Eagles training camp 2022 observations: Red zone work on Day 1

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Eagles training camp observations: Red zone work on Day 1 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles kicked off training camp on Wednesday morning with a practice that lasted just 58 minutes.

We’re not at Lehigh anymore.

But the Eagles used this first day as a chance to get a lot of work done in the red zone. Their 11-on-11 sessions and their 7-on-7s took place in that area. They also worked on red zone on Day 1 last year.

The Eagles have a walkthrough, which is closed to the media, on Thursday but will be back at practice at 10 a.m. on Friday. We’ll be back then.

Here’s the first 10 practice observations of the summer:

1. Let’s start with a few housekeeping items:

• The Eagles placed three players on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list: TE Tyree Jackson, OL Brett Toth and TE Richard Rodgers. Those players count toward the roster limit but can be activated at any time.

• A few roster moves were made. The Eagles signed TE Jaeden Graham, C Cameron Tom and WR Lance Lenoir before practice and released OT Jarrid Williams. Graham will wear No. 46, Tom will wear No. 66 and Lenoir will wear No. 34.

• A few players did not practice on Wednesday: Jason Kelce (Covid progression), Keric Wheatfall (Covid progression) and Zach Pascal (illness). Meanwhile, Fletcher Cox (Covid progression) and Anthony Harris (Covid progression) were both listed as limited participants. Cox said he was pretty sick a couple weeks ago but is feeling better now. Neither participated in team drills.

Brandon Graham said there are no restrictions for him as he returns from an Achilles tear that ended his 2021 season very early.

2. Isaac Seumalo got the first reps at right guard. While Sua Opeta rotated in, that’s probably more because Seumalo is coming back from a significant injury. Head coach Nick Sirianni certainly made it seem like Seumalo is their right guard for the 2022 season.

A few other offensive depth chart notes:

• Without Kelce, who is getting over Covid, rookie Cam Jurgens was the first-team center. The first offensive line was (from left to right) Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, Jurgens, Seumalo, Lane Johnson.

• The top receivers were A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins. Jalen Reagor is working with the second team and looked good against the Eagles’ defensive backups on Wednesday.

• Quarterbacks Reid Sinnett and Carson Strong split third-team reps.

3. Overall, Hurts had a relatively solid first day of training camp. There were some good moments, a couple notable mistakes, but overall I thought it was a very promising start.

Kenny Gainwell caught the first pass of camp in 11-on-11s and shortly after that Hurts hit his best friend Brown in the left flat for a score.

The Eagles worked red zone on Wednesday and the third-year QB had several touchdown throws. Sirianni before the practice talked about how much more accurate Hurts was during OTAs and how much quicker his decision making was. We’re just one short practice into the summer, but Hurts does look improved.

And Sirianni is his biggest fan.

4. One of the big questions about the Eagles going into 2022 is about their defensive scheme. On Day 1 of training camp, we saw them mix it up between 3-4 and 4-3 looks. They have the versatility to be an even more multiple defense this season and early indications point toward that reality.

A few defensive depth chart notes:

T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White began the day as the Eagles’ nickel linebackers with Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat lined up as edge rushers. But the Eagles’ mixed and matched their defensive personnel more than their offensive personnel. Haason Reddick was out there quite a bit too and was both rushing the passer and dropping into coverage. Saw him drop into coverage several times.

• The Eagles were in 3-4 and 4-3 on Wednesday, which means we saw Graham and Sweat at times used as standup rushers. We also saw Jordan Davis at the nose and Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams used as 3-4 ends.

• The first-team safeties (remember: Harris wasn’t practicing) were Marcus Epps and K’Von Wallace. The second-team guys were Jaquiski Tartt and Andre Chachere. We’ll see how long it takes for Tartt to get up to speed. It wasn’t a strong start for Wallace.

• The first-team corners (no surprises) were Darius Slay, James Bradberry and Avonte Maddox. Second-team corners were Zech McPhearson, Mac McCain III and Josiah Scott.

5. The best catch of the day came from Watkins on a back-shoulder throw from Hurts. Watkins out-muscled Maddox in the end zone for the touchdown grab in 7-on-7s.

6. DeVonta Smith had an uncharacteristic drop after he found himself wide open after a quick release inside. He also had a chance to make a spectacular one-handed catch in the end zone against McPhearson but couldn’t haul it in.

7. The group working as punt returners on Wednesday: Reagor, Greg Ward, Britain Covey, Watkins, Lenoir. Reagor was up first, for what that’s worth.

8. Rookie tight end Grant Calcaterra made his Eagles training camp debut with a leaping touchdown grab in the middle of the field on a perfectly placed ball from backup quarterback Gardner Minshew.

9. The best defensive play of the day came from Epps, who picked off a Hurts pass intended for Dallas Goedert in the end zone. The ball was underthrown and it came out late, which allowed Epps to get in front of it. Without that moment, it would have been a very clean day for QB1. Hurts nearly threw another INT that wasn’t his fault. Miles Sanders ran into his throwing arm which popped the ball up in the air. Brandon Graham nearly came down with the ball but Johnson knocked it out.

10. Nice play on defense from Edwards, who stripped Brown after a short completion from Hurts. The Eagles’ defense needs to force more turnovers and plays like that will help.

Stupid Observation of the Day: During the joint Nick Sirianni, Howie Roseman press conference, we heard a loud scream from one of the doors but couldn’t see who it was. But I knew. One players consistently screams to start each training camp practice morning: Linebacker Shaun Bradley.

When he finally saw who made the noise, Roseman looked at Bradley and said to the crowd, “Shaun Bradley, everybody.”

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