Philadelphia Eagles training camp observations: Jalen Hurts struggles to connect with receivers, Avonte Maddox makes highlight-reel play

Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts and the offense struggled on Friday during the second full practice of training camp at the NovaCare Complex.

PHILADELPHIA — Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is likely to rewatch Friday’s practice — the second full-on workout of training camp at the NovaCare Complex — and wish he had performed at a higher level. In fact, most of his offensive teammates are likely to gaze at their tablets and think the same thing about themselves during their next film session.

While the defensive depth chart put on a strong display, the offense looked completely listless in its second competitive showing of the summer.

Philadelphia Eagles’ offense ‘didn’t look good’

Center Jason Kelce, who stood on the sideline during team drills as he recovers from COVID-19, didn’t mince words when asked how the first-team offense performed on Friday.

“It didn’t look good,” Kelce said. “I’d have to look at it more on tape, but I think that the defense probably feels that we got the better of them the first day, and I think they came out 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 with each other in camp. That’s going to make us all better.”

The offense struggled to click in team drills. Hurts had some off-the-mark tosses, and the pressure from the defense seemed to blow up an irregular number of plays in a shirts-and-shorts practice.

While Hurts got off to a good start with the first phase of 11-on-11 reps, his overall morning left a lot to be desired. While his performance wasn’t as ugly as Carson Wentz’s outing in Ashburn, Va. on Thursday, Hurts didn’t look accurate in this practice.

However, as with Washington’s one-sided workout earlier this week, it’s important to note that it is common for offenses to be behind defenses in the early days of training camp. The offense is trying new things and is asked to do more than the defense, so naturally, there’s more thinking and play-calling involved.

Still, Hurts had some rough moments as a passer, failing to connect with his impressive receiving group through brief stretches. While he did have the occasional completion to A.J. Brown, Boston Scott, and Dallas Goedert, there were some off-target throws that he’d definitely want back.

Avonte Maddox makes play of the day

The Eagles’ defense collected three interceptions on Friday. The most impressive pick was made by starting nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox against the first-team offense.

Hurts targeted Goedert within a web of defenders, and the ball fluttered a bit on the way to the playmaker. Maddox leaped up and made an impressive play on the ball, collecting it in the air and taking off for a big return.

Hurts made a poor decision to throw into a barrage of defenders, and while Maddox (5’9″) needed to sky for the ball, it looked a bit low on its way to Goedert (6’5″).

“Man, I know he’s only 5’9″, but he jumped like he was 6’5″,” Goedert said after practice. “He got up there. It was a great play by him. He kind of baited the quarterback, took a couple of steps, I think he was guessing that I was going to run a corner [route], and he just made a good play on the ball. I wish [the ball] had been a touch higher so I could have caught the ball instead of him, but it’s Day 2 of camp, we’ll get it right.”

Maddox is coming off a terrific season, which earned him a long-term contract extension. The Eagles are counting on him to repeat his success between Darius Slay and new arrival James Bradberry this season.

Along with Maddox’s interception, the depth units picked up another pair of turnovers. First, cornerback Mac McCain broke up a pass from backup QB Gardner Minshew to wideout Jalen Reagor, and the ball bounced in the air for linebacker Davion Taylor to snatch it for a pick. Later, Minshew targeted a receiver across the middle, and safety Andre Chachere jumped the route for an interception.

McCain and Chachere are competing for depth jobs in the secondary. Both defensive backs were with the team last season after arriving just before Week 1. McCain bounced on and off the 53-man roster throughout the campaign, while Chachere became a dependable gunner on special teams.

Eagles’ injury update

Tight ends Richard Rodgers and Tyree Jackson and offensive tackle Brett Toth remained on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. While the trio didn’t participate in practice, they were seen on the field in their jerseys and shorts.

Kelce, as previously mentioned, was limited due to “COVID progression,” as was defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and wide receiver Keric Wheatfall. Fellow wideout Zach Pascal was out at practice but missed working out for a second straight session due to an illness.

With Kelce skipping team drills, the starting offensive line looked like this: Jordan Mailata at left tackle, Landon Dickerson at left guard, rookie Cam Jurgens at center, Isaac Seumalo at right guard, and Lane Johnson at right tackle.

Quick hits from Eagles training camp

  • Offensive linemen, defensive linemen, tight ends, and running backs wore “guardian caps” during practice. Kelce walked out to practice with bubble wrap on top of the cap to make light of the already odd-looking protective gear. Lane Johnson said the caps looked “goofy as sh–,” while Goedert agreed they weren’t aesthetically pleasing.
  • Miles Sanders got some work with the second-team offense against the first-team defense and looked quick and shifty. The guess here is that Sanders was used with the twos to give the first-team defense better looks in the running game.
  • Undrafted rookie Carson Strong made the throw of the day, as he sent an absolute rainbow roughly 30 yards down the field to wideout Britain Covey, who failed to haul it in during 7-on-7 drills. Covey was covered by undrafted rookie cornerback Josh Blackwell who had a hand in the area of the ball but seemingly didn’t make contact.
  • Undrafted rookie cornerback Mario Goodrich, who has switched from No. 32 to No. 31, had a nice pass breakup towards the end of practice during team drills.
  • Third-string center Jack Anderson worked with the second team and seemed to hold his own as a snapper and blocker during drills.
  • J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who has been converted from a wideout to a tight end, doesn’t look like a natural tight end. He’s listed as 6’2″ and 237 pounds. He’s at least two inches shorter than the rest of the players at his position on the depth chart.
  • Cornerback Tay Gowan got to the practice field very early and went through his own pre-practice stretching regime. He’s competing for a roster spot.
  • The Washington Commanders announced after practice that defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who spent last season with the Eagles, was retiring. Kerrigan spent the first 10 years of his career in Washington and made four Pro Bowl appearances while producing 95.5 sacks. He had just two tackles in 16 games last season for Philly.
  • The Pro Football Network Training Camp Tour will continue on Saturday at New York Jets camp in Florham Park, New Jersey.

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