Nelson Agholor

Eagles-Dolphins practice 10 observations: Alshon Jeffery's big day

Eagles-Dolphins practice 10 observations: Alshon Jeffery's big day

Training camp is technically over, but the Dolphins are in town for two joint practices before Thursday's preseason game at the Linc.

The Eagles and Dolphins held a lengthy pre-solar eclipse practice under the full power of the sun on Monday morning into the afternoon.

Here are 10 observations from the joint session:

1. *Clears throat* injuries: Brandon Graham and Jordan Hicks left early on Monday. No word about Hicks yet, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Graham suffered a strained tricep that wasn't considered serious. With Graham inside, rookie Derek Barnett took first-team reps at left defensive end. And second-year player Joe Walker filled in for Hicks because Najee Goode wasn't practicing, either.

Barnett returned to practice on Monday after missing Sunday with what Doug Pederson called a "lower-body injury."

2. Plenty of notable folks came out to watch practice today: Charles Barkley, Marvin Harrison, Freddie Mitchell, Stephen Tulloch.

Tulloch, who spent last season with the Eagles, retired this offseason. He's enjoying his retirement but was happy to check out practice on Monday. He owes a lot to Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Dolphins DC Matt Burke, the latter of whom was with Tulloch in Tennessee and Detroit also.

3. Carson Wentz got a ton of reps on Monday because the Dolphins didn't come all the way here to practice against themselves. He went to Alshon Jeffery a ton on Monday during 11-on-11s and 7-on-7s. Jeffery had one of his best days of the summer.

"He's very physical," Byron Maxwell said of Alshon Jeffery. "Getting off the line, you definitely need that too. Philadelphia, they've got three different receivers that can do different things. You've got [Torrey Smith] that can take you deep. Jeffery is a guy that can use his body well."

The best ball Wentz threw all day, though, came on a deep pass to Torrey Smith, who beat old friend Maxwell for a touchdown.

A couple plays later, Wentz hit Jeffery for a touchdown after Maxwell was beaten again. On that one, it looked like Maxwell might have expected safety help that never came.

4. Maxwell and Kiko Alonso had rough returns to their old practice fields. Maxwell was beaten for three touchdowns, two to Smith and one to Jeffery, while Alonso was beaten on a quick pass to Darren Sproles near the goal line.

5. If you were hoping to hear about fights or chippy play between the two teams on Monday, it didn't really happen. The closest it got was when Malcolm Jenkins and Kenny Stills jawed a little bit after a completed pass to Stills from Jay Cutler. Nothing came of it. Although, Jenkins is the odds-on favorite to get in a fight from the Eagles' defensive players. For the offense, Jason Kelce gets the nod.

6. Cutler had a pretty good day against the Eagles' defense. After practice, the quarterback who the Dolphins lured out of retirement said he feels pretty rested after joining the team late, looked like it. He was whizzing footballs into his receivers. He kept finding Jarvis Landry in the end zone during red zone work.

7. The Eagles ran a fake field goal on Monday! Donnie Jones took the snap from Jon Dorenbos and rolled right before hitting Brent Celek. It worked!

8. Nick Foles has looked really good since coming back from his elbow injury. It's almost shocking how much better than Matt McGloin he is. On Monday, he kept connecting with Trey Burton. That could be something to watch if Foles ever plays in a game this season.

9. Nelson Agholor made a great catch with a Dolphins defender blanketing him. It was probably the catch of the day.

10. Wentz's arm isn't showing any signs of fatigue after a long summer. He absolutely threw a rocket to Mack Hollins. The laser of a throw made a loud sound as it collided with Hollins, who went to the ground to catch it. It was a perfect throw where only Hollins could get it.

Stupid Observation of the Day: Yes, Kiko Alonso was of course rocking a crop top on Monday.

Nelson Agholor, Malcolm Jenkins get heated during 1-on-1 drills

Nelson Agholor, Malcolm Jenkins get heated during 1-on-1 drills

Malcolm Jenkins had finally had enough. 

So on the third and final time he lined up against Nelson Agholor in a 1-on-1 drill Monday, the veteran safety met his younger counterpart at the line of scrimmage with a thunderous thud. And when Carson Wentz tried to sneak the pass into Agholor, Jenkins popped him again while knocking the ball away. 

As the two separated, they had more parting words for one another. 

What was said? 

"Nothing I want to put out there," Jenkins said, smiling. 

In an Eagles training camp that hasn't had a fight, Agholor and Jenkins got about as close as any two players have this summer. 

On the first 1-on-1 rep against each other, Agholor was able to get away from Jenkins but needed to use a triple-move to do it. Jenkins didn't seem too bothered by that one; not many receivers will have that much time against him in an actual game. 

On the second rep, Agholor made a nice (and more realistic) move to get open and caught another touchdown in front of Jenkins. After the play, Jenkins hadn't stopped and tried to knock the ball out of Agholor's hands, which the third-year receiver didn't appreciate. The two had words, which set up the finale when Jenkins popped him at the line. 

"Going against a great safety, man," Agholor said. "I love to compete vs. him because all he's going to do is make me a better football player. 

"It's competition. Obviously, he's a proven player in the league and I'm working every day to be a good player in this league so I'm going to go against him every day and we're going to compete."

On Aug. 3, after Jason Kelce and Rodney McLeod got into a shoving match, offensive coordinator Frank Reich said he was fine with tempers flaring as long as the guys ultimately took care of each other and didn't do anything stupid and out of hand. 

Agholor and Jenkins stayed on the right side of that line on Monday. But it was fun to watch. 

"We're just competing," Jenkins said. "It's training camp. We're out here trying to make each other better, especially in 1-on-1 drills. It's just 1-on-1 and those can get pretty lively."

Eagles training camp Day 17 observations: Ronald Darby vs. Alshon Jeffery

Eagles training camp Day 17 observations: Ronald Darby vs. Alshon Jeffery

Monday was the last real day of training camp.

Tuesday's practice will be a light 10/10/10 and training camp is technically over after the second preseason game. So this is the last training camp observations of the summer. Try not to shed a tear.

Let's get into it:

1. *Clears throat* injuries: Brandon Brooks (ankle strain), Wendell Smallwood (hamstring) and Nick Foles (elbow) all returned to practice on Monday, although all three were limited and didn't participate in full-team 11-on-11 drills.

Fletcher Cox (back spams) missed practice for the second straight day.

WR Paul Turner (shoulder), CB Ron Brooks (hamstring), OL Josh Andrews (hand), OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee) and TE Anthony Denham (calf) also missed practice again.

2. It's just two days in, but it's already pretty clear that Ronald Darby is the Eagles' best cornerback. Yeah, that didn't take long.

Darby has offered really solid coverage during his two days at practice. On Monday, he played Mack Hollins perfectly during 1-on-1 drills and picked off Carson Wentz's pass. There aren't many interceptions during that drill because it's really hard on DBs, but Darby played it perfectly. Later on, he knocked down a pass intended for Torrey Smith.

And it's been really fun to watch him go against Alshon Jeffery. When those two are matched up, all eyes are on them.

"It's great to have competition," Jeffery said. "He's got great closing speed, breaks on the ball. He's a great player."

3. Speaking of Jeffery, he participated in 11-on-11 drills for the first time in a while on Monday. Jeffery is completely over his shoulder injury, but Pederson has still been holding him out at his own discretion. But Jeffery's practicing nearly in full on Monday might be a sign that he'll play in the game on Thursday night.

After practice, Jeffery said he didn't know if he'll play. But he wants to.

"I would like to," he said. "But at the same time, we'll see."

4. Jeffery did make one great catch on Monday. He rose over Rasul Douglas and was able to get his feet down in the end zone for a touchdown.

5. The offense wasn't sharp again on Monday. Wentz had a shaky showing for the third consecutive day. Sometimes that happens; he just needs to snap out of his funk. The offensive line had a few false starts, and the entire unit then ran sprints after practice. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich tried to claim the running was about team-building.

6. The most fun part of practice on Monday was the battle between Nelson Agholor and Malcolm Jenkins. After Agholor beat Jenkins in a 1-on-1 drill for the second time, Jenkins gave him a little shot and Agholor didn't seem to like it. The two jawed a little bit as Agholor ran back to the offensive side of the field. The next time the two were lined up against each other, Jenkins popped him at the line of scrimmage and then knocked the ball away from him when it came. The two exchanged a few more words after that play. It was a little heated.

7. After a day of trying different combinations at slot corner, Patrick Robinson spent his day in that role on Monday. Darby took most of the first-team reps at left corner and Jalen Mills took the field at right corner. Even when Rasul Douglas came in to replace Darby at one point, Robinson stayed in the slot. That's interesting. Ron Brooks is out right now with an injury but perhaps Robinson could find a role as a slot corner with the Eagles. Earlier in his career, he had success there.

8. Every time Donnel Pumphrey gets hit during practice, it normally draws gasps from the crowd just because at 176 pounds, he normally goes flying. Sometimes it's actually difficult to tell what hits are actually hard. But give Pumphrey credit — every time he gets hit, he pops right back up.

9. Glassboro's Corey Clement has looked good over the last couple weeks. He's still a work in progress as a pass-catcher, but the big running back just seems to hit holes hard. He might not have a great shot at making the team, but he's been impressive.

10. Give credit to Mychal Kendricks. He's not happy with his role on the team and he hasn't been shy about that. But he has had a good attitude throughout training camp and has played pretty well when he's been on the field. On Monday, he blew up a screen pass intended for Darren Sproles in the red zone.

Stupid Observation of the Day: Ron Brooks was standing on the sideline, punting a football up to himself and making it flip end over end a few times before he caught it. He made it look much easier than it probably was.