Philadelphia Eagles

10 observations from Eagles minicamp: Carson Wentz on the money all day

10 observations from Eagles minicamp: Carson Wentz on the money all day

After Wednesday's practice, the Eagles have just one day left until their long break heading into training camp.

In that extended break, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz said he will have some skill position players up in his home state of North Dakota for some working out and bonding time.

If nothing else, it will be a little relief from the heat.

Wednesday was another hot one in South Philly, but at least some relative cloud cover made it manageable.

Here are 10 observations from practice:

1. Speaking of Wentz, he had his best day (of the days reporters have been able to watch) this spring. At times over the last few weeks, he has been up and down, but he was on the money Wednesday. Extremely accurate.

Throughout the entire practice, there were just three bad plays: a jump ball to Torrey Smith that landed incomplete, a miscommunication with Smith that was picked of by Rodney McLeod and an overthrow on the sideline.

Aside from those plays, Wentz was money. He connected on two deep balls (probably about 50 yards apiece) to Nelson Agholor.

Head coach Doug Pederson said that Wentz has been showing him enough consistency throughout the spring, but Wentz simply hasn't been that consistent. Wednesday was a big day for him.

2. When the offense got on the field going against air, it was practicing play-action passes and passes where Wentz was rolling out of the pocket. It seemed to really get him into a rhythm early. It's something we saw at times from him during his rookie season. When he's able to throw on the run, the other passes start falling easier. His ability to throw on the run is what might end up separating him from quarterbacks around the league; he's really good at it.

3. Let's talk about Agholor. If an alien landed his spaceship at the NovaCare Complex and was explained the rules of football and allowed to watch all of the Eagles' practices this spring, he would be convinced Agholor is the team's best receiver.

Because for the past few weeks, he has been.

That certainly has Eagles fans rolling their eyes, and rightfully so. Agholor has been a disaster once he gets in games and has come nowhere near living up to his draft status. And it's hard to believe he's turned a corner. But it's undeniable that he's looked good this spring, which might speak to the unimportance of these workouts as a whole.

4. Jordan Matthews (knee) was still not on the field Wednesday. Last week, Doug Pederson was unsure if Matthews would practice at all this week; now it looks unlikely. The team will give him an extended period of time to heal before training camp.

Elsewhere, Fletcher Cox left practice early with a neck strain, and Dorial Green-Beckham missed practice with a foot injury. Neither injury seems serious. 

Newcomer and veteran Gabe Wright took his first-team reps next to Tim Jernigan.

5. Rookie Shelton Gibson has had a really tough spring. No other way to put it. But the West Virginia product finally made a couple really nice plays. He made two contested catches in traffic -- one in 11-on-11 and one in 7-on-7. For a rookie who has been down on himself because of the struggles, those two plays might help to bring back some confidence.

Second-year player C.J. Smith, from North Dakota State, also had a good day of practice and even got some first-team reps over Rasul Douglas in 7-on-7s. Perhaps the play that pushed him into action with the ones was in 11-on-11s, when he played perfect coverage on Gibson and stepped in front of him for a pick. Smith still has a shot at the roster.

6. Allen Barbre and Isaac Seumalo continue to split first-team reps at left guard and Lane Johnson continues to get first-team reps at left tackle full-team drills. Jason Peters isn't participating in full-team drills yet after returning to the team this week.

Overall, the offensive line had a good day after giving up a few sacks on Tuesday. It gave Wentz plenty of time to throw.

Seumalo took a few reps at first-team center. The team makes sure he gets reps at center here and there.

7. Peters seemed happy about his one-year extension and the chance to finish his career with the Eagles. One of the underrated things Peters brings to the table is his ability to help younger players. While he's a quiet guy in the media, Peters is always around to help rookies and anyone who needs it. After practice on Wednesday, he was giving 1-on-1 instruction to Chance Warmack in the locker room. And Halapoulivaati Vaitai said during these practices when Peters isn't doing everything, he's giving the other tackles tips between plays.

8. Najee Goode is still a fringe roster guy, but he's been playing well. He made one diving pass breakup against Zach Ertz on Wednesday.

9. We all know Donnel Pumphrey is a quick and shifty player, but I saw something from him on Wednesday I haven't seen much of before. He took a handoff and busted through the line, pulling off the smoothest spin move I have seen in a while. It was impressive enough to leave a linebacker with armfuls of air.

10. Over the last couple days, when the Eagles go into two-running back sets, Pumphrey and Darren Sproles are on the field. When they go single-back, LeGarrette Blount gets the first shot, followed by second-year player Wendell Smallwood.

We still don't have a clear idea of what the running back rotation will look like during the season. Maybe that will start to come into focus during training camp.

Stupid Observation of the Day: When the offense was going against air (no defense), the referee patrolling the sideline ran with the receivers on every play when they caught a ball. One one play, Torrey Smith ran the entire length of the field and the referee stayed with him (kind of). When Smith crossed the goal line, the ref was down there to signal touchdown.

NFL Notes: Supporters hold rally for Colin Kaepernick at NFL headquarters

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AP Images

NFL Notes: Supporters hold rally for Colin Kaepernick at NFL headquarters

NEW YORK -- Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks, showed their solidarity with him and his cause at a rally outside the headquarters of the National Football League on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 people, many wearing jerseys bearing Kaepernick's name, crowded the steps outside the NFL's midtown Manhattan offices.

Kaepernick, who once took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, opted out of his contract with the team in March and remains unsigned. Supporters say he is being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.

Chants at the demonstration included "Boycott! Boycott!" Women's March organizer Tamika Mallory, addressing football fans, said, "I don't care how long you've been watching football, if they don't stand up for your children, turn the damn TV off."

Political commentator Symone Sanders said, "We are all standing with Kaepernick. It is time for the NFL to put up or shut up" (see full story).

Browns: Kizer to start at QB in 3rd preseason game
BEREA, Ohio -- Rookie DeShone Kizer is Cleveland's new starting quarterback.

Coach Hue Jackson has elected to go with Kizer, a second-round pick from Notre Dame, over veterans Brock Osweiler and Cody Kessler. Kizer has been the most consistent of the three during training camp and led the Browns to three touchdowns during his two exhibition appearances.

Jackson said Kizer will start Saturday's exhibition in Tamp Bay and "is certainly positioning himself well to earn the starting job heading into the regular season."

The Browns open the season on Sept. 10 against Pittsburgh.

Unless he stumbles against the Buccaneers, Kizer will be the 27th different quarterback to start for the Browns since 1999. The big-armed 21-year-old has shown no signs of being intimidated by the jump to the pros after making 23 starts in two seasons for the Fighting Irish (see full story).

Raiders: Pro Bowl LT Penn ends holdout
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn has ended his holdout with the Oakland Raiders.

Penn reported for practice on Wednesday, ending his 26-day holdout. Penn was looking for an improved contract but general manager Reggie McKenzie said earlier in training camp that he would not negotiate a new deal with Penn until he arrived at camp.

The Raiders could have fined Penn $40,000 for each day of camp he missed but the team is not expected to do that.

Penn is entering the final year of an $11.9 million, two-year contract. He is scheduled to earn $5.8 million in base salary this season with another $1.3 million in incentives and bonuses (see full recap).

Steelers: Star RB Bell hints at return date
PITTSBURGH -- Steelers star Le'Veon Bell has suggested on Twitter that he will return to the team on Sept. 1, the day after Pittsburgh's final preseason game.

Bell hasn't signed his franchise tender and has been holding out through training camp. Responding to a fan Tuesday night asking when he plans to end his holdout, Bell wrote: "9-1-17" and added a wink.

The franchise tender offered Bell will guarantee him $12.1 million for the upcoming season. The two-time Pro Bowl running back has been seeking a long-term deal.

Bell rushed for 1,268 yards and seven touchdowns last season and also caught 75 passes for 616 yards and two TDs.

Redskins: Reed makes on-field debut at practice
ASHBURN, Va. -- Jordan Reed is back at practice with the Washington Redskins.

The 27-year-old tight end made his on-field debut Wednesday after missing almost the first month of practices with a toe injury. Reed missed the team's first two preseason games and was activated off the physically unable to perform list on Sunday.

Reed was examined by a foot specialist Aug. 1 and recently started using wider shoes and orthotics to help alleviate the soreness in the big toe on his left foot. Last week he said it felt better when running routes and walking around and doesn't expect the injury to affect him during the season.

One of quarterback Kirk Cousins' most consistent and effective targets, Reed had 66 catches for 686 yards and six touchdowns last season despite missing four games with injury (see full story).

Giants: OL Bowie waived after domestic charges disclosed 
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants have waived Michael Bowie days after finding out that the offensive lineman had been charged with assault and battery in Oklahoma.

The Giants announced the decision Wednesday along with three moves.

The team learned of the charges on Saturday and did not allow the 25-year-old free agent to make the trip to Cleveland for a preseason game against the Browns on Monday night.

Bowie is accused of grabbing his girlfriend by the neck during a fight at her home in Bixby, Oklahoma, then broke two televisions and punched a hole in the wall.

Court records don't list an attorney for Bowie, a Tulsa resident. His agent says Bowie is working to prove his innocence, saying there was no physical contact with the girlfriend.

New York also waived offensive linemen Corin Brooks, and waived/injured wideouts Darius Powe and Andrew Turzilli (see full story).

Former Eagles special teamer Bryan Braman heading to Saints

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USA Today Images

Former Eagles special teamer Bryan Braman heading to Saints

Former Eagles special teamer Bryan Braman has agreed to terms to join the New Orleans Saints on a one-year deal, according to his agent Sean Stellato. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport first reported the deal. 

Braman, 30, spent the last three seasons with the Eagles and played a major role on Dave Fipp's unit, which has been considered one of the top in the NFL during that span. He had been a free agent throughout the spring and summer after his contract ran out with the Eagles. 

Braman came to Philadelphia as a free agent from the Texans before the 2014 season on a two-year deal and later restructured his contract to take a pay cut and give him an extra year in Philly. 

While Braman rarely made it on the field for the defense in those next three seasons, he played a total of 1,214 special teams snaps, the most of any player on the team. He played in all 48 games over the last three seasons. 

Even without Braman, the Eagles still have plenty of key special teams players like Chris Maragos, Najee Goode and Kamu Grugier-Hill.