The Eagles held their eighth open practice of training camp at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday.
1. Well, there wasn’t much action. For the second time since they were permitted to wear pads at practice, the Eagles held what was essentially a walk-through. No helmets. No pads. No contact. With fewer workouts and no preseason, coach Doug Pederson has had to balance competition with preparation for a season that is only 19 days from starting. He also needs to go light with players still acclimating to the intensity of practice. It makes for more boring viewing (and writing), but there were observations to be made.
2. With Lane Johnson sidelined for yet another practice, Matt Pryor took more reps in his place at right tackle. I feel like I haven’t covered the third-year offensive lineman enough here, but he deserves notice because he will make the roster and likely be active on game days. Pryor spent most of his first two seasons at guard, but tackle was his position in college, and he’s taken a lot of reps there at this camp. I think it’s interesting that he’s been on the right side vs. the left. My thinking: the Eagles know they have a capable backup left tackle in Jason Peters should Andre Dillard get hurt or falter. Jordan Mailata has been the second-team left tackle in camp, but I think his spot on the 53-man roster could be in jeopardy. Peters has played only a dozen or so games at right tackle in the NFL, so it’s unlikely the Eagles would move him there if Johnson were to go down. So that leaves Pryor, who would be the backup at both guard spots and right tackle on game days. The seventh active offensive lineman, if Mailata were to be released in favor of rookies like Jack Driscoll and Prince Tega Wanogho, might just be center/guard Nate Herbig.
The Eagles added tight end Tyrone Swoopes to the roster. Josh Perkins suffered an upper-body injury last week that will keep him out indefinitely, which could give another tight end a shot to win the No. 3 spot. Undrafted rookie Noah Togiai appears to be ahead of Caleb Wilson, as he’s had more reps with the first- and second-unit offenses. Swoopes, 25, spent most of his first three seasons in the NFL on and off various Seahawks rosters. A free agent, he had recent tryouts with the Cardinals and Jaguars.
3. Dillard (upper-body injury) returned to practice, although it’s unclear whether he would have been healthy enough to participate in a session at full speed. Receiver John Hightower and defensive tackle Anthony Rush were also back in action after missing two days because of illness.
Defensive ends Vinny Curry (lower body) and Genard Avery (illness) and Mailata (upper body) were added to the injury report, listed as day to day. They weren’t at practice, and neither were defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (pec strain), Johnson, and Perkins. Running back Miles Sanders (lower body), defensive end Derek Barnett (lower body), cornerback Sidney Jones (lower body), and safety Marcus Epps (lower body) all watched practice.
Defensive tackles Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson were given maintenance days off.
4. Press Taylor wasn’t given the title of offensive coordinator after Mike Groh was fired in January, but he has assumed many of the responsibilities. The pass-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach has run offensive meetings and has called plays during practice. Pederson will call plays on game days. But if he wants to relinquish his duties, he has two former NFL play-callers on staff with new senior assistants Rich Scangarello and Marty Mornhinweg. Taylor will call plays in the NFL at some point in his career.
Jason Avant appears to have taken to his coaching-intern job. The former Eagles receiver has spent a lot of time with the rookies, particularly Jalen Reagor. I caught the two working on releases vs. press-man coverage Tuesday. Avant wasn’t anywhere near as quick as Reagor, but he lasted in the NFL because of his superior route running and great hands. He might have been a perennial Pro Bowler with Reagor’s burst. And if Reagor can run routes and make remarkable one-handed grabs like Avant, he could reach that level.