It's the last week of camp and the last day before the Philadelphia Eagles arrive for a pair of joint practices ahead of Saturday's preseason finale. Rosters were cut to 80 players around the league Tuesday and will trim again next week down to 53 players. With a deep roster and heated competitions all over the field, the energy and buzz was palpable during Tuesday's session.
To find the press conferences of Mike McDaniel, Kader Kohou, Alec Ingold and more check out the team YouTube channel. For more analysis on today's practice, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield – available on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.
To read the previous 15 training camp notebooks, click here.
Here are the takeaways from the Day 16 of training camp 2022:
1. Blitz beaters
Among a team full of energetic players and position groups that bounce around the practice field, the wide receivers might have an argument for the bubbliest on the team. Coach Wes Welker has his guys doing everything with speed and urgency – like the line-of-scrimmage release drill during individual work.
Diehard football geeks would love to watch this period as Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle show their rare movement abilities and a skillset that translated to the team period of practice.
The anticipation continues to build for the first in-game connection from Tua Tagovailoa to Hill. The duo hooked up for another long touchdown during Tuesday's practice, taking advantage of Hill's immediate win off the line. Facing a blitz, Tagovailoa recognized the Cheetah clearing the defender almost immediately. He caught the shotgun snap at his own 45-yard-line and lofted a high-arcing ball down to the goal line. At the time of the throw, Hill was barely to the 30-yard-line. He located the spinning pigskin and ran under it for six right at the goal line.
Later, against another blitz, with one more rusher than the pass protection could account for, Tagovailoa faded away from the rush and cruised another 40-yard pass. The benefit of the extra rusher means the defense is short a man on the back end. This time, it was tight end Mike Gesicki who caught it at the 20 and finished the play in the end zone for a 60-yard score.
2. Individual period carries over to team
The defense had their own version of individual period work carrying over to the team session. Afforded an up-close look at Outside Linebackers Coach Ty McKenzie, we saw Jaelan Phillips rip through an arsenal of pass rush moves much to McKenzie's approval.
A few minutes later, Phillips was in the backfield to shut down a play in the team portion of practice with the same move he repped earlier over-and-over. Phillips blends stout strength with rare bend and athleticism.
Later in the practice, the second-year linebacker sprinted with speed around the edge for his second sack. It's a positive trend for Phillips after he applied a pair of pressures on Raiders quarterbacks Saturday night.
3. The Ivory Coast pipeline
After a game tape full of sticky coverage and a pass breakup that was nearly an interception, rookie cornerback Kader Kohou met with the media on Tuesday. There, he detailed his background and journey to not just the National Football League, but the United States.
"The short story is my dad had just won the lottery and we moved over here," Kohou said. "He just wanted a better opportunity for his kids, so we moved out here. That was a way harder transition – not speaking English and not knowing anything about football. But I used sports to make friends. From then on, things stated stacking on top of each other. Learning the language was the biggest barrier though. After I learned the language, it started going along pretty smoothly."
Kohou played 41 total snaps in Saturday's 15-13 loss to Las Vegas, with 27 of those coming in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Kohou was responsible for just four yards allowed on three pass targets, good for .15 yards per coverage snap. He also made three run stops (tackles within two yards of the LOS) on just 14 run-down snaps.
"My coaches just harped on it the whole week," Kohou said. "Leading up to it, he just kept telling me that play was going to happen and I have to make a play on it. I give the credit to all of my coaches for getting me ready for that specific play."
4. The fullback is back
After Hill's long touchdown reception at Tuesday's practice, Alec Ingold got involved in the passing game with a pair of big plays. On one, the athletic fullback tapped the toes before going out of bounds.
"Oh, yeah. Yeah, a little toe drag swag," he said. "No doubt."
Later, Ingold caught a pass and raced up the sideline for a big gain. Over his three-year career, Ingold averages 8.5 yards per reception after a college career that produced 13.2 per catch. In addition to that receiving prowess, he's a hammer in the run game at a position that intrigues McDaniel.
"The fullback position in general, is something that I believe does assist a lot of other players, not just his assignment, but how offensive linemen are able to execute their stuff," McDaniel said. "So I firmly believe in that."
Ingold also detailed his perspective of one of the least-understood positions on a football field in 2022.
"Lineman, they line up and they're in the trenches," said the Miami fullback. "You're nose to nose, face to face, facemask to facemask, and they've got those cages on. So they're seeing things quick. As a fullback, I've got five yards to be able to read things, be able to see the defense. I have one of the best seats in the house. So any time there's any late stems, any late rotation, in the backfield we can pick that up and we can adjust. Everyone is going to take responsibility for it but as a fullback, you definitely want to help the guys in front of you and then the guy behind you too."
Take a look at photos from training camp practice on Aug. 23.
5. Coffin corner
Punter Thomas Morstead kicked at least 20 footballs right in front of the media during Tuesday's practice. He alternated between his own 40- and 30-yard-lines, switching up between angling punts towards the sideline and landing the football down the middle like a great golf approach shot.
It was apparent he's done this a few times before. With similar consistency that we've come to appreciate from kicker Jason Sanders in practice, Morstead almost rarely failed to pin the ball into the corner or drop it in position for his coverage units to flip the field.
Cornerback Nik Needham returned to practice Tuesday after exiting the game Saturday night. His positional contemporary, Keion Crossen, is day-to-day, Head Coach Mike McDaniel announced.