Friday’s Philadelphia Eagles practice was an encouraging one.
Call it the ‘Underwear Olympics’ or whatever you want. but as the Philadelphia Eagles closed practice on Friday, there were a lot of people walking away with the feeling that there was plenty to be encouraged about. Seriously, how great is it that we’re talking about ‘Birds’ football and one of the overwhelming stories isn’t whether or not Carson Wentz can stay healthy?
That’s been common throughout camp since the ‘Birds’ put the pads on for the first time on Monday. You can literally talk about this team for hours upon hours, and Philly’s star quarterback’s name might not come up. That’s a good thing, but among the emergence of undrafted guys like Grayland Arnold and Elijah Riley and the seemingly immediate impact of those three wide receivers Philly took in the most recent draft is just the tip of the iceberg.
Here are the two biggest stories that came out of camp after Friday’s session closed. Keep in mind the fact that this was the most physical practice so far, one where they were live and tackling.
The Philadelphia Eagles defensive line looks dominant.
How about Malik Jackson? It’s hard to believe that a former Super Bowl champion that made the Pro Bowl in 2017 is one of the forgotten men on any roster, but that’s sort of been the case with the six-foot-five, 290-pounder.
Jackson spearheaded a Friday morning ‘sack party’, one in which the defensive line looked dominant. He racked up three of his own in addition to the phenomenal performances by some other trench warriors. Joe Ostman beat Jordan Mailata on just about every play where they were matched up versus one another. Casey Toohill was seen making plays. The pressure was constant.
The day ended with the defensive line tallying seven sacks on the final nine offensive plays. Following the final of the day, Jordan Mailata was seen throwing his helmet. Doug Pederson reprimanded him immediately afterward. He doesn’t look like someone who’s going to make the roster.
Could this be a bounceback year for JJ Arcega-Whiteside in his second season with the Philadelphia Eagles?
People have been talking about Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and Quez Watkins all week and for good reason. They’re going to be good. Sure game speed is different, but the light seems to be coming on, and the moment doesn’t appear to be too big for them.
Not to be outdone, JJ Arcega-Whiteside has been doing his thing as well. On Thursday, he took the field with the first-team offense and lined up opposite of Darius Slay. The result was an immediate completion in front of the shutdown corner on a slant pass. ‘JJAW’ continued to excel on Friday, making terrific catches including two where he showed off the ‘hops’ and made a nice toe-tap on the sideline and another when he snagged one in tight coverage. Don’t give up on him yet. He knows what’s been said about him and so far, he appears to be a totally different person than he was for the majority of last season.