Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Here’s what we saw today at the Linc:

12:25 – Today was Military Day at the Linc, and that’s important to Chip Kelly. The Eagles’ head coach has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit with troops, and he dedicated Oregon’s spring game to the military. Here’s a YouTube video of Kelly addressing the troops while in the locker room while with the Ducks:

Today, military personnel lined the end zone and the sideline before practice. Eagles players shook their hands before they got started. But Kelly took the time to talk and take photos with pretty much all of them. By my guess, he spent a good 25 minutes making the rounds.

On a football note, the Eagles are not in pads, so expect even less hitting than usual.

1:18 – A couple injury notes. Jason Kelce is out with an ankle injury, and LeSean McCoy is dealing with a knee issue. Neither injury is considered serious, the team said.

1:20 – During 3-on-2s, Jamar Chaney bats down a Matt Barkley pass. I wonder if Barkley is getting a bit frustrated. He told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times that it’s “kind of rough” battling the unwritten depth chart. Something worth keeping an eye on at least.

Meanwhile, Michael Vick hits DeSean Jackson deep. This has become a daily occurrence. Jackson beat Brandon Hughes.

Good question by McManus as he takes a look at two Eagles near the training table chatting it up: “I wonder what Shady and Ed Wang are talking about.”

Me too.

Mychal Kendricks breaks up a Dennis Dixon pass intended for Nick Miller. Also, Felix Jones has not shown good hands so far in camp.

1:36 – During 7-on-7 drills, Vick is up first with the ones. Brandon Boykin breaks up a pass over the middle intended for Jason Avant. But later in the drive, Vick finds Avant for a touchdown.

Nick Foles, meanwhile, looks for Ifeanyi Momah on an out pattern to the right side, but Hughes breaks it up. Zach Ertz runs the same route to the left side on the next play, and Foles connects with him. Brandon Graham actually had decent coverage on the play.

Foles looks for Momah on the fade in the right corner of the end zone, but he can’t hang on. Momah’s flashed inconsistent hands during camp. Ertz then drops a slant. Foles not getting a lot of help here.

Barkley makes a nice throw to Damaris Johnson in a tight window over the middle. He then looks for Johnson on a corner route, but Jordan Poyer and Nate Allen have good coverage and force an incompletion.

1:45 -I have never seen this before. A “defend the fake punt” drill. Two assistants stand at the line of scrimmage with blocking pads. Two defenders attack the line of scrimmage, before turning to chase the punter.

Serious question: Why practice defending the fake punt when you know it’s coming?

Meanwhile, in one corner of the end zone, four quarterbacks practice throwing off their back foot. But not G.J. Kinne. He’s on the other side of the field holding a blocking pad and helping with special teams.

“Kinne’s gotta be thinking, ‘This isn’t a good sign,'” says McManus.

By the way, if I hear one more person cal him E.J. Kinne…

1:59 – 11-on-11s. Foles is up first. He launches one to an open space in the end zone. It almost looks like he’s throwing it away, but Jackson speeds to the ball and makes the grab for a 20-yard touchdown. Had to be a defensive miscommunication there.

Vick runs the read option, keeps the ball, runs to his right and then swings it to Jones near the sideline before crossing the line of scrimmage.

Again, no pads. But Chris Polk with another nice run. He’s definitely outplayed Jones up to this point.

Vick rolls to his left, can’t find a receiver and takes off for the end zone. Kelly said yesterday he wants Vick to run if he has nowhere to go with the ball.

“Part of being a good decision-maker is if everybody’s covered, don’t force it,” he said. “If, obviously, people are going to play man coverage and turn their back on you, you looked at the one where [he] probably had a 25‑, 30‑yard gain.”

Barkley is directing traffic, but Dallas Reynolds snaps the ball when he’s not looking. It must be mentioned when evaluating Barkley that he’s playing with a lot of confused players out there.

A new-look starting offensive line, from right tackle to left tackle: Lane JohnsonTodd HerremansJulian Vandervelde-Evan Mathis-Allen Barbre.

Vandervelde is in for Kelce. Clearly, there’s competition for the backup center job. Barbre, meanwhile, had been practicing exclusively at guard, but is now getting a look at tackle for the first time.

2:09 – One final 11-on-11 team period. Vick fires to Jackson near the sideline, but Eddie Whitley breaks it up. Vick and Jackson connect on the next play though. Beautiful throw down the sideline for a 35-yard gain.

Foles hits Johnson on the slant, and he stops on a dime, getting away from Kurt Coleman and making his way towards the sideline.

On my to-do list for tomorrow: Ask Patrick Chung about the Eagles’ three-safety look. This is the second time I’ve seen them show it with Chung up covering the slot receiver.

Foles looks for Momah on the go-route. He sees the ball in the air, but just can’t separate from Hughes. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but his workout speed has not shown up on the field yet.

Polk shows good burst and gets free for a 20-yard score. Really looking forward to seeing him in the preseason.

Barkley’s pass is tipped by a linebacker, pops up in the air, and Cary Williams picks it off.

Interesting nickel look. Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Trent Cole are your defensive linemen. Connor Barwin is playing a “joker” role, lining up in a variety of places. And on one play, Cox actually drops back into coverage. If that happens more than once a game, Billy Davis may need to turn in his resignation.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we get to mix in Bill Belichick jokes. Who’s excited?

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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  • #7

    QBs sound like they’re looking good sans Barkley

  • Cranky Caucasian

    Sheil, gonna be nit picky here. Can you list the o-line from left to right? The way you do it breaks my brain every time.

    • ohitsdom

      Glad I’m not the only one, drives me nuts.

      • djack10

        that’s crazy…i’ve always thought the same thing!!! it’s probably because that how it shows on TV…

    • sdk152

      I have no idea why I do it like that. Yes, of course, I can do left to right going forward. -SK

  • Jared

    I was at the practice today and maybe I’m wrong, but I thought it was Foles that threw the pick to Williams…

  • #7

    Even the hack Mosher says Vick is starting to separate himself from the pack

    http://www.csnphilly.com/football-philadelphia-eagles/eagles-qb-tracker-vick-separating-himself

  • Kevin

    Sheil – Because if you can’t defend the fake punt if you are expecting it, how are you going to defend it when you don’t expect it (unless you have Henry throwing the ball 10 yards short of a receiver).

  • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

    ” Kelly said yesterday he wants Vick to run if he has nowhere to go with the ball.”

    And that’s why I like Kelly. He likes his pegs and holes to match up.

    • #7

      Yeah man I love it. No hesitation. If no one is open, GO.

      • djack10

        If the dude can somehow work his magic and take it down one notch to not put himself in harm’s way, watch out. Unfortunately, he seems to only have one gear when it’s gametime. ALL OUT.

        • defroe81

          AGREED.

    • Run Eagles Run

      yeah, it will be interesting to see what vick 2.0 can do when he isnt forced into a west coat system not styled to his strengths.

  • Run Eagles Run

    Matt Barley needs to stop complaining about playing with the 3rd string. You were a 4th round pick Matt. 4th round. This isnt USC. You have to prove yourself again. Nut up.

    • #7

      He needs to get those wrists ready for holding that clipboard.

      • Run Eagles Run

        he needs to start studying the redskins offense in preparation for running the scout team.

  • #7

    MV7 pulling away. Nick, get those wrists ready for holding that clipboard.

  • jtre
    • Token

      I think Benn is gonna have a tough time making the team unless he really shines in preseason, if he ever plays. Just cant afford to waste roster spots on guys who can never stay healthy.

      Joe Kruger. Whats the deal there? I was curious about him heading into camp and havent heard his name once. Is he injured or just a bum?

      And yikes, Earl Wolff.

      • ICDogg

        Benn was out there today, made a nice catch. He doesn’t look like he is rusty at all despite missing time.

        • Token

          He has a uphill climb. Not a very good player while also being injury prone.

          • ICDogg

            Maybe uphill, but not that steep, based on what else we got.

      • cliff henny

        kruger came out yr too early, and that was pretty well known. he sounded like practice squad guy from get-go. wolff (bet another ps guy)behind simms(have at least heard his name couple times making plays) isnt great, but Poyer is the one who’s showed nothing. behind lindley,that’s bad. generally what happens with these 7th rounders, want them to be something cause it’s fun to pull for the underdog. but in the end, they rarely become impact players.

        • Token

          Had hopes Poyer would be some diamond in the rough. But looks more like every other team just knew he was a bum.

          • cliff henny

            ah, i cant blast or care about 7th round flyers. bums are picks that piss me off are the wadkins or jarrett page’s. get to about 6th round, and those guys are just guys. not that much different than UDFA.

    • cliff henny

      good to see shepherd and Momah battling for 5-6. for as much press as Salas gets, he’s buried way back. surprised to see cooper as starter. still not sure what kelly sees in him.

  • ICDogg

    I was there today. Based on today alone, and what I could see from far across the field, Vick was better than Foles, though Foles I think had the single pass that I thought was the most impressive. (DJax made them both look better than they did with other receivers). Barkley is not close to those two at this point IMO.

    It’s really hard to keep track of what is going on, with so much going on at once, and the hip hop tunes blasting.

    • Token

      Did Barkley throw wobblers each pass over 10 yards?

      • ICDogg

        They were either wobblers or high-arc throws.

        • Token

          All the intangibles in the world cant overcome that kind of arm at this level.

          • ICDogg

            Foles had some good throws but he had a couple of wobblers as well.

          • Token

            theres no doubt Vick throws the best ball. He throws one of the best balls ive ever seen, just not usually to the right spot. Its everything else with Vick thats the problem.

            Foles I really want to watch in preseason. He had mechanical issues last season that I thought effected his velocity. Sounds like they may not have been corrected?

          • ICDogg

            Most of Foles’ throws looked good. One of them looked tremendous in fact. But there were a couple of them, right after that one I’m saying was tremendous, that were wobblers.

          • Dutch

            Wobbles linger in the air and allows defensive backs to make breaks on those hanging balls, same with the troubled outs from Foles, he’s not consistent and thus the ball has to travel to far through a defense and without zip doesn’t have a chance to make it to the target without being molested and, or intercepted. For a 10 yard out pattern the ball has to travel approx 30 yds or more from a 5 to 7 step drop in the pocket.

          • ICDogg

            Yep

          • ICDogg

            I kind of wish Vick would use the middle of the field more, but it might just be that he doesn’t see well enough through the traffic. Especially with those giant fly swatter suit guys.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            I think that is exactly it. He leads the team, by far, in passes thrown into the fly swatters. And he has a history of being attacked from the A-gap blitz, often rolling out. I’m curious if the slot guys run more out and seam routes than slants this year.

          • Dutch

            Have you considered that Watkins was Guard is in the A Gap?

            Watkins has been confused by stunts and blitzes. Since putting on a helmet he’s shown he can not pick up blitzing defenders coming down the GAP and Shady blocking in the backfield is no help on blitzing linebackers or picking up the dog.

            Watkins and Shady are primary the reason downfield or seam routes don’t get a chance to develop when Vick’s back foot comes down he has to run for his life.

          • Dutch

            Which Eagles receiver of the three most productive receivers are willing to catch anything over the middle. Jackson and Maclin have both been concussed going over the middle at one time or another. Celek doesn’t even catch over the middle at least when covered he doesn’t.

          • ICDogg

            Heh. Well, I’m not going to deny that point, but certainly no one is going to get concussed or be afraid to catch anything in a no-hitting no-pads practice. And Avant is not shy about working the middle.

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            In the 2 TC sessions I’ve seen, Foles’ mechanics and strength definitely seemed improved. Vick is still in a league of his own, but Foles was making some throws with more velocity outside the hashes between 15-25 yards (intermediate). And though there are still a few wobblers, his deep ball is traveling better. Even saw a few overthrows.
            However, as Sheil and ICDogg both noted, DJax has really bailed them both out a few times deep.

  • PsychopPathetic1

    Has Kelly had his chance at trying to teach Vick to slide? Maybe Kelly has a miracle tip like the one he showed Vick for holding onto the ball. My 9 y/o niece slides pretty good and may be able to show Vick how it’s done.

    • Seven

      Someone needs to. Love 7 to death but he absolutely looks like a trainwreck when he slides…head first.

    • #7

      I don’t care how he does it, just get down. Randall Cunningham never slid and said he never would. There are a few other QBs that don’t slide

      • Gary

        Problem with Vick, though, is that he often fumbles or takes a big hit when he doesn’t slide.

    • Johnny Domino

      Who’s in town after the Braves?

      • #7

        My Braves put a beatdown on the Phillies

        • Eaglepete

          So your an atl vick fan who now likes the Eagles. Weaksauce

          • #7

            Wrong. I’ve been an Eagles fan since the Cunningham days. You don’t have to live in Philly to be a fan of the team. Nice try

  • Scott J610

    We’ve heard lots of good thing about Polk, but how about Bryce Brown? Haven’t heard much about him so far.

  • THROW UP IN THE HUDDLE

    How has Kenny Phillips looked???haven’t heard much about him

  • James

    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap1000000226440/article/michael-vick-reportedly-pulling-away-from-eagles-nick-foles

    Vick has been better and is now putting some distance between himself and Foles despite what all the Foles fan boys on this site continue to say.

    • Gary

      You realize that article is based on someone’s interpretation of reports… you know… like the one Mr. Kapadia wrote in this very page? Not saying Vick hasn’t been better the last few days, but that NFL.com story is pretty useless.

  • nicksaenz1

    No pads today, and as Lawlor pointed out, the defense couldn’t have stopped a leaky faucet, so not that much to take from a practice where Celek’s pass from Vick (that he miraculously didn’t drop) came when he didn’t have a guy w/in 10 yards, same for Avant’s TD. If those in support of Vick can use can use the no pads/hitting argument, it goes both ways.
    What’s starting to worry me is the lack of hitting. I know we have to keep guys healthy, but, for a sorry-tackling team like we had last year, we should be doing at least a little tackling to the ground.

  • All In Eagles

    Is anyone a tad worried about Vick running? Don’t get me wrong I’d love to see him light it up 2010 style but last year he looked slow. He was caught numerous times from behind by DE’s.

    • #7

      Not worried at all. Just because you don’t run a 4.2 anymore doesn’t mean you’re slow

      • All In Eagles

        I never said that not running a 4.2 makes you slow but in comparison to guys weighing 260 he looked less fast and was caught from behind. I’m hoping for the best of course.

        • #7

          New season = New results

        • http://abigbuttandasmile.com/ A Big Butt and a Smile

          Kevlar vest people. Kevlar vest.

    • Token

      Im excited about it. It means a quick injury and the faster we can get past this terrible era.