Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations


Here’s what we saw during the Eagles’ final practice of the spring.

10:21 – This is as close as football players will get to the last day of school. It reminds me of when the Eagles used to hold training camp at Lehigh. On the last day of practice, they would run off the field with giant smiles on their faces before returning to Philadelphia. In the spring, it’s similar. The players will get 35 days off between now and the start of training camp.

10:32 – Safety Chris Maragos gets his Super Bowl ring today. The former Seahawks special teams standout went to the White House recently with his teammates and said he got to sit in Barack Obama’s home theater. I asked him what Barry’s DVD collection looked like. Not sure he realized I was joking.

10:48 – Here’s today’s video of the tight ends:

11:00 – After some special teams work, it’s 7-on-7 time. DeMeco Ryans breaks up a Nick Foles pass intended for Brent Celek underneath. But Foles hits Jordan Matthews on a crossing route and then finds Jeremy Maclin on an out.

Some have asked about Matthews practicing with the first team. From what I’ve seen, he’s only been doing that when the team goes with ’10’ personnel (one RB, four wide receivers). But it’s certainly possible he’s been mixing in with Brad Smith in the slot.

Meanwhile, Darren Sproles moves to the slot when the second team gets up. We haven’t seen that much this spring, but it’s pretty much a lock to happen more often once training camp starts.

11:09 – Foles throws incomplete to Smith, but as Jimmy Kempski points out, it was a good incompletion. Smith had a defender on his right hip, and Foles threw it low to Smith’s left. When a guy only throws two interceptions in a season, there’s always some luck. Football Outsiders noted that he had four near-interceptions in 2013. But even if all those were picked, Foles would have had one of the better INT rates in the league. He did a great job of taking care of the football last season.

Matt Barkley is finally starting to get some second-team reps, and Mark Sanchez goes with the threes.

11:19 – During special teams practice, Matthews chucks the ball 25 yards downfield to an assistant. Tight spiral. He’s got a good arm.

I should mention that while he was doing that with one hand, he was saving a baby from a burning building with his other hand. There are no limits to this man’s ability.

11:28 – Nolan Carroll II breaks up a Sanchez pass for Zach Ertz down the seam. If they gave out an award for most pass break-ups during the spring, Carroll would win it. We’ll see this summer if he starts to mix in with Bradley Fletcher as a potential starter.

Matthews lines up in the slot and runs a wheel route down the left sideline. He turns around at the right time and plucks the Sanchez pass out of the air above Roc Carmichael’s helmet. Nice play by the rookie.

Riley Cooper, meanwhile, gets behind Nate Allen on a deep-crossing route and catches a touchdown from Foles.

Barkley continues to have trouble with intermediate-to-deep throws outside the numbers.

11:40 – Good coverage by Mychal Kendricks, breaking up a Foles pass intended for Matthews. If this defense is going to show real improvement in 2014, guys like Kendricks have to make the leap.

It’s a hurry-up, two-minute situation. Foles yells, “Clock! Clock! Clock!” but then takes the snap and tries to hit Cooper near the sidelines instead of spiking it. His pass is incomplete.

Against a blitz, Foles unloads quickly to Matthews. LeSean McCoy is “stopped” on third down, and the offense settles for a field goal.

Sanchez leads the second team and throws incomplete to Josh Huff. After a throw-away, he fires to Ifeanyi Momah, who can’t hang on. And Huff drops a beautiful pass from Sanchez in the middle of the field on third down. Defense wins this one.

One more note on Huff: Yesterday he was rocking a Houston Rockets Steve Francis jersey. If it were a Matt Maloney jersey, I definitely would have taken a picture. But either way, to steal a phrase from Kelly, Huff is rocked up.

Back to the field: With the threes, Marcus Smith gets a “sack” on first down against Barkley. It looked like he was rushing unblocked from the right side. Barkley’s throw downfield is tipped and intercepted by Keelan Johnson.

11:53 –  Another team drill. It looks like the offense is starting the possession on second down. Foles throws incomplete to Cooper downfield. Cary Williams was in coverage and loves it, running off the field with his arm in the air.

Running back David Fluellen gets some reps with the twos. Sanchez takes a sack and then dumps it off to Fluellen. Another win for the defense.

12:02 – The horn sounds, and the team huddles in the middle of the field one last time for the spring. I’ll admit I miss the days of Asante Samuel leading the DBs in a “Get money!” chant. Maybe someone can bring that back for training camp.

That’ll do it from NovaCare. Thanks to all who followed along this spring. We’ll continue to have plenty of coverage on Birds 24/7 leading up to training camp on July 25.

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  • Chris

    Jordan Matthews is the hero that Philadelphia needs, but not the one they deserve.

    • Eagles1018

      FOOTBALL doesn’t deserve Jordan Matthews.

      • Brian

        Jordan Matthews would tell you that, He doesn’t deserve to be Jordan Matthews.

        • Eagles1018

          Did you know on the third day Jordan Matthews was risen from the dead.

          • JosephR2225

            You’re thinking of Jesus. Jordan Matthews only took two days to rise.

          • Mitchell

            No, that was Chuck Norris. BA ZING!!! *so corny

          • UKEagle99

            Chuck Norris is only Chuck Norris because Jordan Matthews said so.

    • dislikedisqus

      The Eagles didn’t draft Jordan. Jordan drafted the Eagles.

  • B-West

    Chip cracks me up. He answers every Sproles question with a half annoyed “he’s a running back” response all off season. Then, on “Yabba Dabba Do” day, he puts Sproles in the slot knowing there isn’t a question and answer session with the media for 35 days. Just trolling the media.

    If you don’t think there was a bit of intention there, you haven’t been paying attention.

    • Sconces

      You know Chip straight up said long ago Sproles would be used in the slot?

  • peteike

    I wonder why a guy like Kinne doesnt get more reps with 2nd or 3rd team when it seems like Barkley is playing so poorly. Cant waste a 4th round pick I guess, keep pressing.

  • Nice. Chip is mixing Ricc Ross into the soundtracc

  • Andy

    School’s out for summer!

  • JosephR2225

    “Receiver Jeff Maehl was back at practice after sitting out Wednesday with an apparent right leg injury.”

    I don’t know how Maehl recovered so quickly, but I’d bet Jordan Matthews had a hand in healing him.

    • Eagles1018

      One time Jordan Matthews was on the roof of a building and Agent Smith emptied a clip at him. Jordan dodged every bullet then leaped off the building with a rope and grabbed Trinity before she hit the ground

      • NickS1

        Jordan Matthews can fly. What was the rope for?

        • Eagles1018

          Duh….he needed those few seconds to teach Trinity before she died.

  • Tom w

    Only spring but defense and especially the secondary seems to be playing well against the first team offense.

    And I wouldn’t be too quick to say fletch would be the corner Carroll pushes for a starting gig and not big cap number Cary Williams

    • NickS1

      I don’t think Chip cares about cap numbers after how Casey got used.

      • IAteLunchToday

        I completely agree. Plus, Sanchez is paid more than Foles…

  • Token

    “We’ll see this summer if he starts to mix in with Bradley Fletcher as a potential starter.”

    Why? Fletch is a better player then Cary. Cary is gone after this year no matter what. So why would Carrol, if he proves worthy, start over Fletch instead of Cary? You cant slot roster spots just because Howie gave out a really bad contract.

    Then theres Boykin. CB really frustrates the hell out of me. It could turn out that Cary Williams starts over two better players in Boykin and Carroll. WTF? Im looking forward to seeing how Carroll plays in the preseason.

    • EaglesFanInPhx

      I actually agree with you for a change :) The only thing I see is that Cary is paid more, and seems to be the guy they wanted more in FA last year. Also, he did start playing better at the end of the year, and I will give him credit for that. That all said, I still think Fletcher is better than Cary, but regardless of last year, I think the top 2 CBs in camp should start out as starters this year regardless of name or pay.

    • NickS1

      I might very well be wrong, but I interpreted that quote as it would be Carroll and Fletcher as the potential starting duo. Again, could be way off.

      • Wilbert31

        I’m with you.

    • DetmerWonAHeisman

      Don’t know if anyone saw the Carroll interview video on the Eagles team website. I was really impressed with his poise and professionalism. Can see why he impressed in interviews…..Also has that cornerback build with the long (ripped) arms as well. Not quite Dawkins arms (I know he was a safety), but definitely bigger than Bobby Taylor arms…..If you can mute your speakers whenever Spadaro talks, then it’s worth a listen…..

  • JofreyRice

    you know it’s weird. From the descriptions I’ve read, It’s almost like Matt Barkley doesn’t have an NFL caliber arm. This is the first I’m hearing of this.

    • paul from nc

      They said he had a weak arm last year, but blamed the injury that “hadn’t completely healed.” Early in OTA’s they said it was all good.
      So take your pick. Bad arm or still recuperating.

    • Token

      My other post is awaiting approval? WTF?

      Anyway, did you see him on reddit calling out Kempski for questioning his arm? lol. Its great.

      “Easy there Jimmy, you don’t know a thing about that route, the defensive coverage, technique of the wide receiver, the route he was actually running, let alone my maximum velocity arm strength.

      We can play catch sometime if you want to figure out for yourself how hard I can throw it, just lemme know

      Edit: Nothing personal, don’t mean to spark a war, just letting you all know there is no concern with my arm strength :) Edit2: a few words….”

      Note that originally he said “Shut up Jimmy” then changed it.

      • Chris

        Link? Would love to read that.

        No matter what Barkley is going through, it seems like he’s not approaching it the best way. He’s coming off as very childish lately. I’m
        Not there to see so I can’t judge his progress but multiple reports coming out that he’s upset about being third string, now this, etc. Can’t just be coincidence

      • JofreyRice

        yeah, methinks the lady doth protest too much.

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  • Brent E. Sulecki

    Way to deliver Sheil. best in Philly!!. thank you.

  • dislikedisqus

    A Sanchez pass was broken up! The streak continues!