Camp Observations: Eagles DBs snag 4 INTs

Camp Observations: Eagles DBs snag 4 INTs
July 30, 2014, 4:30 pm
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Finally, after coming so close Monday at the Linc, after seeing the media have fun at their expense, the Eagles produced their first interception of training camp.

They didn’t stop at one.

Malcolm Jenkins started early Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex, picking off Mark Sanchez in 4-on-3 drills, setting the stage for Cary Williams to snag pick No. 2 a few minutes later. Williams jumped in front of rookie wideout Josh Huff to hand Matt Barkley his first turnover of camp.

Brandon Boykin got his first pick during red-zone drills and Jenkins finished off the four-pick festivities by jumping a Nick Foles pass for Darren Sproles in the flat and securing the catch. The Eagles would have picked off five passes if safety Earl Wolff hadn’t dropped an easy one.

“I know y'all was talking about yesterday, ‘Three days without an interception’ and stuff like that,” Williams said. “So we relayed the message, me and Jenk.”

Jenkins, not a high-volume interception guy throughout his career, had nothing but green ahead of him after the second interception. In a real game, that’s a pick-six.

“He did a great job of getting out in the route and cutting the route,” Foles said, “and I love to see that aggressiveness.”

Word spread quickly about Jenkins’ big day, especially in cyberspace. After practice, “Malcolm Jenkins” was trending on Twitter.

“I think over the first few days we didn’t have pads so we weren’t able to get as many re-routes and things like that,” Jenkins said. “Even last practice, at the stadium, we were really close to a lot of them. [Today], we were just one step closer.”

Other observations from the fourth training camp practice:

Stock rising
Wolff’s having an outstanding camp. Yeah, it’s early, but you can see the development from day to day. He knows the defense, knows his responsibilities and is making plays on instinct. He broke up a deep pass Monday at the Linc and earned a promotion to the first team Wednesday ahead of Nate Allen.

Wolff batted down a Foles pass to James Casey over the middle in 7-on-7s — should have been picked off. A few snaps later, he stayed tight in coverage after Brad Smith tried to lose him with a double move. Smith couldn’t separate and missed a good lead pass in the end zone from Foles.

Stock falling
Mark Sanchez, who has looked good so far in camp, was picked off twice. Along with his two turnovers, Sanchez seems locked onto rookie receiver Jordan Matthews. I mean, like every pass. Sure, Matthews is a nice, big target who gets open. But if all 11 on defense played man coverage on Matthews, would Sanchez still pull the trigger? We’ll never know.

Trending up
Foles really worked the back-shoulder throw in drills and scrimmages. Apparently, it was by design. Foles and some receivers said the daily game plan called for the offense to work on those kind of throws, which have become trendy throughout the league as outside receivers are getting taller and bigger.

Foles hit on plenty, missed on others. It’s not an exact science and receivers never know when it’s coming, but for someone who is tinkering with a new throw, Foles looked pretty good. It helps that he has taller receivers to work with this season, and it also shows a continuation of an evolving offense in the post-DeSean era, especially in combating man coverage.

Earlier on Wednesday, I wrote about the abundance of wheel routes in practice last week (see story). Wonder what else we’ll see as the week, and as camp, progresses.

Climbing the chart
You may not hear much about rookie outside linebacker Marcus Smith’s maturation, but it’s happening. On Monday at the Linc, he ran with the second team for the first time since training camp started. On Wednesday, he continued to impress his teammates. Both Connor Barwin and DeMeco Ryans said they expect Smith to make an impact this year on the defense.

Over-30 Day?
Some veterans, Ryans and Evan Mathis for example, had their reps taken over by backups. With the team in pads again, perhaps Chip Kelly was taking it easy on his core of older guys. Andy Reid used to give days off to guys over 30 — “over-30 days” they were called.

Injury update
Rookie wideout Huff got banged up at the end of a play and stayed on the ground for a little bit before getting up and heading to the trainer’s tent. He eventually returned and dropped a pass from G.J. Kinne.

Up next
Another afternoon practice at the NovaCare Complex, starting at 11:45 a.m.

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