PHILADELPHIA -- The first practice of the Philadelphia Eagles 2023 season is in the books. Nick Sirianni only took an hour before dismissing the Eagles from the practice field in the team's first training camp session, albeit very vocal over what he saw from the defending NFC champions.
Of course, a first practice is what one would expect. Some sloppiness resulting from pre-snap penalties as the players are getting their feet wet in preparation for the year. Sirianni yelled quite a few obscenities throughout the session, using a megaphone to get his point across (a first for him in Year 3).
Overall, there are some very encouraging signs from the first day of school. A few rookies stood out and the Eagles gave hints how some players will factor into the offense and defense come September.
Just remember, it's only the first practice of the season.
Jalen Carter, Nolan Smith make strong first impression
Didn't take long for Carter or Smith to make an impact in training camp. The Eagles were only in shells on Day 1, yet Carter and Smith demonstrated their talent level on the defensive front.
Smith was with the first team in red zone defense filling in for Brandon Graham (who was with the first team in 11-on-11), earning that after impressing in 11-on-11 on the second team. Going up against Jack Driscoll, Smith beat the Eagles second-team tackle on back-to-back plays (Driscoll even had a false start on one of them), and disrupted both of the offensive plays. On the first play, Smith was credited with a sack.
Smith's speed off the edge is incredible, giving excellent looks for the tackles. He'll factor into the pass rush this season by keeping this up, giving much-needed relief for Graham, Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick (more on Reddick in a bit).
Carter was with the second-team defense as well, but was making a statement during the 11-on-11 session. Carter immediately got pressure up the middle and was credited with a "sack" on Jalen Hurts (remember the Eagles are in shells).
The defensive line as a whole had a strong first practice. Jordan Davis had a pressure as well, part of six in the hot morning practice. The Georgia kids were quite impressive, and the veterans took notice.
What did the veterans say about Carter and Smith?
Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham have been with the Eagles so long, they had training camp with the team at Lehigh University. Both of the Eagles veterans were impressed with the two rookies.
Here's what Kelce and Graham said about Carter and Smith:
Kelce: "I learned do not take first impressions as the end all, be all. It's fun to talk about him. The way he's moving around, he's strong. Him and Jordan Davis are a good matchup for me. I'll be interested to look at the tape and see what it looks like. The mark of this league is consistency."
Graham: "I told him 'Be you, baby!' I just love who he comes in here with a worker's mentality and wants to learn. He is willing to soak in all the stuff you're trying to teach him. We're heading in the right direction with him.
"It's gonna be a great year for all them Georgia boys. They came in ready to work. They know how to work."
Other Day 1 standouts
James Bradberry -- The Eagles cornerback had a strong day in coverage, notching two pass breakups in the red zone. Bradberry may have had his best practice with the Eagles (and he was impressive last year). Bradberry broke up both passes that were intended for Dallas Goedert, who had a strong day himself in the red zone.
Christian Elliss -- Another practice, another interception for Elliss -- who is in competition with Nicholas Morrow for the starting linebacker job. Elliss was on the second team on Day 1, notching an interception on Marcus Mariota in red zone drills. Elliss has three interceptions in his last three practices (dating to minicamp). The pass rusher that forced the Mariota throw that led to the Elliss interception? Nolan Smith.
Jalen Hurts -- The Eagles quarterback was pressured most of the morning, yet still was able to make some good throws by buying himself some extra time. Hurts was forced to roll to his left with a collapsing pocket, buying enough time to find Dallas Goedert in the end zone for the touchdown. The throw on the run and to his left was a major part of Hurts becoming one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL last season. Hurts and DeVonta Smith also looked crisp in individual drills, with Hurts displaying a sharp throwing motion and Smith showcasing smooth route-running.
D'Andre Swift -- The Eagles clearly are going to feature Swift on as a pass-catching back, as he was an easy checkdown option for both Hurts and Marcus Mariota. Swift appeared to be "tackled" on the one pass play, but eluded two defenders and scored a touchdown. Swift rotated with Rashaad penny, Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott with the first team -- as the Eagles made it a priority to get them all in with the first-teamers.
Tyree Jackson -- Marcus Mariota didn't have the best day with the second-teamers, but Jackson made his day a little better with an impressive catch in the back of the end zone. Jackson used that 6-7 frame to reach over several defenders and corral the ball in for the score -- using a toe tap to finish the play. Jackson also beat a few defenders in the middle of the field for a touchdown later in practice. Overall, the Eagles tight ends had a good day.
About that megaphone
There might be nothing more poetic than watching Nick Sirianni yell obscenities through a megaphone, a new addition to the training camp stable. Sirianni had a good reason to use it during the practice, as pre-snap penalties by the second and third team took over the end of the session.
The Eagles had three consecutive pre-snap penalties and Sirianni clearly wasn't happy. He pointed out good teams lose to bad teams because of those penalties, even going after his offensive line for not touching a defensive player to get a neutral zone infraction. Sirianni also had some words for Tyler Steen -- who is competing with Cam Jurgens for the starting right guard spot -- after he committed a false start penalty.
There were a lot of F-bombs coming out of Sirianni's mouth. He's a fiery guy, and never complacent.
- Haason Reddick did not practice with groin soreness, but the Eagles said he's expected back by the weekend.
- Derek Barnett (knee) and Avonte Maddox (toe) were limited, but they were doing individual drills.
- Devon Allen (calf) was placed on the non-football injury list.
The Eagles have a walkthrough closed to the media on Thursday. The next training camp practice will be Friday at 10 a.m. (supposed to be in the high 90s in Philadelphia). Defensive coordinator Sean Desai will speak prior to practice.