The Eagles held their first live-hitting and tackling sessions of training camp on Friday, the last day in a week’s worth of work.
It was not a good day for the offense — to say the least.
Here are some takeaway’s from Friday’s practice:
Offensive Line: I have been to every Eagles’ training camp practice for the last eight seasons. I’ve never seen a defensive line dominate like they did on Friday.
The Eagles’ defensive line finished with 13 “sacks” on Friday, dominating a struggling Eagles’ offensive line that allowed pressure in the fact of whatever quarterback was under center. The crescendo of the terrible day for the offensive line came in the last two drills, when they allowed seven sacks on the final nine plays, including four-straight sacks to end the day.
The pressure seemed to be coming mostly from up the middle, which is not especially encouraging considering the Eagles are in the process of teaching former left tackle Jason Peters how to play right guard. Peters missed a portion of practice with what seemed to be a lower-body injury, but didn't seem to be playing at a high level when he was out on the field.
To make matters worse the pressure up the middle continued when Peters wasn’t on the field, which isn’t a great sign for how backup offensive guard Matt Pryor did. Defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson both recorded multiple sacks on the day up the middle, with Hasaan Ridgeway also notching a sack.
While right tackle Lane Johnson seemed to have a solid day, left tackle Andre Dillard was responsible for at least one of the sacks, as he allowed defensive end Josh Sweat to get around him and blow up a play with a sack.
Yes, it was just one day of practice, and the majority of the players on the offensive line are established players. But the struggles of the offensive line are nothing new, as they have had issue all week giving their quarterback a clean pocket. In addition to their being issues with the starting offensive line, the backup have struggled as well. Offensive tackle Jordan Mailata has had a terrible start to camp, and seems to get beat on almost every play.
There has been plenty of talk about the Eagles’ receivers this offseason, and putting enough weapons about Carson Wentz. One week into camp, however, without question the biggest issue with this team is the offensive line.
Carson Wentz: It isn’t easy to move the offense when you are running for your life, so it shouldn’t be overly surprising that Wentz didn’t exactly shine on Friday. That being said, Wentz was not especially sharp on the final day of practice after what was otherwise a pretty good first week of camp.
Wentz’s worst throw of the day came on a drill from the Eagles’ own one-yard line. Wentz dropped back, and tried to hit running back Corey Clement in the flat, but safety Rodney McLeod jumped the pass and should have had an easy interception for a touchdown — but the ball bounced right off his hands.
Wentz also missed what should have been a touchdown to receiver Greg Ward on a play that looked a lot like the game-winning touchdown against Washington last season. Only this time, however, Wentz sent the ball sailing over Ward’s outstretched hand and out the back of the end zone.
Wentz’s best pass of the day was a touchdown to tight end Noah Togiai, as he put it into a tight window where only Togiai had a chance to make the catch. It was a nice throw and catch by Wentz and Togiai, and it was the first-team offense’s only touchdown of the day.
Wentz Reps on Friday: 42 reps
Wentz Stats on Friday: 17/26, 1 TD, 0 INT
Nate Sudfeld and Jalen Hurts: Friday was the first day it looked like Nate Sudfeld was clearly the backup quarterback — and he played like it.
Despite shaky blocking in front of him, Friday was Sudfeld’s best day of practice. The difference between Sudfeld and Hurts was clear, as Sudfeld looked very comfortable running the offense and was able to move the ball down the field. The backup even got reps with the first-team offense for a series, but like Wentz, wasn’t able to get much going as he was “sacked” on one of his three snaps behind the offensive line.
What really helped Sudfeld’s chances of holding onto the backup job was the play of Hurts. Hurts wasn’t exactly bad, but Friday was the first time he looked like a rookie. Hurts completed only five passes all day, most of which were check downs. During the intense, live portions of practice Hurts seemed to be having trouble keeping up with the speed of the game, as he seemed to just take off and run almost instantly after the ball was snapped. Hurts also had a pass batted down by a linebacker.
It wasn’t all bad for Hurts, as he looked extremely quick running with the ball, and was able to make two impressive runs when the plays broke down.
Friday’s rough day doesn’t end Hurts’ chances of being the backup, but it was the first time since camp opened where you could see why the Eagles might feel more comfortable with Sudfeld going in if Wentz were to go down.
Sudfeld Reps on Friday: 35 reps
Sudfeld Stats on Friday: 16/20, 0 TD, 0 INT
Hurts Reps on Friday: 14
Hurts Stats on Friday: 5/7, 0 TD, 0 INT
You can reach Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org!