PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns were just what each team needed. An intense hour and a half practice session between the two teams was as good as advertised, with both Philadelphia and Cleveland providing excellent looks throughout the session.
Some observations from the session from both teams, along with who stood out during the day:
The Jalen Carter show
Carter flexed his muscles against the Browns guards throughout the day, and this is Joel Bitonio and Wyatt Teller that Carter was facing (two of the best players at their position in the league). The Eagles rookie was dominant at the snap, finishing with two sacks and a fumble recovery against the Browns first-team offense.
On a separate play, Carter pushed a blocker aside and wrapped up the running back. On the next play, Carter got a pressure on Deshaun Watson and forced him out of his comfort zone.
The Eagles had Carter on the first team at defensive tackle and on the edge in 3-technique (a new wrinkle for the defense). Carter was dominant at both spots.
Carter was arguably the best player on the field this practice -- and there were some good performances.
DeVonta Smith vs. Denzel Ward
Wide receiver-cornerback battles don't get any better than the show Smith and Ward provided in the joint practice. Smith was getting the better of Ward on some plays, but Ward was able to respond immediately after getting beat.
In 1-on-1s, Smith was able to use his route running ability to breeze past Ward on a curl for an easy first down. Ward followed with an interception off Jalen Hurts as the ball was under thrown. Smith did have a step on Ward on the route, but Ward's closing speed allowed him to get the interception.
Smith later was able to get behind Ward for a deep touchdown on a beautifully thrown ball from Hurts. He caught two deep balls from Hurts on the day, serving as the go-to receiver when the Eagles wanted to showcase their big-play ability against the Browns.
Ward still held his own against Smith during the practice. Both players are as good as advertised.
Amari Cooper -- not his best day
Cooper had a lot of targets against the Eagles in the joint practice. Unfortunately, not a lot of production.
A great route runner himself, Cooper struggled to catch passes against the Eagles secondary. Toward the end of 11-on-11s, Cooper finished with consecutive drops -- one of which led to a Reed Blankenship interception. Zach Cunningham forced the ball heading towards Cooper's way to be tipped, but Blankenship was the one that got the turnover.
Cooper does find ways to get open, but the Browns need him to be consistent catching the football. He certainly had his opportunities to make plays.
Browns defensive line -- as good as advertised
The Browns made life tough for Jalen Hurts, as the Eagles quarterback was flushed out of the pocket several times in 11-on-11s. While Hurts was able to make a few plays with his legs and get the ball downfield, he was sacked at least five times by the Browns pass rush.
Myles Garrett made his case as the best pass rusher in football, completely controlling the edge and getting off his blocker well. The Eagles offensive line was banged up with Landon Dickerson leaving early and Jason Kelce also not finishing the session, as the depth was evident.
The depth on the Eagles offensive line is a concern, and was evident when Dickerson was out. Sua Opeta struggled in place of Dickerson. Give credit to the Browns front, as Garrett with Za'Darius Smith will be a dangerous combo going forward.
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Eagles defensive line -- also as good as advertised
Jalen Carter was the star of the show, but the Eagles defensive line as a whole feasted on the Browns offensive line. Nolan Smith and Haason Reddick also had sacks, as the Eagles edge rushers were able to get Watson easily (Reddick beat Jedrick Wills and Smith was untouched). Josh Sweat also had two sacks. Derek Barnett would have gotten credit with a sack if the whistle wasn't blown.
Sydney Brown -- getting first-team reps at safety -- also finished with a sack. Brown was flying all over the field, making sure his defender didn't get in front of him and finding the football. He significantly helped his case to start at safety.
On top of his interception, Blankenship nearly had a diving interception off an Amari Cooper drop as well. He also had a pass breakup in the session, consistently putting himself in position to make plays.
Blankenship is a starter on this defense. No matter the look (base or box nickel with three safeties), Blankenship will play every snap on the first team. He's a good player -- a great find for the Eagles.
Eagles RB situation
Kenny Gainwell still continued to be the first back to play in 11-on-11s, getting the majority of the carries in those situations. He's the running back the Eagles trust the most in late-game and pressure situations.
D'Andre Swift immediately spelled Gainwell and had a 50-yard run on his second snap in 11-on-11s. Swift is the back that spells Gainwell and gets a significant number of snaps when he enters the game. The Eagles even had Swift line out wide on one play.
Gainwell and Swift are the combo at this stage in camp. They are the "first team."
- Myles Garrett left with a foot injury, but returned after practice to sign autographs.
- Denzel Ward left with an illness.
- Jack Conklin will be getting evaluated for a concussion.
- Elijah Moore (ribs) sat out practice. Greg Newsome II (groin) returned for the first time since Aug. 1.
- Jason Kelce and Landon Dickerson both left practice with undisclosed injuries, but stayed after and hung out with family and Browns coaches.
- Quez Watkins and Britain Covey are still out (groin), along with Patrick Johnson (ankle). Deon Cain was limited with an ankle injury.
Give this one a draw. Both teams' defensive lines looked very good while the offensive lines struggled. The Eagles offense was disappointing outside of DeVonta Smith, who had a few long completions.
The Eagles defense appears to be very good, while the jury is still out on the Browns based on how the Eagles offense looked. Day 2 will be more telling where the Eagles offense and Browns defense stand.
Tuesday's practice will be a better indicator of which team had the better week, but the competition was healthy. The Browns were certainly fired up to come to Philadelphia.