1. And we had our first legit brawl of training camp. While Casey Tucker vs. Shareef Miller involved some pushing and a head slap a few weeks back, Monday’s tussle between Andre Dillard and Derek Barnett turned into a bit of a ruckus. Barnett only recently started participating in team drills, so it’s not as if he was unleashing weeks of pent-up frustration when he went after Dillard.
Practice was a light one with players in shells and drills meant not to be especially competitive. Which is probably what set Barnett off. Dillard likes to go hard, and in an earlier play, he blocked safety Johnathan Cyprien to the ground rather forcefully. Cyprien had to be held back from chasing after the rookie tackle.
The Barnett-Dillard scrap came in a red-zone drill. Quarterback Carson Wentz had just thrown a touchdown pass when Barnett went after Dillard. Because it was a team drill, there were all sorts of players nearby to break it up. It looked like just one giant pile-up with bodies being tossed about. It didn’t last long, but Barnett was clearly upset and both players were removed from the next play.
A series later, the defensive end laid into Dillard and drove him back so far that he clipped Wentz’s foot. Wentz was fine, but the aggressiveness of what is typically one of the more mundane practices had coach Doug Pederson and general manager Howie Roseman addressing each player separately after practice. Dillard got visibly emotional to the point that he put his helmet back on to shield his face. Pederson and Roseman had the players eventually hug, and that was that.
Neither Barnett nor Dillard wanted to talk to reporters after practice. I spoke with several veteran linemen on both sides of the ball, and they all spoke as if it were par for the course, which it would normally be in a padded practice. Guard Brandon Brooks said he liked Dillard’s intensity.
2. It was odd to see a first-round rookie going so hard in a non-contact practice, though. You might typically see that out of bubble roster players. Cornerback Josh Hawkins tackled receiver Charles Johnson to the ground at one point. Johnson wasn’t pleased and threw the ball at the ground. “Stay on your feet,” one coach yelled.
We’re certainly in the dog days of camp. You’ll often hear players say you know it’s time to start playing and hitting other teams when the intersquad fights happen. The Eagles will travel to Jacksonville for their second preseason game Thursday but return next week for two days of scrimmages with the Ravens before facing them in the third preseason game.
3. The Eagles had a rather large contingent of players miss practice for various reasons. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (foot), tackle Lane Johnson (knee), tight end Dallas Goedert (calf), cornerback Jalen Mills (foot), tight end Richard Rodgers (foot), quarterback Nate Sudfeld (wrist), linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill (knee), defensive end Daeshon Hall (shoulder), defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway (concussion), and safety Blake Countess (hamstring) were out with injuries.
Center Jason Kelce and safety Rodney McLeod took “veteran” days off. Kelce had his right calf wrapped, though, and McLeod suffered a knee scare Sunday. He said he was just resting and would be back Tuesday. Defensive end Vinny Curry (illness), linebacker Paul Worrilow (knee), running back Boston Scott (injury unknown), and receiver DeAndre Thompkins (shoulder) returned to practice.
4. Practice was otherwise uneventful. Wentz tried to float a short pass to running back Miles Sanders, but he couldn’t pull it in. Backup quarterback Cody Kessler hit on a couple down-the-field throws, mostly on sets designed to benefit the offense, and receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside plucked one out of the air. Tight end Alex Ellis made a diving grab on a Clayton Thorson throw and was at the end of the Wentz touchdown throw that occurred before the fight.
Pederson has been experimenting with two-running back looks the last few days. Sanders and Darren Sproles were on the field together on successive plays. Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan pulled up lame and slowly walked off the field toward the end of practice. I couldn’t find him afterward for an update. Wentz hummed a dart to DeSean Jackson. Keegan Render caught a touchdown as a tackle eligible. Who doesn’t love fat-guy touchdowns? He ran a corner route a few plays later but was covered and Kessler threw the ball away.