Philadelphia Eagles

10 observations from Eagles' minicamp: Gerry impresses as team breaks for summer

10 observations from Eagles' minicamp: Gerry impresses as team breaks for summer

I felt like blaring Alice Cooper from my car as I left the NovaCare Complex on Thursday afternoon. 

School really is out for summer. 

Thursday wrapped up the Eagles' three-day mandatory minicamp on Thursday with a shorter-than-usual practice. Afterward, a bunch of players were nearly sprinting to get out of the building to make their flights to locations across the country. 

The team won't be back together again until late July for training camp. 

Here are 10 observations from the last practice of minicamp: 

1. As always, we'll start with the guys who weren't practicing. Jordan Matthews (knee) was held out again, missing all three days of the minicamp. He said after practice that he expects to be ready to go once training camp arrives but declined to go into details about his knee. 

Dorial Green-Beckham (foot) and Destiny Vaeao (calf) missed practice again on Thursday. Beau Allen missed all of minicamp as he recovers from a pec injury. Ryan Mathews hasn't even been in the building. Pederson said this week that Mathews has been excused to rehab elsewhere but didn't know where off the top of his head. 

Jon Dorenbos wasn't at practice on Thursday. The veteran long-snapper posted on his social media channels that he was on his way to Cabo for his wedding.

Fletcher Cox was back at practice after leaving Wednesday with a neck strain. He was limited (didn't participate in team portion) but should be good for training camp. 

2. The defensive star of Thursday's practice was fifth-rounder Nate Gerry, who is making the transition to linebacker after playing safety at Nebraska. 

During the 7-on-7s, Gerry first jumped a pass attempted for Paul Turner and made a great diving interception. Just after that, he had a huge pass breakup in front of fellow fifth-round draft pick Shelton Gibson. 

"Each day, with the transition, I'm just trying to make one less mistake than I did the day before," Gerry said. "Progress every day. I feel like after today, I feel much more comfortable at my position. A lot of learning experiences for me, but now I feel like I'm in a spot where I can settle down and play a lot faster." 

3. While Gerry took a big step forward on Thursday, rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas didn't have a good day at all. With referees on the field this week at practice, the rookie from West Virginia was called for defensive holding three times. 

After the third, which came against Alshon Jeffery, Douglas tried to argue the call, which got defensive backs coach Cory Undlin fired up. 

The thing Douglas has going for him is his size and long frame. Part of his game is going to be his physicality against receivers. But he's going to need to learn how to walk that line. 

4. The nicest offensive play of the day came on a pass from Carson Wentz to Nelson Agholor in the red zone. Agholor high-pointed the ball over cornerback Aaron Grymes and came down with an impressive touchdown. 

The Eagles' spring MVP has undoubtedly been Agholor. Obviously, this might not mean anything. Agholor still has a ton of work to do just to save his NFL career, but it's impossible not to notice him at practice. 

"On the field, he's always been an explosive guy," Wentz said this week. "But, boy, it sure seems like he might have gotten quicker and more explosive this offseason. He's out there, he's getting open. He's getting open, making plays, and it's good to see." 

5. Grymes was beaten by Agholor on that one play but has played well this spring. The former CFL All-Star has gotten more and more reps inside at the team's nickel corner. There seems to be a decent chance for Grymes to make the team and maybe even earn some time in the slot this year. 

6. Thursday was the first day that Jason Peters worked with the first-team offense during full-team drills. He didn't take every rep, though, and Lane Johnson slid over when he came out. 

For the second straight day, Isaac Seumalo took some first-team reps at center. That's been going on throughout the spring. It's clear the Eagles want to keep him ready at both the center and guard positions. 

7. Seumalo had one bad snap in a red zone drill on Thursday, but Wentz handled it perfectly. He leaped to grab the ball and set almost immediately as he hit the ground. He then found Zach Ertz in the end zone for a touchdown. 

On Wednesday, I spotted Wentz practicing bad snaps. The coaching staff was throwing them high or rolling them low. The drill was designed for Wentz to retrieve the ball and get into his throwing motion as quickly as possible. His ability to make something out of nothing is already there, but the coaching staff clearly wants him to embrace it. 

8. Without Cox, who didn't do team drills on Thursday because of that strained neck, the Eagles were pretty light at defensive tackle. Remember, Allen (pec) and Vaeao (calf) were also missing practice. That meant relatively recent free-agent pickup Gabe Wright took snaps next to Tim Jernigan with the first team. Not much to report on Wright; he didn't stand out good or bad. But at least the team is getting a chance to see if there's anything there. 

9. The Eagles' offense practiced a trick play going against air. Darren Sproles got the ball and threw about a 20-yard pass to Ertz toward the corner of the end zone. 

10. Nick Foles missed the minicamp because of family reasons, so the team had Tulsa QB Dane Evans in for a tryout. And the young QB looked pretty good. Good enough that Pederson said Evans will likely be the fourth quarterback the Eagles bring to camp. That would mean they will need to find an extra roster space for him. Perhaps that will come when Ryan Mathews is released. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: All week, when the offense is working by itself, the Eagles have used new offensive tackle Taylor Hart as a scout team defensive end. The guy has actually played defensive tackle in the NFL, but instead of lining him up inside, they've kept him as a faux edge rusher.  

Byron Maxwell using trade from Eagles as motivation; Kiko Alonso not so much

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Byron Maxwell using trade from Eagles as motivation; Kiko Alonso not so much

Byron Maxwell doesn't have any doubts about why the Eagles traded him last offseason. 

"It was obvious," Maxwell said on Monday afternoon. "[The Eagles] needed a quarterback." 

Maxwell and Kiko Alonso are back in town at the NovaCare Complex this week for the first time since both were sent to Miami in a deal that moved the Eagles from the 13th to the 8th spot in the 2016 draft. The Eagles eventually packaged that 8th pick to move up to 2 to take Carson Wentz. 

So, yeah, Maxwell is kind of right. The Eagles needed a franchise quarterback and trading him and Alonso was the first step in making that happen. 

That hasn't changed the fact that Maxwell uses the trade as motivation. 

"Yeah, I would be lying if I told you I don't want to do better than the Eagles do," he said. "I do. I want to win more games than them. I want to prove them wrong."

If he knows the Eagles traded him to get a franchise quarterback, how does he still use the trade as motivation? 

"That's just what I do," he said. "You can call it petty -- I don't know what it is. But that's just what I do, how I feel. That's just realistic. I know what it is but I still want to do better than my old team. I don't think no player wants the team to get rid of you and then they do better, to be honest with you."

The Eagles gave up on Maxwell just one year into his six-year, $63 million contract and gave up on Alonso just one year after trading the franchise's leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, to get him. 

Both went to Miami and ended up being big defensive pieces of a Dolphins team that went 10-6 and made the playoffs. 

While Maxwell uses being traded as motivation, Alonso said he doesn't. The middle linebacker of few words and extended blank stares, just went with the flow when he was dealt to Miami. 

How does Alonso look back at his year in Philly? 

"Obviously, it wasn't the year we wanted," he said. "It is what it is."

For Alonso, his trade to Miami was the second time he was moved in two years, so he said the second trade wasn't very surprising. Maxwell said he was surprised by the move but thought something was up when he didn't hear from any of his coaches after the 2016 season ended. 

Still, both probably should have seen getting moved as a possibility, especially after the man who brought them to town, Chip Kelly, was ousted before the end of the regular season, and in a plot twist worthy of a movie, his biggest nemesis, Howie Roseman, was given back his power. 

"I didn't really get caught up in that," said Alonso, who still has a good relationship with Kelly, whom he also played for at Oregon. "I was just like, just go with the flow. They traded me, I was like 'alright, I'm going to Miami.'"

Both Maxwell and Alonso still have friends on the Eagles' roster, so they said it was good to catch up with them at Monday's joint practices. But Maxwell said he didn't really have any special feelings as he returned to Philadelphia. He spent just one season here and it wasn't really one to remember. 

Both also got a chance to face Wentz -- the player the Eagles eventually parlayed their trade into getting -- on Monday morning. Maxwell admitted he does pay attention to Wentz's progress because, as he already admitted, he wants to have more success than the Eagles. 

Of course, Alonso didn't see it the same way. 

"Naahh," he said. 

Source: Paul Turner out for another three weeks with fractured scapula

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Source: Paul Turner out for another three weeks with fractured scapula

Eagles receiver Paul Turner, who has been missing from Eagles practice since Aug. 2 with a shoulder injury, will be out for another three weeks. 

Turner's injury is more serious than previously thought. He actually has a fractured scapula, a league source told CSNPhilly.com. 

Turner, 24, initially made the Eagles' roster out of training camp last year but was cut when the team claimed Bryce Treggs off waivers. He then spent the first 10 games on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster. He ended up catching nine passes for 126 yards in four games as a rookie. 

During last year's training camp, Turner instantly became a fan favorite as a rookie out of Louisiana Tech. He shined in practices and then was the NFL's leading receiver last preseason with 17 catches that went for 165 yards. And he also had a tremendous one-handed grab. 

With another three weeks added to his recovery time, making this year's roster will be incredibly hard for Turner, who is buried on the depth chart. Three weeks will bring us right to the start of the regular season. 

Other players have been making a push for the final roster spot at receiver. Marcus Johnson, in particular, has shined this summer.