Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations
Here’s what we saw during today’s session.
11:25 – Before practice starts, Chip Kelly holds his press conference in the tent outside. As he’s speaking, music starts blaring from the speakers. Kelly mockingly waves for someone to turn it up so he can end his session with reporters. And here I thought he enjoyed chatting with us?
11:30 – The team is stretching on the far side of the field so there’s not much action. It’s times like this when you can reflect on the important things in life – like socks. I recently purchased socks from Target that were billed as no-show, as in they don’t show above your sneaker. But as I look down towards my feet today, I see that the socks are very much showing. I push them down under the tongue of my sneaker, but they just come back up. I thought 15 bucks for a 10-pair was a sweet deal, but these are show socks. C’mon man!
11:35 – Punter Donnie Jones almost made a one-handed catch. Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com nearly passed out. That bromance is alive and well.
11:39 – Video time. Here are the tight ends blocking:
As friend of the blog Noah Becker pointed out yesterday, distracting viewers with my finger in the bottom left of the screen has become my trademark. But I decided to do it the “right” way today.
11:41 – And here are the offensive linemen. Others have noticed this contraption before, but I just saw it for the first time today:
Offensive linemen fire off the ball to the second level, while coach Jeff Stoutland yells “low to high!” over and over again. Unless someone else has a better name, we’ll refer to this new contraption as the “cage” for now.
Update: As a couple commenters have pointed out, the cage is actually called the “chute” so I guess we have to go with that.
12:03 – A lot of special teams work. Alex Henery and Carey Spear both take turns on field goals. I wasn’t at a good angle to see which attempts went in, so I’ll let Kempski tell the story:
In the Murderleg vs Noodleleg competition, Alex Henery went 5/5 on FGs, while Murderleg went 4/5. Field goal distances varied from around 35-50 yards out. (I went behind the goal post to see if their kicks were good, which made it difficult to see the distance). Henery was also far better on kickoffs. Murderleg booted one kickoff out of bounds (bad penalty), and didn’t have as much distance as Noodleleg.
12:13 – Foles looks sharp during 7-on-7s, completing a deep out to Arrelious Benn in front of Cary Williams and then connecting with Zach Ertz in front of Earl Wolff. Mark Sanchez, meanwhile, loves him some Jordan Matthews. He goes to the rookie wide receiver on four consecutive passes with the second team.
I’m not sure we’ll know much about Jeremy Maclin until he gets into game action, but he’s certainly been sure-handed. I can only remember one drop in the practices we’ve watched.
Foles delivers the ball of the day. He fakes a handoff and rolls to his right. On the run, he delivers a beauty to Maclin down the right sideline. Williams has good coverage, but the throw is perfect.
12:20 – The person relaying hand signals from the sideline has come up with some new material this year. For one of the signals, he puts his hands down like he’s picking up a bucket, then drinks from a (fake cup) with his left hand while extending his right arm.
I know that previous paragraph sounds completely made up, but I swear it’s true.
12:35 – It’s hard not to zone out during some of the special-teams drills, so let’s just go with an interesting nugget here: Foles said yesterday that he sometimes loses between 4 and 5 pounds during a practice session.
12:43 – More 7-on-7 drills. Foles finds Brent Celek for a touchdown, and the veteran tight end spikes the ball. Celek played really well last year, but the poor guy couldn’t do his signature first-down signal because the Eagles always wanted to hurry up and spot the ball.
Foles later hits Darren Sproles for a score, and Barkley connects with Matthews.
12:54 – Sanchez finds James Casey for a score. His celebration of choice? Casey flexes, but holds the ball straight-up in his hand so it looks like a really, really big biceps.
1:10 – One more team drill to close out practice. Foles keeps the ball on a zone read and is “tackled” by Connor Barwin. He then hits Brad Smith for a big gain on a crosser, but the defense “stops” Chris Polk on third down and gets off the field.
Against Sanchez, the defense brings a big blitz and he throws the ball away. Brandon Boykin breaks up a pass near the sideline, and a dumpoff to Henry Josey is short of the sticks.
1:16 – Another Eagles practice in the books. The sessions are closed until next week when we get three more. After those, it’s a month-long wait until training camp.