Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Here’s what we saw today at the Linc:

12:25 – Today was Military Day at the Linc, and that’s important to Chip Kelly. The Eagles’ head coach has traveled to Iraq and Afghanistan to visit with troops, and he dedicated Oregon’s spring game to the military. Here’s a YouTube video of Kelly addressing the troops while in the locker room while with the Ducks:

Today, military personnel lined the end zone and the sideline before practice. Eagles players shook their hands before they got started. But Kelly took the time to talk and take photos with pretty much all of them. By my guess, he spent a good 25 minutes making the rounds.

On a football note, the Eagles are not in pads, so expect even less hitting than usual.

1:18 – A couple injury notes. Jason Kelce is out with an ankle injury, and LeSean McCoy is dealing with a knee issue. Neither injury is considered serious, the team said.

1:20 – During 3-on-2s, Jamar Chaney bats down a Matt Barkley pass. I wonder if Barkley is getting a bit frustrated. He told Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times that it’s “kind of rough” battling the unwritten depth chart. Something worth keeping an eye on at least.

Meanwhile, Michael Vick hits DeSean Jackson deep. This has become a daily occurrence. Jackson beat Brandon Hughes.

Good question by McManus as he takes a look at two Eagles near the training table chatting it up: “I wonder what Shady and Ed Wang are talking about.”

Me too.

Mychal Kendricks breaks up a Dennis Dixon pass intended for Nick Miller. Also, Felix Jones has not shown good hands so far in camp.

1:36 – During 7-on-7 drills, Vick is up first with the ones. Brandon Boykin breaks up a pass over the middle intended for Jason Avant. But later in the drive, Vick finds Avant for a touchdown.

Nick Foles, meanwhile, looks for Ifeanyi Momah on an out pattern to the right side, but Hughes breaks it up. Zach Ertz runs the same route to the left side on the next play, and Foles connects with him. Brandon Graham actually had decent coverage on the play.

Foles looks for Momah on the fade in the right corner of the end zone, but he can’t hang on. Momah’s flashed inconsistent hands during camp. Ertz then drops a slant. Foles not getting a lot of help here.

Barkley makes a nice throw to Damaris Johnson in a tight window over the middle. He then looks for Johnson on a corner route, but Jordan Poyer and Nate Allen have good coverage and force an incompletion.

1:45 -I have never seen this before. A “defend the fake punt” drill. Two assistants stand at the line of scrimmage with blocking pads. Two defenders attack the line of scrimmage, before turning to chase the punter.

Serious question: Why practice defending the fake punt when you know it’s coming?

Meanwhile, in one corner of the end zone, four quarterbacks practice throwing off their back foot. But not G.J. Kinne. He’s on the other side of the field holding a blocking pad and helping with special teams.

“Kinne’s gotta be thinking, ‘This isn’t a good sign,'” says McManus.

By the way, if I hear one more person cal him E.J. Kinne…

1:59 – 11-on-11s. Foles is up first. He launches one to an open space in the end zone. It almost looks like he’s throwing it away, but Jackson speeds to the ball and makes the grab for a 20-yard touchdown. Had to be a defensive miscommunication there.

Vick runs the read option, keeps the ball, runs to his right and then swings it to Jones near the sideline before crossing the line of scrimmage.

Again, no pads. But Chris Polk with another nice run. He’s definitely outplayed Jones up to this point.

Vick rolls to his left, can’t find a receiver and takes off for the end zone. Kelly said yesterday he wants Vick to run if he has nowhere to go with the ball.

“Part of being a good decision-maker is if everybody’s covered, don’t force it,” he said. “If, obviously, people are going to play man coverage and turn their back on you, you looked at the one where [he] probably had a 25‑, 30‑yard gain.”

Barkley is directing traffic, but Dallas Reynolds snaps the ball when he’s not looking. It must be mentioned when evaluating Barkley that he’s playing with a lot of confused players out there.

A new-look starting offensive line, from right tackle to left tackle: Lane JohnsonTodd HerremansJulian Vandervelde-Evan Mathis-Allen Barbre.

Vandervelde is in for Kelce. Clearly, there’s competition for the backup center job. Barbre, meanwhile, had been practicing exclusively at guard, but is now getting a look at tackle for the first time.

2:09 – One final 11-on-11 team period. Vick fires to Jackson near the sideline, but Eddie Whitley breaks it up. Vick and Jackson connect on the next play though. Beautiful throw down the sideline for a 35-yard gain.

Foles hits Johnson on the slant, and he stops on a dime, getting away from Kurt Coleman and making his way towards the sideline.

On my to-do list for tomorrow: Ask Patrick Chung about the Eagles’ three-safety look. This is the second time I’ve seen them show it with Chung up covering the slot receiver.

Foles looks for Momah on the go-route. He sees the ball in the air, but just can’t separate from Hughes. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but his workout speed has not shown up on the field yet.

Polk shows good burst and gets free for a 20-yard score. Really looking forward to seeing him in the preseason.

Barkley’s pass is tipped by a linebacker, pops up in the air, and Cary Williams picks it off.

Interesting nickel look. Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Trent Cole are your defensive linemen. Connor Barwin is playing a “joker” role, lining up in a variety of places. And on one play, Cox actually drops back into coverage. If that happens more than once a game, Billy Davis may need to turn in his resignation.

That’s it for today. Tomorrow, we get to mix in Bill Belichick jokes. Who’s excited?

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