The Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens concluded two days of joint practices and scrimmages in the 92-degree heat Tuesday afternoon. Afterward, there was a lot of talk about the hype surrounding the Eagles’ high-octane offense. Six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas was particularly impressed with one player.
Thomas, in his first season with the Ravens after leaving Seattle, had gotten beat badly on a deep ball Monday completed down the sideline to Alshon Jeffery. Carson Wentz hit the lanky wide receiver in stride on a post pattern, with Thomas arriving just a hair too late to break it up. Thomas was still thinking about the play as he walked off the field at the end of practice. He commented that Wentz is already in an “elite pool” at the quarterback position.
“I would tell you, in this league, there’s a small pool of guys that you would classify at an elite level,” Thomas told NBC Sports Philadelphia. “And I think he’s definitely in that pool.”
Thomas heaped praise on the entire Eagles’ offense, referencing the tough challenge their skill players presented to the Ravens defense. Especially Wentz.
“Carson Wentz is not a pushover, so it’s good to go against him,” Thomas told reporters, via Aaron Kasinitz. “It’s good to go against that offense. The tight ends are pretty good, receivers are really good, so it’s a great challenge for us.”
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Ravens Have High Praise for Eagles Offense
For two days, these two teams battled it out under a sweltering sun wearing pads during two-hour practices. It was a great test for an Eagles offense that has been bordering on mythical status, with many in the know expecting them to score a bazillion points per game. Yes, that’s an exaggeration. Kind of.
The Ravens defense — a unit ranked No. 1 in the NFL for 2018 — more than held its own against the Eagles offense. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey broke up a deep target Tuesday, while fellow defensive back Jimmy Smith did a solid job locking his men down in man coverage. There were even a few scuffles that broke out, most notably one started by Eagles guard Nate Herbig. All in all, it was a competitive two days of joint practices and scrimmages.
“I think what I’ve drawn from the last two joint practices are the competitive juices that you get from going against a new team,” Ravens safety Earl Thomas said.
Still, Carson Wentz and the boys had their moments. The franchise quarterback was just starting to get in a rhythm Tuesday after hitting Darren Sproles for a nice gain on first down and then audibling and hitting Zach Ertz on second down. On the next play, Wentz lofted a perfect ball 30 yards down the middle for Mack Hollins, but the third-year receiver watched it bounce off his fingertips. It would have been a touchdown.
“That’s a potent offense that has some big-time playmakers,” Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “It was good to get out there and practice against them.”