Eagles Wake-Up Call: Understanding Kenny Phillips

It is difficult for Kenny Phillips to relay what is happening with him physically because he is going so much off of feel.

It’s been almost four years since he had microfracture surgery. He was told at the time that he would have to manage his left knee for the rest of his career, and so far that has proven to be true. His knee never swells up and his body never shuts down, he says, so there are no obvious signs to tell him when he needs to back off. But through trial and error, he’s learned that setbacks are lurking around the corner if he’s not careful, and has a sense for when he is getting close to the edge.

The red line is not defined, so the team must take their cues from the  player.

“They don’t quite understand it yet,” said Phillips following minicamp practice Tuesday. “It’s kind of building that trust. They are trying to take my word for it, and thus far it’s been working out. But I know it’s been hard on them, just as it’s been hard on me, to get through this process.”

Phillips missed a portion of the OTAs as a precaution. He was on the field Tuesday for the start of the team’s three-day mandatory minicamp.

The 26-year-old safety has been able to manage the injury for the most part, and appeared in 31 of a possible 32 games the two seasons following surgery. Last year he was limited to seven games because of injuries to the opposite knee. He says he has no lingering problems with the right knee; the left knee is the ongoing issue.

Because of the health concerns, the Eagles were able to sign the former Giant to a one-year deal with no guaranteed money this offseason. This is a prove-it year for Phillips, which makes it all the more difficult to remain patient.

“I’ve been going home at nights like, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ I sit around and talk to Chip [Kelly] like, ‘I want to be out there.’ Sometimes I feel like I was in a lose-lose: What if I go out there and run myself in the ground or look bad?” said Phillips. “It’s been tough, but they have been patient with me and when I have had the chance I was out there making the right calls and being in position, not perfect but the coaches know I have a great understanding of the defense and the scheme, so I think I’m OK.

“I could come out here and take every rep and feel great but I don’t know, I don’t want to venture out into that unknown — this is a big season not only for the team but for myself.”

So team and player will proceed cautiously in hopes that Phillips will be able to function at a high level during the season.

“To go out there and try to be a hero right now, it wouldn’t benefit me or the team,” said Phillips. “I do need to put something on film, the coaches do need to see me, so I’m just trying to be smart when to go out there and when not to. Right now they are trusting me with my own reps, telling me to get the reps that I can get and just be smart, and right now it’s working.”

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles announced their training camp schedule.

Kelly talks about teaming up with the Patriots for practice, and the notion that he taught Michael Vick how to hold the football.

Cary Williams was blunt and unapologetic when discussing his recent absences.

Sheil has his running diary of practice observations.

After an early demotion, DeSean Jackson says he and Kelly are on the same page.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

We brought you the story of Jackson and Drew Rosenhaus parting ways over money. Yahoo! has dug up some more details.

NFL agent Drew Rosenhaus has filed a grievance against Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson, alleging the former client owes him more than $400,000 in unpaid loans.

Rosenhaus is alleging that Jackson took multiple loans from him, beginning when Jackson hired Rosenhaus to represent him in November 2009 and continuing through March 2012, a source told Yahoo! Sports.

Rosenhaus has filed a grievance with the NFL Players Association over the loans, multiple sources confirmed.

Dan Graziano was in town and talked to Jeremy Maclin about his contract situation.

The team’s 2009 first-round draft pick has only this one year left on his contract and admits to not knowing what the future holds. But he’s trying very hard not to get caught up in that.

“I’m not thinking about that,” Maclin said. “No good can come of thinking about that. I’ve seen a lot of people go down the wrong road thinking about that.”

COMING UP

Mini-camp rolls on. Practice starts at 12:40.

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  • S.Paxson

    far from an ideal situation, but I like hearing this genuine honesty. Then again, its an obvious make or break year for Phillips, so I trust he will do his best to manage his body and produce. Best of luck Kenny. Would be great to use a first round pick of the Giants against them

  • theycallmerob

    Boy, in managing the media, injuries, player situations/personal stuff, and even the nutrition component…..everything this staff is doing just seems “smart”. For all the time analysts, bloggers, and fans spend making fun of some front offices (looking at you, Simmons), these guys are providing a pleasant surprise.

    And every day recently, it seems, Jerrah does something else stupid that re-affirms my faith with this staff. So far, so good in my book.

    • G_WallyHunter

      Agreed… there have been 0 blunders media-wise. Then some guys like Williams and Phillips have addressed the media flawlessly… You can really get a sense of what Chip was talking about when he emphasizes that all communication lines stay wide open at all times… it’s exciting as an eagles fan really is. All I’ve ever known is Andy and to see this kind of change happening its damn exciting…

  • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

    Would love for this to work out but damn, he’s not even tackling yet. Wouldn’t be shocked if he never plays a snap for the Eagles.

    • southy

      Right? I’m wondering if he feels fine and doesn’t want to push anything because it’s OTAs or whether he will be this ginger about everything throughout preseason. How is he gonna handle a 16 game season?

    • JofreyRice

      Yikes, at least Steve Smith played in a couple games. Has Kenny even put on his helmet yet?

      • cliff henny

        he has played/managed it before, it’s nothing new to him, just us(fans and coaches). sounds like he knows how to live with micro-surgery knee. i’d get really nervous if the other knee started hurting.

        • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

          He only played 7 games last year, was he out with his knee? I get that he knows how to manage the soreness, but if he’s playing with this in the back of his mind it will limit his ability.. and as much as he manages it, it’s the NFL, it’s going to take some major abuse.

          • cliff henny

            other knee. think was just sprain. wasnt micro’d knee, that i know. he hasnt missed any major time due to the micro’d knee. he seems to be able to monitor it.

          • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

            Cool, good to know, maybe it will work out then. Hopefully Chip, Davis, and the training staff can all work together to make this work out.

          • cliff henny

            think giants just got tired of it. with contracts negotiations, that can get tricky. relying on him, have the fans…sometimes it’s just easier to move on.

    • theycallmerob

      yea, well, Marlin Jackson couldn’t even walk! …..glass half full?

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    sounds like Kenny has no real trust in that knee. I hope he goes out and gives it his best and the knee participates like it should. take it slow now. sooner or later around july he will need to sink or swim on that knee. hope hes confident and healed

  • JofreyRice

    Yeah, he’s not going to be much of a help to the secondary. Time for “Let’s Hope Nate Allen’s not as Bad as He’s Been!” (Part III). I guess we still have Colt Anderson.

    • cliff henny

      at least he can be out on field, and go at 100% for a period of time. dont want a team full of them, but one guy with proven record, be ok with him being severely limited practice player and a hired gameday gun. helps he really is that much better than everything else we have. now, if his play declines and nate’s improves to point that they are close to equal, have to rethink that, and certainly would be better option.

      • S.Paxson

        Kenny is a low risk but very high reward so we have to live with the bad and hope it provides some good. A player that cant practice isn’t ideal but we can surely deal with a veteran or two as a stop gap. I would hope that we are still monitoring the Jarius Byrd situation. Paired with Chung/Wolff, Byrd can anchore a very satisfying Safety tandem. They are still far apart on an extension, so Im keeping a glimmer of hope alive. As for Nate, it’s really all about confidence, and that has to be tough on the youn man going into a contract year. let’s see how short his memory can be.

        • theycallmerob

          I’d love for it to happen, but there is no way Byrd makes it to FA next year. All signs point to him and the Bills working out that long-term deal

          (Edit): hmm, seems you may be right, there are conflicting reports about his contract; but seeing as how he is now the elder statesman of that secondary, I can’t see him walking. Guess we’ll know more by 7/15

          • S.Paxson

            If it were any other franchise I wouldn’t even be thinking about him. But the Bills can be cheap. long shot for sure, let’s hope we get lucky

        • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

          Isolated to Phillips contract alone, it is a low risk and high reward, but from a team perspective it isn’t as much. He was part of a very risky plan to improve a bad safety group, and the entire team will suffer again if it doesn’t pan out.

          • JofreyRice

            Exactly right.

          • S.Paxson

            Good point and you could be right. Tough to judge without knowing the front office’s long term rebuilding plans, and how they viewed the players available in this years market. I can’t rule out that they liked Nate’s potential, and weren’t ready to give up on him because he was used so poorly. Maybe there is a young player that they think will become a free agent next year that they are really high on and planned on aggressively pursuing and figured that Nate/Phillips would be adequate band aids for one season. The team knew this wasn’t a 1 year rebuild.

        • JofreyRice

          I think you’re missing the point, GEagle. Adam laid it out pretty nicely, below. In and of itself, it was a good move to bring Phillips in, but considering they now have to basically count on Nate Allen returning to at least serviceable form–something he hasn’t been in for going on 3 years–it’s not the most optimal situation.

          • Richard Colton

            Can’t be. GEagle took his talents to South Beach days after the Dion Jordan pick.

          • cliff henny

            he’s over at igglesblitz…already seen complaints about his voluminous posts. guy’s running out of sites

          • theycallmerob

            Hahaha, The Great Commenting Nomad.

          • cliff henny

            i liked John G or Geagle, gotta respect the passion and dedication he has for our team. least he uses facts and doesnt talk out of his back-side

          • Richard Colton

            same here. I miss the passion/optimism.

          • JofreyRice

            I would bet money it’s him.

          • cliff henny

            goto igglesblitz…he writes multiple 5k(?- well huge) word essays over there. i dont know where he finds the time. he posted over at csn under john giampono, could tell right away it was him, it’s tough to change a writing style.

          • S.Paxson

            Huh? I can assure you I’m not that idiot. I have been posting on this site for a while, it’s just normally only like 3 comments a week. No work these past two day which is why my volume is up(sick days). back to work tomorrow, back to just lurking. I did not mean to start such a stink. geez

          • theycallmerob

            Using the ol’ Dutch “speaking for everyone” card, I don’t think offense was meant.

          • S.Paxson

            Just kind of odd to see since I have had conversations with most of you in the past. I’m a daily lurker, just don’t usually get to post much, so I guess I’m more familiar with your screen names then you are mine. I used to post under my full name, but abbreviated it to S, since I’m posting from my home comp for the first time. back to work tomorrow, and you guys can be rid of me hehe. Sorry for any drama, just not sure where this came from.

          • JofreyRice

            Nah, I don’t mean any offense.

          • JofreyRice

            haha, post as much as you want, GEagle–you didn’t create any stink, I just think it’s funny. I’m not sure how you judge you only post 3 comments a week when you just started posting under this handle a few days ago.

    • theycallmerob

      Based on the few clues given by Davis and Lovett re: the coverage and run responsibilities, this defense should play to Allen’s supposed strengths. I can’t imagine him playing more than 4-5 games before there is enough evidence to pass judgment in his abilities and future with this team. But I can no longer get excited (or, conversely, disappointed) by the safeties’ play in OTAs and TC. I’m personally going to withhold my opinion until at least October.

      I thing physically he has the tools to be that center fielder; lets hope his mental state is still solid after the past few years.

      • G_WallyHunter

        I think that’s a good idea, why not? Why bother judging this secondary until October when there is actually enough sample and they have shown enough to be able to make a good judgement… I’ll probably do that as well
        Not to mention a completely new secondary, anybody who doesn’t wait at least a month into the season before making critical judgment is just wasting time on a terribly uninformed opinion..

      • cliff henny

        as long as they at least try, just f’n try to tackle and dont leave TEs running 20 yardsdown the middle wide open, it’s an improvement. have never in my life seen such a worthless group than last yrs secondary. coleman may have the biggest heart in nfl, but he has zero business being starting safety. still make me sick to my stomach thinking about how little effort those f’rs gave last year(nnamdi/dcr)

      • JofreyRice

        Well, I’m certainly still hoping that Allen can be the guy they drafted, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. Would love to be wrong, and see some solid safety play this year.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      At the very least, Allen showed glimpses of being serviceable in his rookie year. Not a great talent, but also not a complete liability. I think the biggest problem for him will be his confidence. It’s been shattered, ran over, backed up, and ran over again the past couple years. Not an ideal situation for a young defensive back, it usually never ends well.

    • G_WallyHunter

      hahahahaha

    • Token

      Some things still dont change with a new staff.

      Cant believe they continue to basically ignore what is a important spot.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    Phillips seems like a great guy, but it’s hard to believe we’ve gotten so desperate at the safety position that we took a flyer on him.

    • cliff henny

      Scott, i’d like you to meet Kurt Coleman…’desperate’ doesnt even begin to explain our safety situation by end of last season. Phillips dragging a bloody hump around might be better

    • G_WallyHunter

      Took a flyer on him that gives him 0 guaranteed money… He’s worth taking a flyer on. He was a very big reason the Giants made that playoff run in 2011 and won it all… not much of a flyer other than a roster spot.. and he’s shown that he deserves at least that to try and prove himself

  • Chris

    I know it’s early and he was a 5th rounder, but I have high hopes for Earl Wolff. Not right away, but maybe by end of season or beginning of next year he can step in and be serviceable.

    • http://www.philthycanuck.com/ Adam

      I think we need to be realistic with Wolff. Judging from the lack of news about him coming out now, I’d say he’s just trying to soak everything up and get up to NFL speed. I’d say the most realistic expectation for him this year is a solid contributor on special teams, and to challenge for a spot next year or the year after.

      • G_WallyHunter

        Did you see that youtube vid of him jumping on to a 5’8″ ledge lol

        pretty damn crazy, I kno it means nothing whatsoever for on-field performance but the guy seems to be a physical FREAK haha

      • G_WallyHunter

        Alright maybe not 5’8″ but at least 5’5″

      • Chris

        Yea I agree, just hoping he can get accustomed to NFL life this year, maybe make a play or two, and push for serious playing time last year. Seems like the kid has some serious upside. At the very least, you can say that the Eagles put an emphasis on tackling this year, with the apparent lack thereof last year.

    • Token

      Earl Wolff sucks. I put some time in to watching his games after the draft. Hes bad. Hes just a guy that gets lost on the field. Hes not instinctive. Falls for play action and misdirection almost every time. I will be absolutely shocked if he turns out to be anything. Dont get your hopes up on the kid.

      You have to have a brain to play safety now. Instincts. I dont really care if your are some Brain Dawkins wannabe hitter. I just want you in the right place to make a sure tackle. Earl Wolff is just not that guy.

      • theycallmerob

        Can’t we at least give the man until camp before driving him out of town? Sheesh

        • cliff henny

          nope, already rented a 2 men and a truck, they’re swinging by c-williams place before they pick up Wolff

          • Richard Colton

            tell them to be mindful of the sconces; they’re new.

      • Chris

        I have looked at some of his tape too and sure, he looks like he would be lost TODAY in a starting NFL defense, but I think we need to give the guy some time to learn the system before completely writing him off. I don’t expect him to start week 1 this year.

  • Richard Colton

    Williams-Chung-Allen-Fletcher

    does that backfield get you a score of “serviceable” if not “average?” I feel like I know what’s going to make Mel Kiper’s list of top two pressing needs for the Eagles next May.

    • cliff henny

      1. qb

      2. safety

      3. cb

      4. olb

      there…can we take 8-8 and fast forward to ’14 draft and pick Bridgewater or marioti

      • theycallmerob

        As far as college goes, my only question for next year is if any of those QBs do enough to beat out Clowney for #1 overall pick.

        • damrvrhunter

          What world you living in where any team passes on a franchise QB for a DE?

          • Richard Colton

            The world where Mario Williams gets drafted ahead of Vince Young.

          • theycallmerob

            I mean, I sure as sh_t hope I’m still on earth….that’s what I’m getting at, which one of the young kids will step forward this year. Of course qb is more valuable.

            But if the draft were today? Not sure I’d call any of them a franchise QB yet. Clowney is NFL ready now.

          • cliff henny

            really dont get clowney, watched most of his games, he generally isnt even USC’s best defensive player in any particular game. they’ve had some really good d-tackles past few years. freak freak athlete, though. outside that michigan hit (wow!), he doesnt jump off the screne like i’m expecting the way announcers and talking heads build him up.

        • cliff henny

          unless foles or barkley light it up, i’m qb shopping. even if vick somehow time machines a whole season of the redskins capitulation game, i’m still taking qb.

    • theycallmerob

      I realize we’re all focusing on the starters at this point, but the lack of depth back there truly concerns me. Worse than last year’s oline, no hyperbole intended. Even if Williams and Fletcher win the starting jobs and stay healthy, who’s our dime back? What happens if 1 of the “top 3″ cb’s gets injured? What happens if Boykin goes through a sophomore slump? And dear lord, what would happen if Allen or Chung miss some long-term time?

      I mean, I kind of understand how the draft played out and winding up with Wolff and Poyer late, but I would have thought they’d bring as many bodies in to compete as possible, even along the UDFA route.

      But addressing your question more directly, I think the real issue is not rating the backfield in its current state but rather the potential. It’s not as if we have a lot of really young, high-ceiling guys. “Serviceable” might be that ceiling. sigh…where’s my beer…..

      • Richard Colton

        I’m looking at the entire D and “Serviceable might be the ceiling” is applicable.

        Other than Cox and possibly Graham, is there a guy where you wouldn’t be absolutely shocked if he made the pro-bowl? Where are the playmakers on D? The future stars?

        • theycallmerob

          I agree on those two, and maybe a tier below would be Kendricks and Boykin (only because they’re young I guess? IMO, both have good talent).
          Suffice it to say, I don’t believe the FO is oblivious, they realize the same. Too much to do in one year, and the cards fell more towards the offense in the both the draft and offseason. I guess I should start scouting good, defensive NCAA guys now.

          • S.Paxson

            It would not surprise me if Kendrick, Demeco or Connar made the probowl. Graham and Cox would make it 5 out of 11 starters with probowl potential. That’s not to shabby of a start remaking the D

          • Richard Colton

            Hmmmm. Maybe a bit optimistic.

            Sake of argument. Say you were forced to place a $1,000 bet on one player making a pro-bowl. Your choices are: Demeco Ryans, Mark Barkley, and Poyer. Who do you put your money on?

          • S.Paxon

            Not the player that doesnt exist (Mark?). Ryan of course” Was that a trick question? Not optimistic at all. I don’t expect those 5 players to make a probowl, but it wouldn’t surprise me if any of them made it

          • JofreyRice

            GEagle! What happened to S.Paxson? That was a short lived handle. Wait, don’t tell me, you’re back at work, where you last name doesn’t have an “s” in it.

          • Richard Colton

            If I had to put money on it, I’d take Poyer or Barkley. I like Demeco to be a steady good linebacker, but his last pro-bowl was 2009. Not good odds that he’ll go back.

            The Mark Barkley thing not funny anymore? Did I miss a memo? Please tell me sconces are still funny.

          • theycallmerob

            I see that, as far as pro-bowl potential. I guess in my response, I was leaning more towards the “future stars” side of things. Overall, still a gaping lack of young talent on that side.

          • S.Paxson

            That’s what bad drafting will do to a roster. let’s hope those dark days are behind us

  • Dutch

    How is it unexpected that the banged up player the Eagles signed is probably not going to produce in 2012. This is a familiar road Eagle Fans have traveled down before. Stop taking cast off from the Giants after the hatchet Surgeons in New York are finished experimenting on them.

    Watching this defense in 2013 is going to make tears of blood run at the Linc.