The Eagles' three-day mandatory mincamp ended Thursday. Here are some notes and observations from Day 3:
First, a qualifier: It's June, the players are running around in shorts, and the depth chart is written in erasable ink. So everything from here should be taken with a fine grain of salt.
-- Thursday's practice was much shorter and less strenuous than the first two. There weren't any team drills – just individual, installation and 7-on-7s. A number of players, including Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce, have noted that they feel fresher this spring than in the previous three springs under Chip Kelly. The tempo of Kelly's practices made sure that the players were conditioned by the end of the spring, but they also might have been unnecessarily exhausting. There seemed to be more standing around during Doug Pederson's practices, though. Whether that's good or bad is unknown, but Kelly made sure he maximized his time. Toward the end of Wednesday's indoor session, the Eagles ran 7-on-7 drills. Typically, both lines will work individually during 7-on-7s, but during this set, both groups just stood and watched. The cramped environs might have had something to do with the standing around, but there was still plenty of space for them to get their side work in.
-- During the install period, we saw a formation that took advantage of the Eagles' depth at tight end. Pederson said earlier this week that the position – with Brent Celek, Zach Ertz, Trey Burton and Chris Pantale -- could be the team's deepest. On this particular play, the Eagles lined up triple tight ends to the right. Sam Bradford tossed a bubble screen to Ertz, and Celek, Burton and a pulling Kelce blocked downfield.
-- The 7-on-7 portion of practice dealt with red zone drills. Bradford started by hitting Nelson Agholor on a crosser. The receiver then waltzed into the end zone. Bradford overthrew Ertz on a corner fade and then checked down short of the goal line on the next three plays. He finally went back to the end zone with another fade to Ertz, but the ball was out of the tight end's grasp. The Eagles need to do a better job of utilizing Ertz's athleticism in the red zone this season. Celek couldn't hold onto Bradford's last pass of the spring.
-- Chase Daniel was more effective. He connected with Josh Huff for a 25-yard score. I've pointed out Huff's daily gaffes during the spring – except for Wednesday, when he was sent home because of sickness -- but he made a splendid leaping grab here. Later, Agholor seemed to extend the football over the plane of the goal line on an "out" pattern near the pylon, but he lost the ball out of bounds. Daniel threw a dart to Jordan Matthews in the back of the end zone for a touchdown, which set Jim Schwartz off. The defensive coordinator called his defenders a nasty name and they responded -- particularly, his third unit.
-- Carson Wentz struggled during his red zone series. He threw short of tight end M.J. McFarland, and linebacker Mike Tavarres broke up the pass. He then flung the ball out of the back of the end zone with no one open. Wentz got some starting reinforcements, but he threw a flat fade that Matthews couldn't hang onto. He did manage to squeeze a pass to Ertz for a score. But his final pass was maybe his worst of the spring. He zeroed in on his target, clutched two or three times, and threw the ball right to the emerging Jordan Hicks for an interception. It wasn't a positive way to end his first minicamp, but overall, Wentz had a promising month of practices.
See ya in July!