Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

JaCorey Shepherd and Eric Rowe. (Photo by Jeff Fusco)

JaCorey Shepherd and Eric Rowe. (Photo by Jeff Fusco)

Here’s what we saw during today’s session.

12:23 – We’ve mentioned on multiple occasions how Eagles vice president of player personnel Ed Marynowitz quarterbacks certain drills during practice. Chip Kelly was asked about that today.

“Every person in this building that can contribute is out there contributing,” Kelly said. “You’ll see guys that are in the video room catching passes. You’ve got guys out there with referee shirts spotting the ball for us. So anybody that can help us and make us better in practice can do it, and I’ve seen Ed throw. Ed can throw. He actually throws a couple times when we’ve been out on Pro Days or college visits, and it helps Cory [Undlin] coach. Instead of Cory being the guy that throws the ball in those drills, he’s got someone like Ed that can throw it.”

12:39 – I was asked recently to compare Sam Bradford’s arm strength to a number of different quarterbacks. Based on what I saw of him on film in St. Louis and what I’ve seen in practice, here’s how I would rank it (assuming full health):

Bradford or Mark Sanchez? Bradford.

Bradford or Matt Barkley? Bradford.

Bradford or Tim Tebow? Bradford.

Bradford or Nick Foles? Bradford.

Bradford or Donovan McNabb? McNabb.

Bradford or Michael Vick? Vick.

I was also asked about Norm Van Brocklin, but didn’t feel like I could offer an educated answer to that one.

12:49 – Here’s a look at your new group of running backs. DeMarco Murray had just fallen when I started shooting, but you can see him get back up.

You can see he’s a physical specimen.

12:52 – A special teams update:

1:02 – Defensive linemen set up across from three blocking dummies. They move laterally, striking each one and then grab an exercise ball at the end. Their movements don’t look far off from what we saw last year when the Eagles shut down opposing teams’ stretch plays.

In case you missed it, Chip Kelly once again questioned Earl Wolff’s toughness/ability to play through pain earlier today. It’s been a rough go for Wolff since the Eagles drafted him in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, but Kelly’s words would bother me if I were a player.

During a teach period, Quintin Mikell is lined up as a wide receiver opposite Brandon Boykin. Mikell is in the house as a coaching intern.

1:17 – Marcus Smith II definitely did more today than he had been doing because of a groin injury. He’s even seeing some time with the ones during 11-on-11s in place of Connor Barwin.

This is a run/play-action period. Mychal Kendricks gets his hands on a Mark Sanchez pass over the middle, and Malcolm Jenkins comes down with the interception.

As we know by now, everyone rotates, but Brandon Boykin is getting some run on the outside with the ones. I don’t remember having seen that before.

You may want to sit down for this one. Riley Cooper beats Byron Maxwell badly on the deep post, and Sanchez hits him in stride with a pretty pass. Jordan Matthews goes over and pumps Cooper up like this was the Super Bowl. Matthews does that consistently with teammates. He’s constantly bringing energy to whatever he’s doing.

1:32 – Today’s suggestion: Instead of customized playlists, why don’t the Eagles just stream Boom 107.9 through the speakers? For those not in the Philadelphia area, Google it, and thank me later.

1:42 – During seven-on-sevens, Sam Bradford leads Matthews a little too far on a crosser. The wide receiver tries to tip the ball to himself, but collides hard with Kendricks. Both players were down briefly, but returned.

Sanchez looks for Seyi Ajirotutu on an out, but Eric Rowe jumps it and breaks up the pass. Rowe gets his hands on the football quite a bit. He seems to flash at least once a day.

Ajirotutu gets his revenge, beating Rowe on a deep post. Another pretty ball from Sanchez, who seems more willing to go downfield in practice than he was last year in games.

Nelson Agholor runs a deep out vs. Jaylen Watkins. He once again does a great job of attacking the football in the air, but coaches rule that he was juggling it as he went out of bounds.

1:54 – Matt Barkley gets into the mix. He throws a fade to Ajirotutu, who makes a nice catch. Later, Barkley delivers a strike to Jeff Maehl on an out in the end zone.

2:09 – Cooper stands out for the second time today, coming down with a pass from Sanchez on a comeback route in between Maxwell and Walter Thurmond. Sanchez then finds Zach Ertz in front of Jenkins.

Barkley goes to Matthew Tucker on an RB screen. That play was terrible for the Eagles down the stretch last year. They’ll need to get it going again in 2015. Remind me to write a feature on this in August.

2:19 – A player (possibly DL Frank Mays) accidentally makes contact with Tim Tebow while “rushing” the passer, and he hears it from Kelly. These are non-contact practices.

That’s a wrap for today and this week. We’ll be back on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week with more practice observations.