickerson headed inside the medical tent early with an injury that pushed Josh Sills and Sua Opeta into some starting reps. From there, there was a lot of one-way traffic.
Jalen Hurts did well to get the ball deep down the field on a couple of occasions, but the Browns were consistently able to penetrate the offensive line and get in the face of the franchise QB for multiple ‘would-be’ sacks.
We haven’t really seen the Eagles offense struggle this summer, so it did come as a slight surprise. However, it’s only a practice and you can bet the Birds will come out swinging with an extra chip on their shoulder tomorrow.
Jalen Carter makes a statement
It wasn’t just the Browns who looked good defensively. Jalen Carter stole the show on Monday by showcasing his versatility and explosiveness. He lined up on not one, but BOTH edges, as well as darting into the backfield on multiple occasions and even picking up a fumble. He ended the day with a would-be sack on Deshaun Watson. The Georgia product is settling into life as an NFL player very nicely, it seems.
Eagles defense answers the call
His Georgia running-mate, Nolan Smith, also made a couple of impact plays, but they weren’t the only rookies to stand out. Sydney Brown received some first-team looks today on the back of his NFL preseason debut. The young guns are looking more and more promising as the days go by.
An underdog worth watching
Outside of Tanner McKee, the star of Saturday night’s loss to Baltimore was undoubtedly Tyrie Cleveland. The former Bronco led the team in receiving with 68 yards on 5 receptions and picked up where he left off in the joint practice against the Browns. Maybe it’s because he shares a name with the team? I’m not sure.
Anyway, Cleveland made a few nice grabs during the opening joint practice. He’s bound to see plenty of action in the coming weeks as he pushes to sneak onto the 53-man roster. He did make Denver’s 53-man squad a year ago and played in 6 games before being demoted to the practice squad. Cleveland will be hoping to stick around on his new team and is doing all the right things to make that a reality.
“Ed” Reed Blankenship
The Eagles might have a lack of real starting depth at Safety, but they do have a player they can hang their hat on. Reed Blankenship made an instant impact when dropped into the deep end last year and has steadily improved throughout the Summer. On Monday, he picked off a Deshaun Watson pass to further add to his ‘Ed’ Reed progression.
Blankenship is one of the young guns on this team who is always worth keeping an eye on. He’s efficient at the catch-point, tackles with real intent, and has plenty of speed at his disposal. Hopefully, we’ll see a few picks in the regular season too!
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)