Eagles training camp observations: Jalen Hurts vibes with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, dark-horse playmaker continues to stand out

Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is vibing with WRs A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in training camp. Meanwhile, a dark-horse playmaker continues to impress.

PHILADELPHIA — Eagles QB Jalen Hurts sent the fans home happy on Tuesday following the final NovaCare Complex practice of training camp. Just two days before joint practices with the Browns in Cleveland, Hurts showed his chemistry with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith is only getting better as the summer goes on.

Eagles training camp: Jalen Hurts vibes with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith

Hurts has dialed up countless highlight-reel tosses to Brown all summer. However, Smith had been sidelined with a groin injury for more than a week and missed last week’s preseason opener against the New York Jets.

Still, Hurts hasn’t skipped a beat with either player since Smith returned to the field on Sunday.

During 11-on-11 team drills on Tuesday, Hurts connected with Brown and Smith regularly. The highlight-reel moment for the Hurts-Smith connection actually came on a play that should have been considered a “sack.” However, the referees allowed the play to continue, and Hurts rifled a toss to Smith near the sideline. Smith made an excellent leaping grab and kept his feet inbounds.

The play of practice came from Brown and Hurts (duh) on a go route. Hurts put a perfectly placed deep ball down the sideline to Brown. Brown was being covered by rookie cornerback Josh Jobe — who was running with the first-team defense with James Bradberry sidelined early in practice — and safety K’Von Wallace. Hurts fit the ball between Jobe and Wallace to connect on the deep pass to Brown.

Overall, it was a strong day for Hurts, who started team drills with an excellent throw to wideout Zach Pascal for a touchdown in 11-on-11 red-zone work. He was “coverage sacked” a handful of times, but that was more about the proficiency of the defense — especially in red-zone drills — than the QB.

Dark-horse playmaker continues to rise up

Third-year tight end Noah Togiai is having an excellent summer. He has made multiple catches during team drills in training camp on every visit Pro Football Network has made to the NovaCare Complex, and he shined during the second half of the preseason opener against the Jets. Togiai played well at tight end and on special teams during the exhibition match against New York and caught four passes for 29 yards, including three grabs on a TD-scoring drive.

On Tuesday, Togiai was a standout during practice. Less than 24 hours after the Eagles traded wideout-turned-tight end J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to Seattle, Togiai caught a handful of passes in team drills. His highlight play was a thing of beauty, as he leaped over defensive back Andre Chachere to haul in an impressive touchdown catch off a pass from backup QB Gardner Minshew. The score came on a red-zone scenario play where the situation was fourth-and-goal. Togiai skied for the catch in the back of the end zone.

Togiai has really done everything asked of him during the summer. He’s been a standout on special teams and made the most of his plays with the second- and third-string offense. While Dallas Goedert is obviously locked into his role as a starter, and Jack Stoll seems like a legitimate keeper as a blocking option in 12 personnel, Togiai could force the Eagles’ hand to keep him with sixth-round pick Grant Calcaterra already sidelined for three weeks and counting with a hamstring injury.

The Eagles made the mistake of waiving Togiai as a rookie in 2020, and he was immediately claimed by the Indianapolis Colts, who kept him for an entire season.

Eagles’ injury updates

The Eagles practiced without several players on Tuesday. However, in a positive sign, running back Boston Scott (concussion) returned and took part in team drills with the first-team offense.

That said, Scott and Kenneth Gainwell were asked to take on more starter reps because RB Miles Sanders was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Along with Sanders and Calcaterra, the following players also missed practice:

  • LB Christian Elliss (hamstring)
  • S Marcus Epps (back)
  • DT Javon Hargrave (toe)
  • C Jason Kelce (elbow)
  • WR Greg Ward (toe)
  • S Jared Mayden (ankle)

Scott was still listed as limited, as were OT Le’Raven Clark (hamstring), WR John Hightower (groin), and cornerback Jimmy Moreland (ankle).

As mentioned earlier, Bradberry went to the medical tent during practice and returned to the field but didn’t return to drills after jogging back.

The name game!

A pair of sequences from practice were notable if you like to play the name game. If you don’t like having fun, feel free to ignore this section.

During third-team 11-on-11 work, QB Reid Sinnett fired a pass over the middle to Togiai, but undrafted rookie safety Reed Blankenship jumped in front of the route and intercepted the pass. Reed on Reid crime, right there.

Later, wideout Deon Cain made an impressive leaping catch over cornerback Mac McCain. That’s maybe a funny sentence to three people, including this writer.

Speaking of Cain, he put together a really nice day, hauling in a few highlight catches. His best play came on what was supposed to be a back-shoulder target from Minshew. The ball floated inside instead of outside, and Cain made an acrobatic move to catch the pass over cornerback Tay Gowan. Cain contorted and twisted his body to haul in the ball.

Quick hits from Eagles training camp practice

  • New Eagles cornerback Ugo Amadi, who was acquired in the aforementioned trade on Monday with the Seahawks, will wear No. 32, sharing the digits with RB Jason Huntley. Amadi watched practice from the sideline on Tuesday as he hasn’t learned the playbook and likely just arrived in Philly.
  • DT Renell Wren has had a pretty quiet camp for an NFL veteran. However, he broke up a pass at the line from Minshew on Tuesday. Wren is fighting an uphill battle for a roster spot as the Eagles have a ton of depth at defensive tackle.
  • EDGE rusher Haason Reddick had a “sack” on Hurts with the first-team defense. Unlike most of the day’s would-be “sacks,” the play was blown dead.
  • Minshew and wideout Jalen Reagor teamed up for an impressive highlight connection with the second-team offense during 11-on-11 work. Minshew fired a laser through the seam, as the ball split defenders on the way to Reagor, who made an outstanding diving catch. Minshew fit the ball in between linebackers Kyzir White and Patrick Johnson.
  • UDFA QB Carson Strong didn’t receive a single team rep. He would need an epic preseason performance — if he even gets that opportunity — to make the 53-man roster. He was given a large guaranteed base salary for this season, but the Eagles could put that towards a practice-squad spot. The Eagles could also be bailed out if he were to be claimed on waivers.
  • Pascal, who missed a couple of weeks as he battled food poisoning, has looked uncoverable in red-zone drills since returning for team work. At this point, Brown, Smith, Pascal, and Quez Watkins are locked into the first four spots on the depth chart. The Eagles will keep five or six, with Reagor, Cain, and Covey in the best place to earn one of the likely two remaining spots.
  • Olympic hurdler Devon Allen hasn’t stood out during practice. He really needs a strong camp to make the practice squad, most likely.
  • Despite suffering a thumb sprain, Britain Covey has worked quite a bit over the past two practices. He’s returned kicks and received some team-drill reps.
  • Former Eagles wideout and two-time Super Bowl champion Torrey Smith visited practice. He was joined on the field by fellow Super Bowl LII-winning teammates, Brent Celek and Darren Sproles, who serve in advisory roles with the Eagles’ front office.
  • UPDATE: The Eagles waived wideout Lance Lenoir, cornerback Jimmy Moreland, and safety Jared Mayden with injury designations ahead of the NFL’s initial cutdown deadline to 85 players. If Moreland, Lenoir, and/or Mayden pass through waivers unclaimed, they will revert back to the Eagles’ injured reserve list and will not count against the active roster. Stay tuned to PFN’s cut tracker for the latest roster moves ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.
  • PFN’s Training Camp Tour will continue with this writer at Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans joint practices in Nashville on Wednesday. Matthew Cannata will continue to cover Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots joint practices in Foxborough, Mass. on Wednesday as well.

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