PHILADELPHIA -- Training camp for the Philadelphia Eagles came to a close with a bang, capping off an interesting final day at the NovaCare Complex. One joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts had plenty of fireworks, from fights, to trick plays, and DeVonta Smith catches.
The Eagles and Colts will square off again in Thursday's preseason finale, one which head coach Shane Steichen will start Anthony Richardson but will use a case-by-case basis on whether his other first-teamers will play. The Eagles likely aren't going to play their starters, so this joint practice was crucial.
One more time before the preseason concludes, observations from the final open practice of training camp:
Every spectacular event has fireworks to end the day. Jason Kelce drubbed Zaire Franklin, a cheap shot (by Kelce's words) that brought out every player from the Eagles and Colts onto the field. Both teams were pushing and shoving, but the shouting continued until the players were told practice was over and both teams went their separate ways.
The events that led to the fight stemmed from the previous play. Kenneth Gainwell caught a pass from Jalen Hurts and was pushed late by Franklin, but Gainwell had a shove of his own to retaliate. On the next play, Hurts found Gainwell across the middle, where Kelce decided to deliver a blow to Franklin that ended up with Franklin on the ground.
Kelce waswhile Franklin and Kenny Gainwell .
So what led to Kelce-Franklin incident?
This Kelce episode with Franklin was brewing for 75 minutes, with all these events transpiring toward the grand finale:
- Sydney Brown popped Mo Alie-Cox on a ball intended for him, causing an incompletion early in the 11-on-11 portion of practice.
- Deon Cain caught a slant pass on Ronnie Harrison and flexed on the Colts safety after the play.
- Derek Barnett knocked the ball out of Anthony Richardson's hand on a strip sack, causing some shoving between Eagles and Colts players.
- Jalen Carter followed with a sack of his own as the rookie QB rolled to his right, stripping the ball from Richardson's hands, which led to more shoving. Barnett got in the scuffle, which drew flags from both teams. Both Barnett and Carter had to be held back.
- Carter was fired up after defending Barnett, making gestures to the Colts sideline after driving Carter O'Donnell to the ground. The rookie didn't hide flaunting his domination against the Colts offensive line. Barnett was defending Carter like Carter defended Barnett.
- A.J. Brown caught a slant across the middle and was popped by Julian Blackmon in the full-team portion of 11-on-11s. Brown got right back up and got into Blackmon's face, causing another scuffle between the teams.
- Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni even got in on the action as K'Von Wallace intercepted Gardner Minshew, but flags were across the field. Sirianni picked them up after he ran onto the field and screamed at the referee.
DeVonta Smith continues to show he's elite
Based off 15 training camp practices, hard to ignore how good Smith has been. Smith flexed his muscle against Darrell Baker Jr. with two tremendous catches the Eagles were able to showcase on film.
Smith was able to keep both feet in bounds against Baker on the first catch, while the second one resulted in a touchdown for the Eagles offense on a back-shoulder catch. The body control Smith displayed on the first catch only a few receivers can make in the NFL.
Smith also had a long touchdown catch from Hurts earlier in the session. Hurts botched the snap in the shotgun formation, but picked the ball up and found Smith wide open for a 50-yard touchdown. Smith was able to beat Teez Tabor for the score.
A big season for Smith is on the horizon. This is the best he's looked since entering the league.
Jalen Carter -- impact player
In addition to making his presence felt on the Colts sideline, Carter was making plays on the field. He notched at least one sack on Anthony Richardson, beating the Colts interior with an inside move on a play that would have brought him down. He was also able to decipher a zone read and get Richardson in what would have been a tackle for loss.
Carter O'Donnell had his hands full with Carter, as the Colts learned not to get him mad. On consecutive plays Carter brought down O'Donnell and made sure the Colts knew he was there.
Carter has arguably been the standout of training camp. He's certainly going to be in the running for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Trick play -- courtesy of Shane Steichen
Marcus Mariota took a snap and pitched the ball to Kenny Gainwell -- who admitted he's a left-hander -- rolled to that side of the field and threw to Grant Calcaterra for a long gain. While Calcaterra was wide open, the throw from Gainwell was on point.
Where did the Eagles get that play from? Shane Steichen, a play they never ran when he was offensive coordinator. Jalen Hurts was the one to admit that, even though Gainwell hopes that wasn't the only time that play is used.
"We're going to try to get this thing going," Gainwell said. "It was a beauty ball. It landed right in the bucket and I trusted the receiver to go up and catch it. He trusted me to throw the ball. We're gonna try and get it in."
Wholesome moment of the day
During Jalen Hurts' press conference, Darius Slay asked him to sign a football for him. The exchange was wholesome, as Hurts asked Slay what the magic word was. Slay responded in his humble tone.
Slay finished off the conversation by telling us "he's amazing, guys."