Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations
Here’s what we saw during the first practice session open to the media.
12:19 – There was no mention of the jerk store, but Chip Kelly did his best George Costanza impression at the end of today’s press conference.
Asked about Cowboys RB Joseph Randle saying that DeMarco Murray left yards on the field last year, Kelly said: “I think he said he left a lot of meat on the bone, so maybe that means he’s not a big eater. Thanks, guys.”
And with that, he jogged out to the field to conduct practice.
12:23 – While the rest of the team stretches, Sam Bradford is on the near field jogging. He’s got a brace on his left knee and looks tall with a skinny lower body. During practice, he does not participate in any team drills, so I can’t offer much of an opinion on how he looks. Kelly said Bradford should start participating in 7-on-7s next week.
12:27 – Practice is about eight minutes in, and defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro is already barking at his guys. Here’s some video:
If you ask me, this has been the best-coached unit on the team the past couple of years.
12:29 – Injury update: Bradford, Earl Wolff (knee) and Marcus Smith II (leg) are not participating fully in practice.
12:34 – By the way, this running diary almost never happened. Initially, the Eagles had all of these practices closed to the media. Luckily, Zach Berman of the Inquirer has memorized the entire NFL media rulebook, which stipulates that we have to be allowed to watch at least one of the sessions in its entirety, so here we are.
And there are a lot of us. Per Les Bowen of the Daily News, 105 reporters are in attendance to cover 90 players. We’ll find out if the Eagles are good, but they certainly are relevant.
12:49: New vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz is out here playing QB during defensive back drills (video below).
The Eagles need to get Marynowitz a practice jersey that reads #footballguy on the back.
12:51 – What’s the move with golf shirts/polos? Undershirt or no undershirt? I didn’t go with one today, and I just felt the first trickle of sweat down my back. It’s officially summer (and sorry for the visual).
12:54 – The logjam at linebacker is on full display, and there are no real hints about the pecking order. Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans are all running through drills with no limitations. I have a feeling we’re not going to really know how this situation will work itself out until September.
1:01 – Alonso has to relieve himself during practice and opts for the bushes along the fence on Broad Street rather than the Port-a-potty. This is the more efficient move and a good sign that the new guy is picking things up quickly and feeling comfortable.
1:16 – Our first look at a team period and some depth chart hints. A couple things to keep in mind here. One, it’s only May, and various guys are rotating in at different spots. Two, the practice is taking place on the far field, so it’s not easy to see everything.
But anyway, during this run/play-action session, the first-team defensive line is Fletcher Cox, Cedric Thornton and Bennie Logan. Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin are the starting outside linebackers. Kendricks and Alonso are on the inside.
In the secondary, Byron Maxwell and Nolan Carroll II are the starters. Kelly went out of his way to praise Carroll today. The safeties are Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Maragos. For the record, there is no chance Maragos starts once the regular season rolls around. But he’s a veteran who knows the defense and won’t screw up in drills.
Offensively, as mentioned above, Bradford is not participating in this portion. At receiver, it’s Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff and Riley Cooper. Matthews and Huff rotate in the slot, although I’d say Matthews saw more time on the inside.
On the offensive line, from left to right, it’s Jason Peters, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce, Matt Tobin and Lane Johnson. Kelce said afterwards that Barbre and Tobin are rotating on the left and right sides.
The second-team defense looks like Brandon Bair, Beau Allen and Vinny Curry up front. Brad Jones and Najee Goode are the inside linebackers. Bryan Braman and Travis Long are on the outside. At cornerback, it’s E.J. Biggers and Brandon Boykin. Walter Thurmond and Chris Prosinski are the safeties.
Thurmond is the name to watch. He’s officially made the switch to safety, and with the starting spot opposite Jenkins wide open, he’s got a chance to earn some playing time.
1:26: Marynowitz is now getting some time in with Jeffrey Lurie on the sideline. We can’t take pictures during this portion, and I’m not close enough to hear, but I’m guessing he is saying something like: “I gotta tell you, I always thought V.I. Warshawski was an underrated film. You did a helluva job on that, Mr. Lurie.”
1:29: During the special teams portion, I realize that I know fewer songs on the practice playlist than ever before. This may have something to do with the fact that I’ve listened to nothing but the Frozen soundtrack for the last two months.
1:38: During 7-on-7s, the defense is in nickel, and this time Kendricks and Ryans are the inside linebackers.
I think I deserve a little credit for getting this far without mentioning Tim Tebow. But he does not look good here. During this drill, I estimate he’s held on to the ball an average of 24.9 seconds per dropback. It’s really ugly.
Jenkins sticks with Matthews down the seam to force a Sanchez incompletion and lets the receier know about it afterwards.
1:50: Offensive line depth is an obvious concern, especially with Evan Mathis not currently in the fold. The second team today, from left to right, is Andrew Gardner, Dennis Kelly, David Molk, Julian Vandervelde and Kevin Graf.
I keep looking at No. 79 and thinking it’s Todd Herremans. That’s going to take some getting used to. Instead it’s undrafted rookie free agent Cole Manhart.
G.J. Kinne is now practicing as a wide receiver. JaCorey Shepherd strips him during this drill and forces a fumble.
2:07: That’s a wrap for today. We’ll be back Monday for another edition.