Eagles Training Camp: Defense Sends Strong Message to Offense

Avonte Maddox

Getty Eagles CB Avonte Maddox is the long-term starter in Philadelphia.

Jalen Hurts and the offense looked a bit out of sync on Day 2 of Philadelphia Eagles camp. The best example of their dysfunction came during 11-on-11 drills when Hurts was picked off in the middle of the field.

It wasn’t a horrible pass, just slightly underthrown. Credit Avonte Maddox for jumping out of his cleats to make the highlight-reel interception on a ball intended for Dallas Goedert.

“Man, I know he’s only 5-9 but he jumped like he was 6-5. He got up there, it was a great play by him, kind of baited the quarterback,” Goedert told reporters. “He took a couple steps up, I think he was guessing that I was going to be running a corner [route] and he just made a good play on the ball. Wish it would have been a touch higher so I could have caught it instead of him but, you know, it’s Day 2 of camp. We’ll get it right.”

Hurts chucked a couple ducks on the day, lowlighted by the Maddox pick, but the young quarterback bounced back on a 25-yard dart to A.J. Brown. Poised and confident. All in all, Hurts has looked more comfortable in the pocket through two practices and he’s making smarter, faster decisions.

“He made checks on Day 1 that he probably wouldn’t have made last year,” Goedert said of Hurts. “He’s more comfortable. I think he knows where he’s going with the ball, quicker and faster, so really excited to see that. Getting us in the right play.”

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Offense Stalls, Defense ‘Flying to the Ball’

The defense came out with more energy on Friday morning, plain and simple. They were on a mission to outshine the offense after what was considered a lackluster effort out of them on Wednesday. The cornerbacks were very active: Darius Slay was chirping; James Bradberry and Mac McCain recorded pass breakups.

Safety Andre Chachere was another standout as he ran with Jaquiski Tartt on the second-team defense. Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps were the starters there. Meanwhile, linebacker Davion Taylor had his hat around the ball all morning. Both Chachere and Taylor recorded interceptions on errant throws from Gardner Minshew.

“I think guys came out and played with a lot of energy,” Harris told reporters. “Fly around, be in the right place, and just control the things we can control, and effort is one of the easiest things that we feel like we can go out there and knock out right away. Guys just flying to the ball. We were able to get our hands on a few pass breakups, and a few interceptions.”

But a good day for the defense means a bad day for the offense, right? Not necessarily. While Jason Kelce did admit that “it didn’t look good” that is what camp is for. Iron sharpens iron. One unit brushes up the other unit.

“It didn’t look good. I’d have to go back and look at it more on tape,” Kelce said. “I think that the defense feels that we probably got the better of them the first day. I think they came out here with a lot of energy and effort today, and that’s what you want to see. You want to see people competing. You want to see sides of the ball competing against each other at this point in camp, that’s going to make us all better.”

VIP Guests Enjoy Eagles Training Camp

Football coaches from the University of Maryland were in attendance, highlighted by former Eagles wide receivers coach Gunter Brewer. He was replaced by Carson Walch after the 2018 season.

Vic Fangio was on the field chatting up the coaching staff, too. The Pennsylvania native is a free agent coach who grew up as a diehard Eagles fan. Would the franchise bring him on board as a special advisor? Maybe. He has 33 years of NFL experience, most recently as head coach of the Denver Broncos.

Lastly, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw was checking out practice. She had her full uniform on despite the balmy 81-degree temperature.

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