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How well have the Eagles tackled in the preseason? Here’s defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s view. | Early Birds

The Eagles have gotten their tackling fundamentals down in the preseason thus far under a new coaching staff.

Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers (left) tackling Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne after he intercepted a pass in the third quarter Thursday during a preseason game.
Eagles tight end Richard Rodgers (left) tackling Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne after he intercepted a pass in the third quarter Thursday during a preseason game.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

We’re in the thick of training camp with the Eagles holding joint practices with the Patriots this week at NovaCare Complex. There’s an extra level of intensity that comes with these types of practices, mainly since players are going to battle with guys in different jerseys.

Following the two joint practices, the Eagles host the Patriots in their second preseason game on Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. After hosting the Patriots, the Eagles will travel to the Jets for two more joint practices and their final preseason game next week.

With only two exhibition contests remaining, the next 1 1/2 weeks will be crucial both for the solidified starters and fringe players battling for roster spots.

“It’s a real good learning for our guys,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said Monday afternoon. “It will be good to get on a tape and watch and make some corrections with them.”

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Eagles defense tackles ‘really well’ in first live showing

Not only have Eagles practices been relatively short this summer compared to years past, but also they have been extremely tame. The coaching staff hasn’t allowed any full tackling by defensive players. It has been mostly two-hand touch outside of the occasional hard, but unintentional blow after a catch. Players have been instructed not to tackle with the hopes of preventing injuries at this time of the year.

So how did the Eagles manage handle tackling for the first time in a real game setting and under a new defensive system?

“I thought we tackled really well for the first time tackling,” Gannon said. “We’ve got distinct language how we want to tackle people. I thought the DBs, as a whole, tackled excellent. I honestly was worried about. When I was a DB coach, the first couple games in preseason were always sloppy.

“Seemed like [Pittsburgh] had a bunch of missed tackles and we didn’t have a bunch of missed tackles. We’re doing a good job. Even though we don’t tackle in practice, the drill work the position coaches are doing, the game reflected what they’re being taught and how we are trying to tackle people.”

Safeties Marcus Epps and Blake Countess and linebackers Alex Singleton, Rashad Smith and Shaun Bradley led the team with seven tackles each.

What you need to know about the Eagles

  1. I detailed Jalen Hurts’ best performance of camp on Monday with details on his relationship with Patriots quarterback Cam Newton.

  2. Hurts might naturally struggle at the beginning of the season. Paul Domowtich wrote on why Philadelphia’s veteran-led offensive line could help with the franchise’s current transition stage.

  3. Former Eagles coach Doug Pederson has shown face at Colts camp. But should the Eagles have hired the Colts’ Frank Reich instead of Pederson? Marcus Hayes addresses the intriguing question.

  4. EJ Smith breaks down the change of pace from regular training camp practices to joint practices with the Patriots and Jets.

  5. Former Eagles president Joe Banner says the Eagles are threading the needle between contending and rebuilding in his weekly Q&A with Smith.

  6. Hurts and the Eagles didn’t get to play any preseason games last year. That’s different this year for a team that is young and mysterious, as Mike Sielski describes.

  7. Jeff McLane dives into the emergence of wide receiver Quez Watkins, who had a 72-yard touchdown reception in the preseason opener.

  8. I broke down the coaching staff’s positive comments about Hurts’ performance vs. the Steelers.