The workout was a dialed down “10-10-10” session after Sunday night’s open practice at Lincoln Financial Field. There wasn’t much action in the name of competition, but one highlight – if you’re a fan of mid-tempo rock like me – was a surprising playlist of strictly Grateful Dead songs. I wish I had my devil sticks. By track No. 6 – “Me and My Uncle” – wide receiver DeSean Jackson had had enough. He ran over and had the music changed.
“It was OK for a while but had to spice it up a little bit and get some more energy going out there,” Jackson said.
The Eagles’ practice playlist is typically full of rap songs, but safety Malcolm Jenkins, who said he recently started listening to the Dead, chose Monday’s music with the blessing of owner Jeffrey Lurie.
“Mr. Lurie came over and said something about one of the songs he used to listen to when he was 17,” Jackson said.
With practice otherwise uneventful and the Eagles more than halfway through camp, here’s one beat reporter’s list of the players (in order) who are trending up and those who are trending down:
1. Miles Sanders. It’s difficult to place a rookie into the top spot, especially one drafted in the second round. But Sanders has exceeded my early expectations, and I liked the selection. There are still unknowns about his receiving, blocking and ball security, but as a ball runner, he looks like a pure thoroughbred.
2. Sidney Jones. The cornerback had a solid spring session, but he’s upped his game in camp. Even if Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills return by the opener, I’d hesitate taking Jones out. And I don’t want to see him in the slot. He’s an outside corner.
3. Tim Jernigan. It’s difficult for linemen to stand out during camp, particularly when there aren’t live tackling drills. But Jernigan has consistently created havoc. He looks like he’s over the neck injury and could be quite the third defensive tackle.
4. Rasul Douglas. He hasn’t been quite as consistent as Jones. And Douglas doesn’t have his counterpart’s upside. But the third-year corner competes every play and has won more than his share this summer.
5. Greg Ward. His climb to the 53-man roster is steep. The Eagles have four slam dunk receivers and possibly five if Mack Hollins returns to form. But Ward has overtaken bubble receivers like Charles Johnson and Braxton Miller in camp.
6. Nate Sudfeld. He was shaky during the first five or so practices of camp, but Sudfeld has come on strong of late. The backup quarterback job is his – barring something unforeseen – but he’s answered some questions about whether he can win games in Carson Wentz’s absence.
7. Andre Dillard. He was cruising until Brandon Graham switched sides and gave him a few one-on-one bull rushes. But Dillard has mostly looked the part of a future starting left tackle. Even if he doesn’t play much this season his future looks bright.
8. Josh Sweat. The second-year defensive end might have been near the top of this list in the spring, but he’s came back to earth. Sweat’s potential is obvious, though. He should make plays.
9. Dallas Goedert. At this point, Goedert’s progress shouldn’t be a surprise. The same goes for second-year cornerback Avonte Maddox. But it shouldn’t be taken for granted. The tight end is ready to take a leap.
10. Carson Wentz. His performance in camp has done little to dissuade the preseason hype. Wentz is poised to return to his 2017 form and quite possibly be even better.
If it weren’t for this week’s knee injuries, linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill and defensive end Joe Ostman would be on this list, too.
1. Clayton Thorson. Expectations shouldn’t be so high for a fifth-round rookie. But a roster spot as a developmental quarterback at least seemed logical. Now not so much. Thorson has struggled mightily.
2. Jordan Mailata. The hype was overblown last preseason, but it was easy to see why so many got caught up in the Mailata hysteria. The book isn’t closed yet, but expectations may need to be lowered.
3. Mack Hollins. A hip injury derailed his return for several days. He’s back but he doesn’t look like he did pre-groin injuries.
4. Zach Brown. Grugier-Hill’s injury may have saved him some roster cut-down grief. Brown may be a veteran, but it takes time to learn Schwartz’s scheme, particularly for linebackers.
5. Shelton Gibson. He was likely on the outside looking in before Sunday’s ankle injury. He just hasn’t been steady enough.
6. Tre Sullivan. His development as the third safety was one of the underreported stories in the Eagles’ late season drive to the playoffs last year. He hasn’t exactly looked bad this camp, but he missed far too many tackles during live drills.
7. Joshua Perkins. He’s come on of late but drops and penalties were early camp issues. He made the team last year after Richard Rodgers’ knee injury. Rodgers is back on the shelf – although he could be back soon – but Will Tye may have moved ahead of Perkins.
8. Stefen Wisniewski. I don’t want to make too much of his snap problems, because Wisniewski’s overall record should be taken into account. But if he loses the backup center spot to Isaac Seumalo, he doesn’t have as much value.
9. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. He made some splendid red zone grabs in the spring, but the rookie receiver is a work in progress, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may just take longer than some thought.