Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

You know the drill.

12:41 – A new twist today. As soon as the Eagles are done stretching and the whistle blows, Chip Kelly grabs the football, runs to the 3-yard-line, sets it down, and yells, “The game’s on the line!”

It’s a simulated 2-point conversion. Michael Vick takes the snap, looks for Brent Celek, but it’s incomplete. Score one for the defense.

12:46 – Here’s some hitting. Offensive and defensive players line up about 5 yards away. When the whistle blows, they go straight at each other, and we see some of the bigger collisions of camp so far. Sorry I couldn’t get better video, but here’s a short glimpse.

1:00 – The Eagles are running the 3-on-2 drill we’ve mentioned several times here. Two receivers go up against three defenders. You can really see why Kelly wanted a big staff during drills like this. Outside linebackers coach Bill McGovern takes a knee near the line of scrimmage and watches his guys drop in coverage. Bob Bicknell is right next to him and keeps his eyes on the wide receivers. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis strolls downfield to go over something with Kenny Phillips.

My guess is the challenge with so many voices is making sure the message stays consistent. But the big number of teachers has to help with day-to-day work on fundamentals.

1:14 – After a special-teams period, it’s 7-on-7 time. Vick looks for DeSean Jackson over the middle, but DeMeco Ryans breaks the pass up. The ball pops in the air, and David Sims nearly comes down with an interception.

Vick’s next two throws are on-target. He threads a completion to Brent Celek right past a diving Mychal Kendricks. And he launches a bomb to Jackson, who gets behind Jordan Poyer for a 70-yard touchdown.

Nick Foles is up with the twos. He shows good anticipation on an out-route to Ifeanyi Momah.

Felix Jones drops a couple very catchable balls.

1:27 – 11-on-11s. Brandon Boykin breaks up a pass for Russell Shepard. Pretty much everyone at this point has acknowledged that Boykin’s having a great camp. And I would agree.

Jason Peters left practice with a hamstring tweak. Matt Tobin steps in at left tackle.

Vick runs the zone read, keeps the ball and thinks about going up the middle. If this were a game, Fletcher Cox would have planted him into the ground. The big fella shows some restraint though and lets up.

1:36 – One-on-one blocking drills. My favorite drill at training camp.

Zach Ertz has problems with Chris McCoy. Then it’s Trent Cole’s turn. McGovern doesn’t like what he sees at first and makes Cole go again. The second time around, he absolutely houses James Casey. A straight bull-rush. I have no idea how Casey is still standing.

Ertz is up again. He has trouble with Everette Brown and unstraps his helmet in frustration. Tight ends coach Ted Williams tries to calm him down.

The rookie gets one final shot and shows improvement, earning a pat on the back from Celek.

Football’s a funny game. The players just spent about six minutes trying to violently knock each other over. Now it’s all fist-pounds and bro-hugs as the drill comes to an end.

One more note: None of the tight ends could handle Cole. We’ll see what the position change means for him in terms of matchups. But he’s gotta love getting a one-on-one shot at tight ends here instead of left tackles.

1:42 – Another special-teams period. It’s worth noting that Kelly seems to always spend this time with the returners.

1:52 – 7-on-7s. The ball is placed at the opponents’ 30-yard-line with 1:30 on the clock. This time, Foles goes with the ones. He looks for Jackson on a go-route down the right sideline, but Bradley Fletcher has good coverage. Jackson tries to make an adjustment on the ball, something we’ve seen a lot from him, but can’t come down with it.

Same play to the other side. This time, Curtis Marsh makes an excellent play and breaks up the pass intended for Riley Cooper. Cooper later makes a nice move to get separation in the end zone, but Foles overthrows him.

Shepard in rare company: He catches a ball on Boykin. Good anticipation throw by Vick on a short out, and nice job by Shepard to get low. Boykin was all over him, but he was still able to make the grab.

The two get matched up again. Vick scrambles and throws it up for grabs for Shepard, who has a 4-inch height advantage int he end zone. But Boykin can elevate, and he does, breaking up the pass.

Ertz, meanwhile, does an excellent job of using his size on a slant. At 6-5, that’s going to be a tough cover for defenders.

2:07 – Team drill, 11-on-11 in the red zone. As was the case at Oregon, expect to see a lot of bubble screens in this offense.

Foles lofts a beautiful ball to Jason Avant, who comes down with it in traffic near the back of the end zone.

Vick’s up next. He can’t find a receiver, takes off towards the left sideline and is chased down by Boykin. And when I say chased down, that’s exactly what I mean. The second-year corner was in a full sprint towards Vick after he passed the line of scrimmage.

Vick throws one away before fitting the ball into a tight window to Shepard in the end zone for a touchdown.

Foles sets up in shotgun as Jackson motions from out wide for a handoff, but they fumble the exchange.

2:26 – One more team period. Foles only gets one play, throwing a pick to Colt Anderson.

Matt Barkley struggled for most of the day, although to be fair, he’s not playing with the most talented supporting cast. Back-to-back throws to Nick Miller are incomplete.

Vick can’t find a receiver and scrambles out of bounds. On the next play, he fumbles the snap. But Vick ends the day on a positive note, hitting Jackson on a go-route for a 35-yard touchdown against Trevard Lindley.

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  • Dubiy

    Ill jump on the foles/barkley wagon all day but when Vick outplays them both in practice then credit is due.

    • #7

      Thats whats up!!

  • Sec 103 in the Link

    So…anyone think sheppard is somehow going to work his way into maclins position? Kid is mentioned every other play.

    • A Big Butt and a Smile

      I’m hopeful.

    • Token

      Well its a good spot to be in as a WR on this squad. hes got nothing in front of him. But its too early. Preseason will tell us a bit more about the kid.

    • G_WallyHunter

      I’m thinking and hoping the same thing. Kelly is famous for making diamonds out of dust (mind you, at the college level, but much of that skill still transfers)…. maybe Shepard will be this years diamond in the rough…. CK did personally recruit him but he chose LSU, then went and handpicked him… crossing fingers..

  • Damien

    There today. Observations:

    QB: Vick won the day and looked fairly sharp and had some nice runs. Foles looked inconsistent and Barkley had a rough day.
    RB: Shady looked fine and Bryce looked great. Felix had a bad drop.
    WR: Desean was quiet, but no mistakes, Cooper is racist, Benn didn’t practice, Sheppard was eh, and Momah was PITIFUL (he was lost all practice and constantly ran the wrong routes/dropped passes)
    TE: Ertz looked very solid out there and Casey and Celek blocked well
    OL: Peters played well pre-injury, Mathis, Kelce, Herremans all solid, Lane was great today, Tobin is a MONSTER, Danny was ok, Menkin looked fantastic, Bamiro wasn’t aggressive enough, Reynolds was ok, Wang was BAD, and Tra Thomas is my favorite intern on the team- very involved/has a future in coaching
    DL: Geathers, Cox, Sopoaga, Thorton, Logan, and Square had good days, but Curry looked a little passive out there
    LB: Cole can’t be stopped on pass rush, Barwin looked solid, Ryans is the best tackler on the team by far (destroyed Shady in the one on ones), Kendrichs looked good too tackling.
    CB: Marsh and Fletcher should be starters imo and Boykin is great in the slot
    S: Chung was up and down, Wolfe had some solid plays, Anderson had a nice pick and looked solid in pass coverage, Allen also looked pretty good.

    • UKEagle99

      12:41 Mike Vick punched Riley Cooper in the face
      12:42 LeSean McCoy punched Riley Cooper in the face
      12:43 Jason Avant went in motion and punched Riley Cooper in the face
      12:44 Teach session… Duce Staley punched Riley Cooper in the face

      Nice notes, thx for the insight!

    • #7

      Nice observations.

      Nice to see that Ertz has shown some talent and uses his size on the slants, which is the routes we need to run.

      Mike Vick getting more comfortable. Foles puts the pads on and starts coming back to earth. I love it

    • Chris

      nice notes thanks! glad to hear wolff looked good, i thought the same last sunday. did you notice anything about Poyer other than what sheil mentioned? interested to know how hes coming along

    • Damien

      Oh and Joe Kruger had a nice day.

  • therealpistolp

    This review got me excited!! I think I’m ready for some football!

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    I like what chip did sunday when I was there. during 11 on 11 or something he takes ball and runs down to about the 10 yrd line and had the special teams quickly set up for a field goal in seconds and nail it. im assuming a game winning situation as the clock expires out of timeouts. was just so random at the end of a period. pretty cool

  • A Big Butt and a Smile

    Note to Vick…please don’t take the ball up the middle. Thanks

  • PhEaglesPhan

    Hey Sheil!

    What’s the chances of setting up a cam and streaming a video feed to us!?

  • Furious E

    Don’t worry, Belichick will be in town next week. He has you covered.

  • B-West

    The passage about Vick scrambling to his left because he couldn’t find anybody still makes me nervous as a fan… That’s when he gets in trouble. When the initial read(s) aren’t there, or he hesitates to throw into a tight window, that’s when he goes into play extension/improvising mode. And that has not been good news since aroundabout Nov 2010.

  • Rick H

    This is for people that can’t comprehend the english lanquage and read an article written about ONE PRACTICE! If anyone comes away from this article thinking Vick was the best QB then i suggest you take a reading and attention to detail course. It sure sounded like medicore play completely across the board. I could disect this article and put every QB in a bad light. However that would be stupid!!! Fumbled snaps by one guy, running around and throwing the ball up for grabs by another guy and overthrowing by a third guy. That is just for starters. Throwing into coverage and throwing it up for grabs with multiple deflected passes… Trying to make plays which in a real game would end up as turnovers… It goes on and on!!! Seriously where is the objectivity? The writer was objective but a lot of the readers have attention deficit issues and are far from objective.

    • PaoliBulldog

      1. If you publicly criticize other readers’ literacy, then don’t misspell “language,” “mediocre” or “dissect.”

      2. Learn to capitalize proper nouns (e.g., “English”).

      3. God created commas for a reason: to remind some of us to breathe deeply and let go of all those childhood traumas.

      4. “People who,” not “people that.”

      5. There is very little social stigma toward users of anxiolytic pharmaceuticals. Ask your doctor how to experience better living through chemistry.

      6. Why don’t you start your own blog?

      • aub32

        “let go of all those childhood traumas” hahaha. All this time I thought they were meant to prevent run on sentences. I clearly have not been getting the most out of my comma usage.

        • PaoliBulldog

          LOL, in a way, a run-on sentence is the literary equivalent of not pausing for breath.

      • G_WallyHunter


  • theycallmerob

    Brilliant as usual. It’s GREAT to hear that almost every day, Avant makes a great catch and Boykin is playing shut-down.

    Sheil (and anyone else consistently watching practices):
    Has there been much evidence to support Benn’s comments re: the option routes? I don’t know if your wording is intentional in some observations, but you mention a couple completions as being “well-timed” or having “good anticipation”.

    I realize this is VERY difficult to try and dissect in camp, but I imagine one clue would be some of the defensive coverages in the 7-on-7’s and 11-on-11’s. Have you seen much zone? And receivers appearing to take advantage?

    I can only imagine this would play very well into Avant’s strengths (smarts, route-running, and finding soft spots in zones)

  • Rick H

    This is for log in name #7. I think your log in name says it all. No disrespect to the observer but that is one person’s amatuer opinion. Let’s all wait and hopefully get the right QB behind center that will help the Eagles win. Can Jackson be faulted for dropping a pass that is behind him? NO! Should we make Jackson a hall of fame receiver for beating Lindley? NO! Nor should we make the QB THAT THREW those passes better then the other. You have 0% of a clue if Vick was told to throw to another receiver or if Foles was told to throw it only to Jackson! Have you listened to Chip Kelly at all??? Come on man let it go with Vick and wait and see what happens. Barkley is playing with guys that will be gone in two weeks or less. Is that his fault? NO!

    • #7

      Take a chill pill

    • aub32

      Dude come off it. I have never seen you so up in arms when the players were in shorts and fans were hailing Foles superiority. I won’t knock anyone who points out this is just practice, but be consistent. Don’t get on 7 when he has consistently supported Vick and his claims were true today. We don’t know if they will be tomorrow, but I doubt if they aren’t that you will so adamantly go after Foles supporters for having an equivalent reaction

    • #7

      Quarterback Michael Vick built on his Monday performance and had perhaps his best day of practice thus far. He was decisive and sharp with his reads; the ball was out quickly and his throws were accurate. Some on-the-money passes were dropped, though Russell Shepard made a great diving catch on an out route and then showed strong hands on a quick slant that was squeezed between two defenders for a touchdown. Vick made every throw — short, deep, sideline, tight-window — and was slinging the ball all over the field. He ended practice with a perfectly-placed deep fade to DeSean Jackson, who beat cornerback Trevard Lindley, in the back right corner of the end zone for a touchdown.

  • #7

    Michael Vick
    Nick Foles
    Matt Barkley
    Dennis Dixon
    G.J. Kinne

    34 reps (24 first team)
    26 reps (13 first team)
    21 reps (third team)

    13 of 19, 3 TDs
    8 of 16, TD, INT
    4 of 16

    TC Totals
    169 (98 first team)
    160 (87 first team)
    104 (third team)
    23 (third team)

    TC Totals
    79 of 107, 5 TD, 1 INT
    77 of 103, 3 TD, 1 INT
    43 of 101, 1 INT, 1 Botched Snap
    5 of 7

    • Jernst

      Looks like what I saw on Sunday…Vick looked pretty clearly leading albeit not too far in the lead

  • #7

    Especially on 3rd down

  • nicksaenz1

    Seems like the QB play has some tightening up to do still. Hard to infer much. Biggest positives seem to be that Boykin is a beast and that Cole will be blowing up tight ends from the OLB spot, which leads me to believe that Graham would likely do similar. I dig it.