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Eagles vs. Ravens: Random Observations from Day 1

Eliot Shorr-Parks
August 20, 2019 - 8:17 am

Before the Eagles start their second practice with the Baltimore Ravens, here are some random observations from Day 1: 

Alshon and DeSean: The Eagles’ offense is getting a great test against a very good Baltimore Ravens defense. It is clear that the Eagle’s starting unit still has a lot of work to do, but receivers DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery showed on Monday why they are one of the best duos in the NFL. Both Jeffery and Jackson did a good job getting open down the field against a talented group of Ravens’ cornerbacks. There were at least four times where Jeffery or Jackson had a step on their man going down the field. Quarterback Carson Wentz, however, was only able to connect on one of them. Even though the results weren’t there, seeing Jeffery and Jackson very much hold their own against the Ravens’ secondary was a positive sign for the Eagles. 

Corey Clement: It took almost three weeks but running back Corey Clement finally had a big day practice— and it could be a sign of more to come. Clement got the overwhelming majority of touches with the first-team offense. He got the first carry of the day and was involved in the passing game throughout. Clement looked quick with the ball in his hands and seems to finally be fully recovered from the torn ACL that ended his 2018 season. If Monday was an indication, the Eagles appear ready to give him a consistent and notable role with the starters on offense. 

Richard Rodgers: The Eagles might have lost their third-string tight end when Richard Rodgers went down with what seemed to be a serious left leg injury during practice. It isn’t clear when exactly Rodgers was injured, but he had to crawl off the field to the sideline as trainers rushed over to him. From there the team immediately brought out the cart and Rodgers went inside, visibly upset with a towel over his head. Rodgers has had trouble staying healthy since arriving in Philadelphia last season, so he never really got the chance to show what he could bring to the Eagles’ offense. If Rodgers is out an extended amount of time chances are the Eagles will keep either Joshua Perkins or Will Tye in his place. 

Stefen Wisniewski: The Eagles have been playing Stefen Wisniewski at center so far during training camp. That changed on Monday. Wisniewski was back in his normal home at backup guard, a move that could be easily tied to the struggles Wisniewski has had snapping the ball this season. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh insisted the two were not connected. 

"Wis [G/C Stefen Wisniewski] has always played guard for us. He's played center," Groh said. "So again, mixing guys in and out and making sure that they're flexible inside."

Wisniewski's roster spot should not longer be considered a lock, but the team being able to make moves like they did on Monday -- moving him from center to guard -- is exactly why he does still have some value. The Eagles' backups along the offensive line are all very young, and Wisniewski gives them a ton of experience at all three interior offensive line spots. Whether he can play all three at a high level is up for debate, but Wisniewski being at least serviceable in all three spots should land him a spot on the team. 

Jordan Howard: It isn’t time to sound the alarm with running back Jordan Howard, but the team has now been in camp for three weeks and he has yet to really stand out. Perhaps that is because he needs to be in a regular season game, getting plenty of touches and being able to run through contact. Perhaps it is because he isn’t used to being in a split backfield. Perhaps it is that he is slowly losing touches to rookie running back Miles Sanders. Whatever the reason, Howard has not had an overly impressive training camp, and the Eagles playing him deep into the first quarter of both preseason games so far might be an indication that they agree. It is going to be very interesting to see how much Howard plays the rest of the preseason and whether he is truly the No. 1 running back in Week 1 like he was projected to be. 

Mack Hollins: It has been a long-and-frustrating training camp for receiver Mack Hollins. The third-year player was finally healthy entering training camp, but was then quickly sidelined with a hip injury. He has been a non-factor since then. He has consistently missed practice and spends most of the team drills watching from the sideline. On Monday, however, Hollins finally broke through and caught the only touchdown of the day for the first-team offense during a red zone drill. Hollins is a strong special teams player and the Eagles desperately want him to earn a roster spot. Moments like the one he had on Monday, where he shows even some potential as a receiver, will make it easier for the Eagles to keep him. 

Eagles’ offense: There is no denying the Ravens’ defense is one of the best in the NFL. Getting reps against them in practice will make the Eagles’ offense better. Still, the Eagles were billed as having one of the best offenses in the NFL and perhaps the best set of skill position players. The Eagles shouldn’t be expected to dominate, but coaches are likely hoping to see a little more on Tuesday than they did on Monday, when the first team offense ran nine plays inside the 20-yard line and only scored once. Tuesday is a good chance for the offense to end the joint practices with the Ravens on a high note. 

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