Training Camp Notes: Faces In the Crowd

The Eagles will often have a former player serve as a coaching intern during training camp. This year that distinction belongs to Lito Sheppard, who wore a giant smile for most of the day as he roamed the NovaCare sidelines. These internships have led to gigs in the past. Duce Staley and Tra Thomas are two examples of former interns who parlayed that opportunity into a spot on the staff.

The national media was well represented at the Eagles’ first training camp practice. Peter King, Greg Bedard, Louis Riddick and Daniel Jeremiah were among those in attendance. They had some interesting observations.

How dare you, sir.

Those who are either witnessing a Chip Kelly practice for the first time or aren’t regularly exposed to them are typically taken back by the swiftness of pace and level of efficiency. I remember having the same reaction, but now it just feels normal. The pace has been taken up a notch this year. This spring, Kelly estimated that they were getting off an extra 10-12 snaps per practice.

No rookie jitters for Matthews

Nick Foles said that he was so excited the night before players were scheduled to report, he could’t sleep. It doesn’t sound like rookie Jordan Matthews had that problem.

“It’s business as usual, man,” he said after the team’s first training camp practice. “To be honest, I don’t like to make it any bigger than it is. At the end of the day, it’s just football. It’s no different than the childhood game we’ve been playing our whole lives. I know it’s on a bigger stage but at the same time, it’s the still the same 100 yards.”

Matthews worked with the likes Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green in between minicamp and training camp. He was asked if he felt any benefits of that experience on the field Friday.

“I think those results really are going to help me out when we get further along,” he replied. “The first day of camp, people put a lot of stock into it, but at the end of the day it’s about who can sustain and who can make it throughout the course of a training camp and the course of a season. That’s why I went to train with A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson: to learn about longevity and learn about being a professional over a long period of time.”

Matthews spent the majority of the practice working with the second team. Brad Smith got the bulk of the reps with the ones.

(Almost) all present and accounted for

Last summer, running back Matthew Tucker and punter Brad Wing failed their conditioning tests and were unable to participate to start camp. No such problems this season, Kelly said. The whole team was present with the exception of Keelan Johnson, who was excused to deal with his legal issues in Arizona.

“It’s a little bit more important than being at the first day of camp,” Kelly said. 

The only concern when it came to potential holdouts was Evan Mathis. The Pro Bowl guard showed, though, after thinking it over during the break. Kelly said he was never really concerned.

 “I talked to Evan all along.  He’s here and we’re ready to go.”