Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations


Here’s what we saw during today’s session.

11:50 – Someone switched the playlist up, and that’s a good thing. As Chip Kelly concludes his press conference, 2 Of Amerikaz Most Wanted blares from the speakers. Which reminds me: one of the best radio days of the year is Tupac’s birthday when stations play all of his greatest hits. This is fresh in my mind because it just happened yesterday.

11:58 – The first drill for the offensive linemen. The five starters set up in their respective positions, Jason Kelce yells out the call, and the ball is snapped. The players fire out of their stances, walk 5 yards and then do it again all the way downfield.

12:03 – The defensive backs get started on a separate field. They backpedal with their backs angled towards the sideline and then break on the ball as assistant defensive backs coach Todd Lyght fires passes their way. Everyone in line has a white jersey on, except for one guy: Donnie Jones. The Eagles’ punter participates in the drill and makes the grab.

Brandon Boykin drops an interception and gets down for push-ups. Perhaps my favorite Boykin stat from a year ago: He intercepted or broke up 23 passes, sixth-most in the NFL. Remarkable, considering he only played 51 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

12:06 – Jones ditches the defensive backs and joins the kickers. He’s rocking a white Eagles bucket hat. I’ve always wanted to be bucket hat guy, but have never given it a shot. Pros and cons? Anyone?

The defensive backs tweak the drill. Now they’re running down the sideline with their backs to midfield before turning around and chasing the INTs.

12:12 – There’s one new player in attendance today: fifth-round pick Ed Reynolds. The Stanford product missed most of spring practices because NCAA rules kept him at Stanford until last Thursday. He’s wearing No. 30. Sorry, Colt Anderson. That’s life in the NFL.

12:17 – Here’s some more video of the offensive linemen:

Double teams and then getting to the linebacker. So much of the Eagles’ success on the ground is based on what you see in simple drills like this one.

12:29 – A veteran move by a reporter: Paul Domowitch of the Daily News drapes a towel on his shoulder to help deal with sweat in the 91-degree heat. This is something I definitely need to add to the repertoire when training camp starts.

12:33 – During the special teams portion of practice, Nolan Carroll II gets some work as a kickoff returner. Off to the side, Nick Foles works on holding for field goals.

12:43 – 7-on-7 time. A lot of rotating the wide receivers today. Josh Huff gets some work in the slot with the second team.

Curtis Marsh breaks up a deep out thrown by Matt Barkley. I predict that Marsh will still be around for mini-camp in 2030.

No breaks with conditioning today. When each set is done, offensive players finish by running down to the end zone at the opposite end of the field.

12:49 – The bleachers are on fire, but some reporters still manage to sit down. One has a seat cushion – another veteran move.

I may need to create a football writer’s survival kit. So far, we’ve got binoculars, seat cushion and towel. Is that enough to get this on Shark Tank? C’mon Lori… this would KILL on QVC!

12:53 – Poor intern Josh is wearing pants and a long-sleeve button down. We never told him to go with shorts on the really hot days. Bad management all around. I blame McManus.

12:58 – The Eagles run through a lot of inside zone and plays that work off of it. Foles assesses the defense and throws the quick screen to Riley Cooper. The Eagles also use play-action and go downfield.

It’s worth noting that Jeffrey Lurie is taking on the heat head-on and watching practice from the sideline.

1:07 – As most of the players take part in special teams, we see that the trash-can contraption is back. If you missed it the first time around, the assistants stack two trash cans on top of each other and then have a third one angled towards the quarterback. As I’ve said before, it almost looks like a cannon.

First, the apparatus is placed in the middle of the field at the 20-yard-line. The quarterbacks are at the 40 and rifle the ball towards the opening.

Then they reverse field. The QBs are at the 15, and the apparatus is set up at the 30 near the numbers as they take turns.

If anyone is throwing a bachelor party soon, please make this contest part of the festivities. Every time I see them use it, I want to participate.

Meanwhile, Murderleg crushes a kickoff out of the end zone. This competition ain’t over yet!

1:13 – 7-on-7 time. The Eagles start off in 10 personnel with one running back and four wide receivers. The look has Huff and Jordan Matthews running with the first team, alongside Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.

When the twos are up, Carroll breaks up a Mark Sanchez pass intended for Matthews. Unofficially, Carroll has gotten his hands on more passes than any other defensive back this spring (in the sessions open to the media, that is).

With the threes, Arrelious Benn makes a leaping grab in front of Marsh.

1:26 – On the sidelines, Alex Henery chats up Lurie. Always a smart move to exchange pleasantries with the man who’s going to write you checks totaling $645,000 this year.

1:28 – During team drills, Zach Ertz splits out wide and Foles hits him on a comeback. Then James Casey gets the call on a screen.

One position note: It appears for the first time this spring that Dennis Kelly is getting reps at guard. He played some there as a rookie.

Sanchez, meanwhile, hits B.J. Cunningham on a deep out. Matt Barkley gets a turn next and throws behind Damaris Johnson.

1:50 – That’s a wrap. A full two-hour session. We’ll try again tomorrow.

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  • Brent E. Sulecki

    Awesome Sheil. thank you

  • myeaglescantwin

    Sounds like Matt Barkley is ready to set the bench on fire this year!!

    one good note about his play, that’s all i want.
    he has to do something right eventually, , , , right?

  • cliff henny

    Sheil, i’ll give it a shot (for my resume, am bald, and live in SC-trust me, i’ve worn hats!). first, you stike me as a visor guy, never seeing you in a hat. believe you are Indian and full head of black hair, a bucket hat will be like putting a furnace on your head. i’d start off with golf/tiger woods Nike mesh hat. you can take it off fold it up and carry it in back pocket, when you get tired of wearing it. now a look i could really see you rocking, setting yourself apart from the other yahoo reporters would be the straw cowboy hat. sure, you get made fun of, but they breathe, and great conversation starters with the ladies at a bar (semi-peacocking, but hey, an in’s and in). Sheil’s maried, so maybe some of you younger guys try it, very summery happy hour’s looks,they cost 10 bucks, buy like 5, cause chicks will still them. so what, trade it out for a round of shots. just helping the 24/7 kids.

    • Eagles1018

      Sheil get a fedora. And keep a cigarette lot inside one of those holders between your teeth. Like Hunter Thompsom.

      • DirtyWaters

        With the card that says,”PRESS” in the band? Sending the intern out for coffee, smokes and the afternoon papers?

        • Eagles1018

          Yeah coffee smokes and the “afternoon papers”. Next thing you know Sheil and Josh are held up in a Vegas hotel, the room is flooded, there’s blow up ballon animals and pizza boxes everywhere and theirs a dead girl face down the the toilet.

          • Johnny Domino

            Moral of the story: Never ingest more than a matchhead size dose of pineal extract. Ever.
            And keep plenty of grapefruit on hand at all times.

          • DirtyWaters

            Scotch? Ether? This is bat country.

          • Piatz1019

            Well that escalated quickly

      • NCBiRDMann22

        Sheil you should probably get the interns to set up a kiddy pool for ya filled with some cold water. Then strap up some swimmies grab you a six pack and some stogies or cigs and kick back with a pair of shades and a nice hat. Reporting with style my man!

  • EaglefaninAZ

    Lawdy… I do love this blog.

    On another note… DONNIE FOOTBALL. Sheesh. The man is a god. If Murderleg really starts cooking and gets the nod, kickoffs and punts are gonna be a festival of awesome.

  • James

    Sheil…..I would like to see more video of the actual practice….maybe Receivers running routes and catching balls from all the Qb’s…thanks.

  • Addicted2MAmula

    Foles working on holding for field goals. More trick plays?

    • Eagles1018

      That’s what I was thinking. That or please don’t put him position to work out like Romo did….

      • knighn

        Romo was a choke artist before he was holding field goals. Holding just added another way of choking to Romo’s repertoire.

  • eaglespur

    Sheil, the bucket hat’s been done. Get yourself a Robinhood hat, green felt with a feather. Dare to be unique! … [Spurs are the NBA Champions!]

  • Maggie

    This kind of bucket hat? Beat it up a little. And add the hose to your list for hot days!

  • Eagles1018

    They get so much done in that practice session it’s nuts

  • MediaMike

    Maybe Lurie was explaining to Henery that Tony Danza (in that garbage picking field goal kicking movie he produced) is a better kicker than Henery.

  • Larry

    Sheil….in response to your comment at 12:29 about a towel…..try a Frogg Togg Chilly Pad. Soak it, wring it out and wrap it around your neck. My brother in law who used to be in the SEALS told me a couple of years ago that the teams swear by them. I live in the south, and anytime during the summer that I’m outside working or exercising, I wear one. You can pick one up at a sporting goods store for $10-$12 bucks. Beats a towel.

    • A_T_G

      I have one, and was less than impressed. I think the east coast humidity makes them less effective than they probably are in the southwest.

      • Corey Dawson

        This. They don’t remove heat/provide cooling if the water isn’t evaporating,which happens at a slower and slower rate the higher that the humidity gets.

        • Warhound

          They’ll cool you some if they are dipped in ice water. Also if you wear a hat with some space under it put a zip-lock with a few ice cubes up there. Lastly – a parasol may get you mocked but portable shade is great.

  • Glenn

    I bet we lead the league in names that end with II, with Carroll and Smith.

  • DirtyWaters

    In 2030, Nick Foles will still be the starter for another 984 years.

  • Reasonableeaglefan

    I’ve got a new level of respect for Josh. He never got the ok to go casual so he soldiered through a scorcher at practice. Lesson to you youngsters, when in doubt, it’s better to be a little overdressed than a little underdressed.

  • DirtyWaters

    Donnie Jones once kicked a man so hard in the chest, it sent him to the dark distant future where Nick Foles is no longer the starter of the Eagles. (Curtis Marsh,however, is an android who disobeys the third law of robotics.)

  • DoctorRick

    Sheil says, “If you missed it the first time around, the assistants stack two trash cans on top of each other and then have a third one angled towards the quarterback. As I’ve said before, it almost looks like a cannon.
    First, the apparatus is placed in the middle of the field at the 20-yard-line. The quarterbacks are at the 40 and rifle the ball towards the opening.”

    Sorry, Sheil. Without pics it don’t mean

  • Joe L

    Good to see Carroll showing well.

  • dislikedisqus

    No OTA summary is complete until it contains some version of the line “… broke up a Mark Sanchez pass”

  • Jerry Pomroy

    Screw the bucket Sheil. Go for a Boonie hat.