It is difficult for Kenny Phillips to relay what is happening with him physically because he is going so much off of feel.
It’s been almost four years since he had microfracture surgery. He was told at the time that he would have to manage his left knee for the rest of his career, and so far that has proven to be true. His knee never swells up and his body never shuts down, he says, so there are no obvious signs to tell him when he needs to back off. But through trial and error, he’s learned that setbacks are lurking around the corner if he’s not careful, and has a sense for when he is getting close to the edge.
The red line is not defined, so the team must take their cues from the player.
DeSean Jackson sat out practice Friday with an ankle injury.
The receiver was on the field with his teammates at the start of the session, but wore a visor instead of a helmet and was purely a spectator.
Kenny Phillips is about to become a new dad and was not at practice. A team spokesman seemed to think that the safety, who has been sidelined with knee issues, would have participated in practice otherwise. But who knows.
Meanwhile, Cary Williams was once again a no-show. The corner missed about a month of work as he took care of some personal business, which included getting married, having dental work done and tending to a house-build. The latest reason? His daughter’s recital.
LeSean McCoy was absent as well. The Eagles did not give an explanation. Todd Herremans was in attendance but did not participate. No details were provided.
Jason Peters continues to be absent for personal reasons.
These OTAs are voluntary. There is a mandatory minicamp coming up that runs June 4-6.
If you could have one current Eagle for the rest of his career, who would you pick? That, plus thoughts on Kenny Phillips’ chances and Chip Kelly’s biggest obstacle in the latest Twitter Mailbag.
Jason Peters was not at the NovaCare Complex for the Eagles’ voluntary practice this morning.
Chip Kelly would not offer details, but did not seem overly concerned. Asked if he would have liked Peters to be here, Kelly said, “No, I understand exactly where Jason is.”
Nate Allen didn’t know about the free-agent safety additions until he got the call from Chip Kelly.
“He was just saying, ‘It’s just, we need competition out here,’” said Allen.
But anyone who watched this team last year knows the situation is far more urgent than that.
Pro Football Focus has safety rankings from the 2012 season based on overall performance. Of the 88 safeties evaluated, Allen ranked 84th and Kurt Coleman 85th.The Eagles yielded a league-worst 33 touchdowns through the air. Opposing quarterbacks had an average rating of 99.6 against them. (Only Kansas City [99.9] was more generous.)
The Eagles understandably made safety a priority this offseason, adding Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung to the fold in free agency. Then they used a fifth-round pick on Earl Wolff in April’s draft.
So, where does it all stand now that we’re a few weeks into the offseason program?
This is the first in a series. Throughout the next week or two, we’ll take a position-by-position look at the Eagles’ roster. Today, we start with the safeties.
From Connor Barwin’s production to Kenny Phillips’ contract to options with the No. 4 pick, here are three Eagles-related numbers that matter.
You can tell that Kenny Phillips isn’t able to just flip the switch. He was drafted by the Giants, played five years for them. He was wired to hate the Eagles, and now he is one.
“Yeah, it’s weird. It’s definitely weird,” said the veteran safety at his introductory press conference. “I can’t say I hate the Giants. When I was with the Giants I kind of disliked the Eagles. I guess I’ll learn to hate them.”
And the Eagles receivers?
“I didn’t like them,” said Phillips with a smile. “I respected every single one of them. I thought they had a great team. Maclin and Celek and DeSean, you had to respect those guys because they went out there and made plays. Practicing against them should be fun. I enjoyed playing against them — I just can’t hit them now. We have to be best of friends.”
Now that the Eagles have all these new pieces on the defensive side of the ball, the question becomes: how does it all fit?
It is important to remember that the offseason makeover is not yet complete. Free-agent signings and trades are still possible. The draft is more than a month away. But here is our best crack at how the defense would look with the roster in its current form.