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.