1. Jordan Howard hasn’t gotten much ink during camp, good or bad, because he already has a track record and is often the sort of running back who needs the lights to go on to show his worth. Two years ago, there was preseason scuttlebutt that LeGarrette Blount would be released. Not only was the speculation off base, but Blount would go on to be a productive ground-gainer during the Eagles’ Super Bowl run. Howard isn’t going to razzle dazzle spectators during camp. That isn’t his style of play. He’s a north-to-south back, and with the Eagles’ offensive line, he should be able to consistently average around four yards a carry. He’s also a patience runner and gave a glimpse of that virtue when he paused for a pulling lineman on an early tote and hit the hole. I’m still interested to see how carries will be distributed with Miles Sanders already raising eyebrows, but Howard’s in the last year of his contract and the Eagles will likely move on next season. He should be motivated, and the Eagles don’t have to worry about overworking him.
2. It didn’t take long for Carson Wentz to hook up with DeSean Jackson on another deep route. The chemistry between the quarterback and receiver has grown with each practice. Jackson beat cornerback Rasul Douglas with a double move and Wentz hit him in stride beyond centerfield safety Malcolm Jenkins. I’d say it was about a 60-yard touchdown. Wentz connected with Jackson over the middle on another set, but he forced a pass to the receiver and into double coverage later on. Safety Rodney McLeod made the easy interception.
3. The Eagles practiced in shells for the second straight day, but McLeod took another step in his return from injury. He wasn’t just going through the motions. He made plays. On one Darren Sproles carry, McLeod was in the box. He crept toward the line, stormed inside the blocking Charles Johnson, and tagged the running back down for a stop. Running back Corey Clement took a few team drill handoffs. I can’t imagine he plays in Thursday’s preseason opener, but he’s getting closer.
4. Backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld had been trending up over the last week, but he wasn’t as sharp Tuesday. He will see a significant amount of time Thursday, even if Doug Pederson elects to start Wentz. Sudfeld didn’t get much help from receiver Greg Ward on one of his first throws. He squeezed a pass in between two defenders over the middle, but Ward couldn’t hang on. The second-year receiver has had a nice camp and would get my vote if the team were to keep six at his position. But he’s had drops in successive days. We had a Mack Hollins sighting. He’s been practicing the last few days after a hip injury, but he’s been relatively quiet. Hollins was able to reel in a toss on a dig route. Sudfeld had at least three sideline passes that were late arrivals and deflected by cornerback Josh Hawkins. He has the arm strength, but getting the ball out quick enough, for whatever the season, can be an issue.
5. Clayton Thorson had himself a day. I don’t want to go overboard, because most of what we’ve seen so far hasn’t been pretty, but he dropped a deep raindrop to Ward that was as pretty as any throw Tuesday. He also hit a on couple other downfield throws. He had his share of incomplete passes, but he strung a rope to receiver DeAndre Thompkins and drove the third unit offense into the red zone. He was grooving and looked ready to score (maybe), but Pederson whistled the practice over about 30 minutes before it was scheduled to end. Did Doug have a foursome waiting on the tee or did he just want to cut Thorson’s losses?
6. The season opener is over a month away, but the Eagles’ starting base linebacker unit looked like this Tuesday: Nate Gerry in the middle, Zach Brown at strong-side and L.J. Fort at weak-side (although we’ve seen different permutations the last three days). Of the three, only Gerry played on the Eagles last season, and for just 134 snaps on defense. Nigel Bradham (foot) should be back before the season, but he’s yet to participate in team drills. And Kamu Grugier-Hill is out for an extended period with an MCL knee sprain. Deep reserves Alex Singleton and T.J. Edwards haven’t really flashed, but like running backs, linebackers typically need live football to be properly evaluated.
7. The Eagles made several roster moves. They placed defensive end Joe Ostman on injured reserve after he tore the ACL in his left knee. Ostman was having a nice camp and said that he thought he was on track to have a role on the 53-man roster. The Eagles signed Kasim Edebali in his place. The 29-year-old defensive end has been an NFL journeyman. He did notch five sacks in 2015 for the Saints. Before I even knew his number, I noticed that No. 66 on defense was giving good effort on his rushes. He got by tackle Ryan Bates on two of three three downs during one set, although the middle rush looked awkward. The Eagles also signed cornerback Ajene Harris and waived/injured tackle Casey Tucker, who will forever be known as the guy who unnecessarily fought defensive end Shareef Miller, suffered a concussion as a result, and likely got sent packing because of his numbskullery.