Notes: Minicamp Comes To A Close

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

The 2015 Eagles got one more workout in Thursday before their six-week hiatus. Minicamp came to a close with a slightly-shortened practice under a light rain at the NovaCare Complex. One player was heard shouting “Freedom!” as the final horn sounded. A quick team meeting, and then school was officially let out.

“It’s a great group, we trust them,” said Chip Kelly, addressing the media for the final time before training camp. “They’ve got their individual workouts that they’ll be accountable for when they come back. Just enjoy your time off, you deserve your time off. They’ve worked extremely hard since April 20 and just looking forward to getting guys back here on the first (of August).”

What did the head coach learn about his team over the last eight weeks? Read more »

Eagles Practice Observations

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Photo courtesy of USA Today

Given the rain and the shortened practice, we didn’t have enough to fill a running diary today, but here are observations from the Eagles’ last session of the spring.

* Coaches around the league like Bill Belichick and Bill O’Brien canceled the final day of minicamp practices to reward their players. That was not the case with the Eagles. It’s just not in Chip Kelly’s DNA, although the coaches did end the session a little early. Read more »

Eagles Wake Up Call: Allen Barbre Steps In

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Allen Barbre is entering his eighth NFL season, and to this point only has eight NFL starts under his belt.

Seven of those came in 2009 at right tackle when he was with the Packers. The other was last year in the season opener against Jacksonville — also at right tackle — in place of the suspended Lane Johnson.

Given how high this coaching staff appears to be on Barbre, it seems odd that he hasn’t gotten more work to this point in his career. What gives? Read more »

Vinny Curry Getting Some Work At Linebacker

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Vinny Curry nearly came up with the pick.

During one of the rare occasions that he was asked to drop earlier this week, he popped out on the tight end, turned, and saw that the ball was already on him. He wasn’t quite able to haul it in, but it was still enough to get his defensive teammates excited.

“Can’t cover like Connor [Barwin],” Curry joked, “but it got the job done.” Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

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

11:51 a.m. – I have joked before about being the lone passenger on the Marcus Smith bandwagon, but I swear that watching him move in practice, he looks like an NFL player. He’s long, athletic, and effort doesn’t seem to be an issue.

Maybe after being ping-ponged from outside linebacker to inside linebacker, it was the mental part that tripped him up last season. We’ll see if that’s the case once the pads come on.

By the way, speaking of the outside linebacker spot, Vinny Curry is getting some reps there, according to Chip Kelly. We know Curry can get after the passer, and he should have no problem setting the edge in the run game. But the question will be whether he can drop into coverage. Read more »

What’s Next For Sam Bradford?

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Give Sam Bradford credit. As he approached a group of reporters on the practice field Tuesday, he knew what questions were coming before anybody said a word.

“Before we start,” Bradford said with a smile. “I do not know when I’m going to be back.”

The Eagles quarterback continued to participate in 7-on-7 drills, but he’s yet to take a snap during the 11-on-11 period.

Asked if he’d be ready for that by training camp, Chip Kelly said, “God, we hope so.”

Added Bradford: “If I’m not ready for 11 on 11 by training camp, then I think something has gone terribly wrong.” Read more »

Wake Up Call: Ertz Wants To Lead

Photo By Jeff Fusco

Photo By Jeff Fusco

On a day when the temperature was over 90 degrees, many Eagles quickly made their way to the air-conditioned locker room after practice. Some hung around to talk to the media. And then there was Zach Ertz, running routes, weaving between tackling dummies as Jordan Matthews threw him passes.

Ertz’s goal in 2015 is simple: He wants to be a leader.

“I just want to be a leader of the team, honestly,” Ertz said. “Obviously my role has grown each and every year and I think it will continue to do that, but at the end of the day, all I care about is [getting] 16 wins next year, that’s our focus.” Read more »

Kelce On Mathis: ‘They Didn’t Want the Distraction’

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

Photo by: Jeff Fusco.

 Jason Kelce said that there was more of an “underlying tone” to the Evan Mathis contract protests this time around, one that apparently clashed with the symphonic harmony emanating from One NovaCare Way.

“Last year there was some under-the-radar talks about it, stuff that was going on in the media, but nothing really concrete and he never really let it take place in front of the team or anything like that so it wasn’t a distraction,” said Kelce. “At this point obviously he would have missed all of OTAs. It was a much bigger deal throughout the season at this point.”

It was no surprise to Kelce, then, that Mathis was cut out of equation. Same for the rest of the Eagles players we talked to.

This week’s minicamp will wrap on Thursday, marking the end of the offseason conditioning program. Mathis was absent all spring. While everything save the minicamp is voluntary, several of his teammates suggested that he was in violation of an unwritten code of conduct. Read more »

Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Tuesday’s minicamp practice.

11:22 – Before we get started, a few final thoughts on the Evan Mathis situation. Chip Kelly said Tuesday that Mathis’ camp asked for a release, and so the team gave him what he wanted.

Put quite simply, that request isn’t (or shouldn’t be) really relevant. Mathis was under contract. He was unhappy last year, but still showed up to all mandatory practices, rehabbed a midseason injury and played his butt off. Mathis says he was basically prepared to do the same thing again this year.

The Eagles had leverage. I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect all 53 guys to be happy with their contracts every offseason. And it’s certainly dangerous to give in every time a player asks for his release because he’s unhappy with his deal.

Maybe the coaches know something about the backups that most of us don’t, and the offensive line will be fine.

Or maybe the team will come to regret saying goodbye to a quality starting guard when one of the big goals for 2015 is to rely on the run game and keep Sam Bradford upright. Read more »

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