Eagles OTAs observations: Our first glimpse of A.J. Brown

Eagles OTAs observations: Our first glimpse of A.J. Brown

The Eagles were on the practice field on Friday for their third of six OTA practices … and we got to watch!

A theme during Nick Sirianni’s time as head coach has been prioritizing player health and safety. That’s why they’re taking it so easy this spring. And that’s why Fridays’ practice — the toughest of the week — was still just around 55 minutes long and didn’t include any 11-on-11 work.

Still, there were observations to be had:

1. Friday was our first in-person glimpse at new wideout A.J. Brown. While Brown and Jalen Hurts are best friends, they’re still working on building an on-field rapport. While Hurts hit Brown on a short pass early in the 7-on-7s portion, they missed on two deep balls. On the first one, Hurts under threw Brown after a stutter step move; on that one, Brown became a defensive back and had to knock the ball away from Darius Slay. After that play, Brown told Hurts if he’s going to miss him, to miss him deep. So on the next one, Hurts airmailed one out of Brown’s reach. So they’re still working on it. Long way to go before Week 1.

2. Aside from that, Hurts had a very strong day, completing most of his passes. Hurts had some sharp throws on Friday. One of them went to backup tight end Jack Stoll who made a nice catch through some traffic. Although in a game, he might have been in harm’s way after the catch.


3. Isaac Seumalo is apparently getting the first crack at the right guard spot and was in that role on Friday. Of course, three starters on the offensive line (Jordan Mailata, Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson) were not at the voluntary practices. So this was the first-team OL on Friday:

LT: Andre Dillard
LG: Landon Dickerson
C: Cam Jurgens
RG: Isaac Seumalo
RT: Jack Driscoll

So it’s important to note that while Seumalo is likely getting the first crack at the right guard job, Jurgens and Driscoll (two other candidates) were at other spots with the ones.

4. On defense in the 7-on-7 drills, the Eagles had Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps in the secondary; no surprises there. At linebacker, their top two guys for most of the afternoon were T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White, although Nakobe Dean got a rep at the MIKE and Davion Taylor mixed in at the WILL. The Eagles kept it to nickel on these 7-on-7s so no Haason Reddick out there at the SAM.

5. Receiver Deon Cain made a couple of nice catches during 7-on-7s. One came on a deep ball from Hurts when Cain beat Slay in coverage. I wouldn’t worry too much about Slay, but it’s a nice moment for Cain. The former sixth-round pick out of Clemson joined the Eagles on the practice squad last year. He was initially drafted by the Colts when Nick Sirianni was their offensive coordinator.

6. Second-year cornerback Zech McPhearson had a nice pass breakup while working with the second team. He nearly picked off Gardner Minshew. McPhearson was in line to be a starter until the Eagles signed Bradberry. But now he’s back as their top outside cornerback.

7. A little 41-on-41 violence at practice when safety Jared Mayden collided with Britain Covey, who took the brunt of it and went flying. That happened again to Covey later in the session. At 5-8, 173 pounds, Covey is the lightest player on the roster aside from the kicker. It showed on Friday.

8. We saw some movement with the receivers on Friday. Quez Watkins wasn’t at practice so maybe that changed some things. Greg Ward was with the first team as the slot receiver. But we saw A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith take a couple reps inside. While they’ll likely end up playing most of their snaps on the outside, the Eagles will get them inside on occasion to take advantage of matchups. Brown played quite a bit in the slot in Tennessee.

9. The practice got off to a hot start when Hurts hit Smith deep down the right sideline over James Bradberry for a long completion. He hit Smith down the left sideline over Slay later in the session.

10. Former receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is a tight end now and looked noticeably thicker as he makes the transition. He still faces an uphill battle but had one catch in this practice.


Stupid Observation of the Day: During COVID, the Eagles created an extra outdoor weight room right next to their regular weight room. They had to spread out during COVID. Now, they have a small and bouncy turf field in its place.

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