Running Diary: Eagles Practice Observations

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Here’s what we saw during Tuesday’s minicamp practice.

11:22 – Before we get started, a few final thoughts on the Evan Mathis situation. Chip Kelly said Tuesday that Mathis’ camp asked for a release, and so the team gave him what he wanted.

Put quite simply, that request isn’t (or shouldn’t be) really relevant. Mathis was under contract. He was unhappy last year, but still showed up to all mandatory practices, rehabbed a midseason injury and played his butt off. Mathis says he was basically prepared to do the same thing again this year.

The Eagles had leverage. I’m not sure it’s realistic to expect all 53 guys to be happy with their contracts every offseason. And it’s certainly dangerous to give in every time a player asks for his release because he’s unhappy with his deal.

Maybe the coaches know something about the backups that most of us don’t, and the offensive line will be fine.

Or maybe the team will come to regret saying goodbye to a quality starting guard when one of the big goals for 2015 is to rely on the run game and keep Sam Bradford upright.

11:34 – Here’s some video of the defensive linemen and outside linebackers.

This was the most spirited group of players today. At the end of one rep, Vinny Curry yelled to no one in particular, “Get your hands off me!” before chucking an exercise ball into the air and then heading it like a soccer player. Lots of chatter from Cedric Thornton and Brandon Bair too.

The teaching point from Jerry Azzinaro during this drill is to stay locked with the blocker until the last second. In other words, when two-gapping, you don’t want to commit to one side before you have to.

11:47 – I’m pretty sure the Eagles playlist only features Drake’s Tuesday during Tuesday practices, which is clearly the type of attention to detail that matters to winning organizations.

12:04 – Bradford is participating in 7-on-7s, but not 11-on-11s.

A couple random Tweets worth mentioning:

12:13 – If you’re wondering about what the offensive line looks like without Mathis, it’s Allen Barbre at left guard and Andrew Gardner at right guard. Others who have rotated in at previous practices: Matt Tobin and Dennis Kelly.

It sounds like those four will battle it out for the two starting spots, although Barbre appears to have a leg up on the competition.

12:34 – Good stretch during 7-on-7s for Bradford, who completes four in a row. They were all underneath, but he got rid of the ball quickly and was on-target with his throws.

I really thought Jordan Matthews was going to see more reps on the outside, but he’s been mostly in the slot during the practices we’ve watched. Riley Cooper and Josh Huff have been on the outside.

In the “I wouldn’t read anything into this” category, Brandon Boykin and Jerome Couplin lined up with the first team for most of practice.

During his second set of reps, Bradford looks for Zach Ertz over the middle, but Mychal Kendricks jumps in front and nearly comes down with an interception. Bradford then looks for Brent Celek down the left sideline, but underthrows him, and Couplin breaks up the pass.

I notice Ed Reynolds for the first time this spring, as he breaks up a Mark Sanchez pass over the middle intended for Jeff Maehl.

The second-team offensive line today from left to right is Dennis Kelly, Julian VanderveldeDavid Molk, Tobin and Kevin Graf.

12:47 – In case you’re wondering, yes the zone read is still a part of the offense. Bradford said that’s been one of the more challenging aspects he’s had to pick up.

It could be my imagination, but it seems like the offense uses it more when Tim Tebow’s on the field.

1:01 – Catch of the day goes to Huff, who makes a diving grab over the middle from Sanchez.

Sanchez then delivers a nice ball to Ertz, who has Malcolm Jenkins on his back but still comes down with the grab. Later during the period, Matthews makes a leaping grab near the sideline on a deep out from Sanchez.

1:11 – The music stops abruptly, and practice is over. Two more days this week, and then it’s summer break for the players before training camp starts Aug. 2.