Defense makes ’em miserable
Ravens unable to gain any headway in final session of joint practice with Eagles
PHILADELPHIA — The training camp portion of the preseason is complete.
The Eagles held their final open practice of the year Tuesday, the second day of a joint operation with the Baltimore Ravens in sweltering conditions. The teams will meet in a preseason game Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
This arrangement clearly pleased both sides to hear Ravens coach John Harbaugh and Eagles coach Doug Pederson tell it.
“We had two great days, two teams that are very like-minded,” Harbaugh said. “Very physical, very hot and no issues, really. I mean, you might have had a shoving match out here, but it was all in good fun. I just felt like we got a lot of work done.”
Added Pederson before Tuesday’s practice: “You saw yesterday how there was great intensity. It was a great practice. There was a physicality to it.”
When the Eagles reconvene next week, they’ll use their in-season regimen, and practices will be closed to the media.
Tuesday featured more of the same, except that for the final half-hour or so the teams peeled back from having two 11-on-11 scrimmages going at the same time to having just one.
Here are some highlights and observations:
■ The Eagles closed with a flurry, victimizing poor Trace McSorley, the rookie from Penn State, with three interceptions in the final session. Tre Sullivan, Jeremiah McKinnon and Ajene Harris provided them, with McKinnon following his with a big return.
■ A little earlier, defensive end Vinny Curry, entering his eighth year and still looking for his first career interception, was given rare joker duty on one play. He dropped into coverage and snagged a pass from Lamar Jackson.
Next, Curry showed he would have been a favorite of former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan. Early in his return, he playfully tried to pitch the ball to one of the defensive backs behind him. The ball hit the ground and the whistle blew the play dead before safety Rodney McLeod picked it up and tried to continue the play anyway.
Everybody on the Eagles sideline had a good laugh.
■ Before those flurry of interceptions, the Eagles also had a bunch of near-misses. Avonte Maddox, Rasul Douglas and Malcolm Jenkins each had great chances.
■ Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has an incredible arm. He just flicks his wrist to throw a line drive 30 yards down the field. There’s such a natural economy of motion there. He showed some incredible bouts of accuracy with that arm too.
Harbaugh is gambling a bit to have changed around his whole offense to take advantage of Jackson’s throwing and running skill set. But from two days of watching him operate the offense, it looks like a good gamble. Haven’t seen an arm like that since Michael Vick.
■ Ronald Darby is making progress in ■ his recovery from last year’s ACL injury. He’s been cleared for full participation in practice and moved well throughout Tuesday’s practice.
■ There were a couple of minor scuffles that broke out, but nothing real serious. They were strictly the result of heat and/or testosterone.
■ Third-year running back Corey Clement is back to 100% and showing some good explosion each day. He had a sensational catch-and-run for a long gain late in practice Tuesday. Can’t wait to see what he does Thursday night … unless, of course, he doesn’t play. You just never know what these Eagles are going to do under Pederson from week to week because he’s not interested in divulging any information.
Also back to 100%, apparently, is wide receiver Mack Hollins. But he had a noteworthy drop Monday and again Tuesday, when he broke open for a deep and perfect pass from Carson Wentz that would have gone for a touchdown. It was a bad drop for someone who no longer may be considered a lock to make the team.
Eagles DE Vinny Curry had an interception in Tuesday’s joint practice with the Ravens. Entering his eighth year, Curry has never had a regular-season pickoff.