Running Diary: Eagles-Pats Practice Observations

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots Practice

FOXBORO, MASS. — Because of the forecast, the Eagles and Patriots pushed practice up to 9 a.m. today. Here’s what we saw.

9:00 – Let’s set the scene. There’s a steady rain falling here, but it’s supposed to get worse later. How bad is it? I’d say if you were driving, you’d have the windshield wipers on the intermediate speed, where they’re constantly moving, but not the fastest speed that’s used for complete downpours.

Chip Kelly walks slowly down a hill on the wet grass that leads to the practice fields. The Patriots are already out there stretching and warming up.

For the Eagles, a number of guys are not practicing: Chris Polk, Nolan Carroll II, Jaylen Watkins, Matthew Tucker and Jake Knott. Riley Cooper is in full pads, but he doesn’t participate fully.

It’s a spirited group on both sides today. I remember the players last year after the Lions game talking about how much they loved playing in the snow. This isn’t quite the same thing, but it doesn’t appear that they mind getting after it in the rain.

Nose tackle Beau Allen is still going with the look where he rolls his jersey up and exposes his mid-section. It’s fair to say he’s sticking with that in any and all elements.

9:08 – Before practice officially begins, the Eagles huddle near the end zone. The chant on three? “Dominate!”

9:20 – One-on-one time. Curtis Marsh flashes during this period every day. He does a fantastic job playing the fade, turns around at the perfect time and breaks up the Tom Brady pass. You can see why the Eagles felt good about Marsh’s man coverage skills and athleticism, but it hasn’t translated to games.

Bradley Fletcher, meanwhile, has had quite a bit of trouble during one-on-ones the past two days.

For the Eagles, Jordan Matthews can’t come down with a jump ball against Logan Ryan. I still need to see him use his size to make contested catches.

Ifeanyi Momah runs a fade, but Nick Foles leads him out of bounds.

9:34 – We bring you our favorite Boston accent moment of the day: “Does that have to be chaaahhhged?” yells one of the local cameramen.

9:36 – The teams make use of both practice fields during 7-on-7s. Major confusion on one play from the Eagles’ defense as Danny Amendola gets wide open down the sideline. Later, the ‘D’ bounces back as Najee Goode drops in coverage and gets a hand on a Brady pass, forcing the incompletion in the end zone.

Foles makes a nice throw in traffic to Jeremy Maclin for a completion. After that, things get ugly for the offense. Foles goes 0-for-3 inside the 10. Mark Sanchez fails to complete a pass down there too. Granted, the conditions are not great, but unimpressive period for the Eagles’ offense.

9:45 – Roc Carmichael and Brandon Browner mix it up in the most yawn-worthy scrap of all-time.

9:52 – During the run/play-action 11-on-11 period, Maclin gets behind the defense and comes down with a 50-yard touchdown on a pretty deep ball from Foles.

But the good news ends there. Maclin comes up hobbling and misses the remainder of practice. We found out later he suffered a left hamstring injury. It’s unknown whether he’ll play Friday night.

Overall, Maclin has played well the last two days, but keep in mind that he’s often lined up against Darrelle Revis, who is constantly going half-speed. Yesterday, for example, Foles held the ball, and Revis basically stopped moving as Maclin got behind him for the touchdown.

9:58 – Bennie Logan is practicing fully and is lined up with the first team at nose tackle. At safety, Nate Allen is getting all the reps with the ones alongside Malcolm Jenkins. At this point, it’d be an upset if Nate Allen didn’t start in the regular season.

DeMeco Ryans drops in coverage and nearly comes up with an interception against Brady. Instead, he settles for a pass breakup.

Great period for Zach Ertz. He runs down the seam against a linebacker for a downfield catch. Then Ertz sets up in the middle of the field, turns towards the line of scrimmage, makes himself big and comes down with a nice catch over his head in traffic. The Eagles aren’t going to be able to afford keeping Ertz off the field once the regular season starts.

Back on defense, Fletcher gives up a catch in front of him near the sideline. I really think Carroll would be pushing him for that job if he weren’t injured.

The third- and fourth-team players don’t get a lot of reps during these joint practices. It’s just a numbers game, and there isn’t enough time for everyone. But during this period, Matt Barkley and the third team work on one field. Barkley delivers a ball down the seam to James Casey, who hauls in a one-handed grab.

10:41 – During another team period, Matthews does a good job reaching behind him on a high ball from Foles for the reception.

Later, Foles looks for Arrelious Benn deep, but he gets no separation. Benn hasn’t made many plays recently. His chances of making the 53-man are not great.

Foles looks for Matthews in a high-traffic area in the middle of the field. The ball pops up in the air, and Patrick Chung, a Birds 24/7 favorite, comes down with the interception.

On defense, the Eagles force three straight Brady incompletions, and the wet ball slips out of his hands on a fourth play. We mentioned this yesterday, but the defense has clearly fared much better than it did a year ago.

Of course, Brady is still going to make his share of plays. Roc Carmichael gets beaten by Danny Amendola for a TD. Amendola spikes the ball, and Brady comes over to congratulate him before delivering a head-butt to Julian Edelman as if this were the Super Bowl.

Practice is cut a bit short today because of the weather. The teams will have a walk-through Thursday before Friday’s preseason game.

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  • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

    Foles sucks. Think we can sign Tim Tebow? Then we can run Chip’s true offense.

    • Will, Always Shady in CA

      Cant tell if you are serious or trolling…

      • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

        Look at my avatar… haha

    • daveH

      I dint fall for it ..but wish WISH Snachez was at least good enough o be a threat! id rather have Vick than sanchez and think we will regret that defacto trade ..I already dread it.

  • Andy

    We need a pic of Beau Allen.

  • Javi Echie

    Can Nolan Carroll get back asap please if Fletcher is going to be struggling this bad.

    • NickS, Combine Warrior

      Yeah, the only problem I see is that if we’re going to play off coverage as much as we did last year, might not matter who’s there.

      • Javi Echie

        Yea I hear ya on that but I think I if we get the better safety play this year, as Chip and Billy expect, I think we will be pressing more often. They have been playing more press coverage in practice this year so lets hope.

        • NickS, Combine Warrior

          Davis seems to love his zone coverage schemes. Not to say we won’t play a little more, but at this point it’s really hard to expect that we’ll see a seriously dramatic increase in press coverage. That said, it’s entirely possible that Davis isn’t showing his hand, which I pray to God is the case.

          • Javi Echie

            Agreed on that I am speaking with more optimism then expectations. Lets really hope we’re both right.

        • aub32

          Didn’t they play a good amount of press in practice last year?

    • Joe L

      His injury must be pretty bad if he’s been missing this long.

  • aub32

    Using windshield wiper speed as a unit of measure for the amount of precipitation. Nice!

    • Soybot

      I’ve never seen that before, and it’s perfect.

    • daveH

      hunter spence knows when to use the intermittent wipers

  • JosephR2225

    “Amendola spikes the ball, and Brady comes over to congratulate him before delivering a head-butt to Julian Edelman as if this were the Super Bowl.”

    If it were the Super Bowl, Amendola would have dropped it a la Wes Welker.

    • Travis Papa

      This is why Tom Brady is who he is. Every practice he takes as serious as the SB

  • Adam

    The Philly accent is almost as funny as the Boston accent, from a Canadian perspective.

    • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

      Who the hell asked you, team Canada?!

      • JosephR2225

        What a hoser, eh?

        • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

          “Aboot! It’s ABOUT! And what’s with this ‘eh’ business?”

          • ICDogg

            It’s how it’s taught in the Organ-Eye-Zation.

          • cliff h-MOAR white goons

            hope a South Park making fun of Canada is on tonight. I’m not your friend, pal. I’m not your pal, buddy. I’m not your buddy, friend.

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton


          • eneagled

            As is tradtion

          • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

            When you fart your D!%K gets hard.

    • JofreyRice

      much less famous though. When my accent was stronger, and I’d travel somewhere, they’d think I was from the South. It’s the vowels, they’re accentuated and there is a vague shadow of cockney. Once I had moved away, it became really pronounced when I’d talk to my family.

      In my experience, it’s prevalent from Philly down to BMore, in some form.

      • peteike

        ya, its is actually impossible to replicate or mimic. Never heard anyone who can imitate it but you know it when you hear it

        • JofreyRice

          One of the reasons I like Joooooooooe Flaccooooooooooooooh.

    • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

      “The Canadians. They walk among us. William Shatner. Michael J. Fox. Monty Hall. Mike Meyers. Alex Trebek. All of them Canadians. All of them here.”

      • hrtak

        Danny Watkins…

  • mtn_green

    Really enjoyed the article. Thanks.

  • JofreyRice

    I’ve always felt the sport science thing gets a bit too much credit for the lack of injuries last year. I think luck played a huge part. Maybe 60/40 luck to sports science. Now I’m wondering if it was more like 70/30.

    Also, why is Fletcher s@#%ng the bed all of a sudden? Except for the Minny game, he was clearly the superior corner last year. I don’t get it.

    • cliff h-MOAR white goons

      misses the chunger? honestly, think we wanted him to be better than he was. I never heard of the guy till Eagles announced him, good story underdog, was rooting for him. plus, C-Wills was who we were comparing him against, and he’s kind of a hard guy to root for.
      also wonder if every knook and cranny injury was announced and covered, or were we to involved in Foles v Vick. like Jax running w/ the 3’s was covered for a split second…annnnnnnd back to Mike vs Nick

      • JofreyRice

        you know I don’t go around fluffing guys, pretending they’re better than they are. To me, he looked like a pretty solid CB. He was considered a good cover guy with good size that couldn’t stay healthy in STL. He ended up being healthier than I thought he would, and the rest of him matched up pretty well to the description. For me, at least. But now it sounds like he’s getting scorched every time a football is anywhere near him.

        • cliff h-MOAR white goons

          just saying, maybe he is what he is, and the rest of the guys are moving the bar. he cant keep up. Marsh and Carroll when healthy, sound like they want his job.
          yeah, you are like me, the caring of who went out the window a long time ago. if Kelly thought Romo was the answer, I’d pick him up at the airport

      • OldDuckMcDoc

        also wonder if every knook and cranny injury was announced and covered, or were we to involved in Foles v Vick.

        Worth remembering we’d had three ACLs go kablooey by this stage last year. Plus whatever miscellaneous problems Kenny Phillips experienced each day with the sticky tape holding his limbs together.

        Cooper missed a few days with an aural racismic disorder.

        And I’m sure Wolff must’ve missed a day or two with a boo-boo because, S-O….

        All things considered I’ll take the injuries in this season’s camp over last season’s.

      • dnabrice

        The few times Fletcher looked bad last year, it was Chungers fault.

        • cliff h-MOAR white goons

          for about 120 days in fall of ’13, everything that went wrong in my life was Chunger’s fault

          • NickS, Combine Warrior

            I’ll blame Chung for this year’s safety play. He ruined/slowed the development of Wolff.

          • jagr

            He’s our Adam Archuletta. #FreeMrTony

          • DirtyWaters

            Spousal abuse will increase this year in New England by the same amount it decreases in Philly.

      • RIP illa

        “think we wanted him to be better than he was.”

        And that perfectly sums it up!

    • anon

      fletch will be a liabity. he can get beat downfield and hes always topping the leaguein dpi which will increase under new rules.

    • Token

      Agree with both points. I dont get Fletch either. And im hoping Carroll isnt another injury prone guy. We are gonna have to hope Carroll is decent. Because next year we are looking at getting 2 new corners, since we all know Boykin has no chance.

      I thought Fletch was clearly better then Cary last year. However, its worth noting that his ball skills are terrible. There were times last year where he got a bit lucky with overthrows happening on plays where he was beat.

      This 10 yard cushion business does nobody any good any way you slice it. Just a terrible way to play defense.

    • Andy Six Score and Four


  • ICDogg

    Several (especially the heavier) players do that thing now where they put their pads and shirt on all at once, and they don’t pull the shirt down the rest of the way.

  • Brent E. Sulecki

    Nice gesture by Matthews throwing a bone to Chung

    • anon

      does drop city worry you? remember last year a certain vet had everyone on the jugz, now ertz has sticly fingers.

      • NickS, Combine Warrior

        Starting to worry me. Catches everything in shorts. Put the pads on and it seems to affect him.

        • Say No to Marc Mo From Easton

          There is definitely a difference between catching in gym clothes and catching with shoulder pads and a helmet on. I’m not going to sweat it yet. Hands are a fixable issue. You can’t learn to be 6’3″ 220 lbs and fast.

      • Brent E. Sulecki

        Hell yes. It sure does

  • distantfires

    friggin hilarious article. thx.

  • phillylove21

    I’m really tired of seeing Chris Polk hurt damn near every week during training camp this year and last year.. Sheeshhhh!!

  • rich_cranium

    why is roc Carmichael still here???

  • No exaggeration on the weather. Driving to Nova Scotia, stopping in Maine tonight, wipers on intermediate since Scranton

  • Joe L

    How exactly did Roc Carmichael and Brandon Browner “mix it up”? How were DB’s from opposing teams going against each other?

    • Ark87

      Must be a special teams drill. Though seeing as Bellichick keeps Edelman around as a back up DB, who know, maybe he’d try a DB at WR too.

  • ohitsdom

    Why did Carmichael and Browner even have a chance to fight? Are the CBs going against each other in some drills?

    • Andy Six Score and Four

      Special Teams drill. Our Kickoff team against their kickoff return.