Eagles Practice Observations

Philadelphia Eagles undrafted free agent Damaris Johnson.Damaris Johnson was lined up one-on-one with Brandon Hughes and had a step on the cornerback down the left sideline.

Michael Vick let go of the football, but before it arrived, Hughes made contact with Johnson, broke up the pass and landed on the 5-foot-8 wide receiver.

Johnson grimaced and was slow to get up. You could almost see him consider staying down for a moment, but instead, he fought through the initial pain and jogged towards the sideline.

Later, during 7-on-7s, lining up in Jeremy Maclin’s place, Johnson got behind Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and in front of Nate Allen, hauling in a pass of 20+ yards from Vick.

He’s still got a long way to go, but clearly the coaches liked what they saw out of Johnson Thursday night, and they want to see more. All along, his best chance at making the roster appeared to be as the punt returner. But Johnson continues to look more and more comfortable as a receiver (playing mostly on the outside) and has put himself in position to contribute as a rookie.

More practice observations:

* Coming off a strong performance Thursday night, Phillip Hunt was rewarded today, running with the first team at left defensive end in place of Jason Babin. Hunt played both left and right defensive end against Pittsburgh. He was joined on the first team by Derek Landri and Trent Cole. It looked like Antonio Dixon and Fletcher Cox rotated at the other tackle spot.

* Curtis Marsh started practice, but did not finish. Still waiting on an injury update. But Hughes took his place on the outside in the “Nickel Nnam” package where Nnamdi Asomugha covers the tight end.

* Casey Matthews left practice early, and Jamar Chaney did not participate. That left Ryan Rau as the backup middle linebacker to DeMeco Ryans. Rau played alongside Akeem Jordan and Keenan Clayton with the second team.

* Mychal Kendricks continues to get the first-team nickel reps, alongside Ryans. I think he might be there to stay, even when Chaney returns from injury.

* During wide receiver/cornerback one-on-ones, Mardy Gilyard ran a go-route down the left sideline. Nick Foles dropped back and unleashed a deep ball, but this time, Hughes broke it up. Other than the incompletion, it was identical to the 43-yard touchdown on Thursday night.

* People have talked a lot about Foles’ arm strength, and it was on display again today when he fired a 10-yard out to Marvin McNutt. Trevard Lindley thought he had a chance for an interception and broke on the ball, but it was too late. The ball was already in McNutt’s hands.

* Oshiomogho Atogwe, the veteran among the safeties, called out and blew up a screen to Bryce Brown. If Jaiquawn Jarrett continues to play like he did Thursday night, Atogwe has a good shot to make the team.

* King Dunlap continues to get first-team reps at left tackle. Demetress Bell is with the twos. Andy Reid seemed to indicate this morning that it’ll stay that way for the week.

* If opponents continue to play their safeties deep against the Eagles, I wonder if we’ll see Reid and Marty Mornhinweg get more creative in how they get DeSean Jackson the ball. Today, we saw a wide receiver screen to him in the red zone. Oh, and the shovel pass to LeSean McCoy down there is alive and well.

* Jackson also beat Rodgers-Cromartie for a 40-yard bomb from Vick.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.

  • thefadd

    Bell has been demoted??? I thought this guy was “athletic and learning the system.” Dunlap is the starting left tackle right now??