Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Saturday’s practice at the NovaCare Complex.

11:35 – The players are in helmets and shorts today. With a padded practice likely on tap for tomorrow’s session at the Linc, Chip Kelly is keeping things light.

A perfect day to ease some of the ailing Eagles back in. Mychal Kendricks and Zach Ertz both participated fully after missing yesterday with what Kelly described as a “nagging something.” Kendricks explained his absence by revealing that his “load levels” were too high. (We’ll have to do some digging to figure out exactly what that means.) “Sports science says numbers were too high,” he said.

I think we should all try to call out of work Monday with that reasoning. “Sorry, boss. Sports science says numbers are too high. You know, load levels.” Read more »

Johnson: Confidence the Key With Bradford

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Asked about Sam Bradford’s performance Friday, Lane Johnson said his quarterback was “like a machine,” dispensing one accurate ball after the next into the hands of his receivers downfield. It was maybe his best day of practice in his short time in an Eagles uniform, and his teammates (along with the fans and media in attendance) took notice.

“He was throwing lots of touchdowns today. He’s very accurate,” said Johnson. “I haven’t seen accuracy like that from a quarterback in a long time.”

There has been some rust to knock off but Bradford is showing off his skill set more and more as we go along. The size (6-4, 224), the big arm and the accuracy are all pretty plain to see. He appears to have a quick mind and a quick trigger. Watch him for a while, and you understand why coaches and scouts are drawn to him.

With all of these things going for him, why haven’t the results been better on this level?  Read more »

Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kelce On State Of the O-Line

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

The rotating cast at right guard welcomed another member Thursday as newcomer John Moffitt stepped in with the first team.

There have been four training camp practices so far, and we’ve seen three different men fill the position. Matt Tobin has gotten the nod twice, Andrew Gardner ran with the ones on Monday and now Moffitt has had a turn.

No matter who wins out, Jason Kelce will be working with someone new on either side of him. Old partners Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans were both released this offseason, so Kelce is now charged with developing chemistry in short order with a pair of new dance partners. It appears that Allen Barbre will be one of them. He has consistently worked at left guard since the offseason program began and has the backing of his coaches and teammates. Right guard is another story. With no standout at the moment, the musical chairs could continue through the summer. Kelce says he’s OK with that. Read more »

Tim Tebow On Point During Thursday’s Session

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Tim Tebow had himself a day.

The sequence that defined it came towards the end of Thursday’s training session with the lefty manning the third team. It started with an on-point fling to Mike Johnson down the seam, followed by a strong out throw that Quron Pratt hauled in along the right sideline. The capper was a deep pass down the left side that dropped right into the arms of running back Raheem Mostert, who shook loose on a wheel route.

“I’m just supposed to haul,” said the speedy rookie out of Purdue, “and Tebow hit me right at the perfect spot.

“He’s improving each and every day. He’s out here getting work after practice, I see that all the time. He’s really working on his craft and his technique and his throwing ability.” Read more »

Eagles Sign OLB Diaheem Watkins

Courtesy of USA Today

Courtesy of USA Today

The Eagles signed rookie free agent outside linebacker Diaheem Watkins Wednesday to take the roster spot of Travis Long, who was placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL earlier this week.

Watkins (6-3, 255) hails from Brent, Alabama and played his college ball at UAB. More on him from the NFLPA website: Read more »

Long Injury Puts Spotlight Back On Marcus Smith

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Travis Long stepped the wrong way during a non-contact punt return drill Monday, and just like that, his season was over.

Like last summer, the undrafted free agent out of Washington State was lost to a torn ACL — the third of his career. Long was drawing praise from his teammates and coaches prior to the injury, and seemed firmly in the mix for that No. 3 outside linebacker role behind Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham.

The Eagles are looking to bring in another OLB, Chip Kelly said, and Brandon Hepburn and Brad Jones will take reps on the outside with Long no longer in the mix. But much of the weight — at least at the moment — falls on Marcus Smith.

Smith stopped to talk with reporters following Tuesday’s practice at Lincoln Financial Field. There are a couple things that you notice when you get up close to last year’s first-round pick. Read more »

Despite Blowback, Kelly Says No Regrets On Cooper Decision

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

Photo Credit: Jeff Fusco

It was around this time two years ago that Chip Kelly and the Eagles decided to bring Riley Cooper back in the fold.

As he took the podium to address their chosen course, Kelly acknowledged that “there is a concern” about Cooper’s comments at a Kenny Chesney concert dividing the locker room, and said he knew this was not a situation that could just be swept under the rug.

“I think it’s gonna take some time…I don’t think this is a situation that’s gonna go away tomorrow,” he said. “And we certainly understand it.”

The argument can be made that Kelly is still dealing with the blowback from that decision to this day in some respects.

The head coach was asked to reflect on the move to stand by Cooper at Tuesday’s press conference. Read more »

Report: Eagles, Bradford Talking Short-Term Deal

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, the Eagles and Sam Bradford are discussing a potential short-term deal that would lock the quarterback in beyond the 2015 season.

An NFL Network report last month suggested Bradford intended to play out the final year of his mega rookie deal, but apparently talks have picked back up.

Bradford is scheduled to make just a shade under $13 million this season. Having already banked some $65 million off his rookie deal, he certainly has the financial wiggle room to bet on himself this year. If he plays the contract out, stays healthy and has a big season in Chip Kelly‘s system, a large pay day awaits.

The only financial incentive to get something done now would be in the name of securing some more guaranteed money to guard against injury, etc.

Giving Bradford an extension before he plays a meaningful snap is a bit risky from the team’s perspective, but will look like the smart play should Bradford thrive this season as Kelly hopes. The Eagles then would be in a position where they would have to sign Bradford to a lucrative long-term extension, place the franchise tag on him (which is likely to cost around $20 million) or let him walk. Given those options, getting a short-term deal done now is probably the most desirable route.

DeMarco Murray: ‘I Just Do What I’m Told’

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

DeMarco Murray did not have much of an answer for why he did not participate in team drills Sunday.

There is no injury, he said, and he was hoping to do more on the opening day of training camp, but the coaching staff decided to hold him back.

“Yeah, you’re always upset when you don’t get the chance to go out there and compete and really take a little pressure off the other guys,” he said. “Obviously as a competitor I wanted to be out there but it just didn’t happen.”

Did he ask for an explanation?

“No,” he said. “I just do what I’m told.” Read more »

Sam Bradford Mans First Team, Says He’s ‘Good To Go’

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Things have changed since we last saw Sam Bradford some six weeks ago.

The cumbersome brace that cased his twice surgically repaired left knee was gone, replaced by a black form-fitting sleeve. He felt restricted by the old contraption and got the thumb’s up from the medical staff to ditch it for training camp. It seemed to make a difference. There was more of a flow to Bradford’s movements Sunday as the 2015 season officially got underway on the sun-soaked NovaCare practice fields.

A healthier-looking Bradford participated in 11-on-11s for the first time. Coming off a pair of ACL tears in under a year, the 27-year-old was limited to 7-on-7 work this spring. But Chip Kelly declared prior to the start of Sunday’s session that Bradford was “cleared to go, full-go” and that’s about what we saw. The players were not in pads today but Bradford was a full participant.

“It was good to get back out there. Obviously it’s been a long time since I’ve been out there part of team drills — almost a year now,” said Bradford. “Just to get out there and be a part of it felt good. Obviously getting adjusted to the speed of it again but I was just happy to get out there and start playing football again.”
Read more »

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