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Mychal Kendricks

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Eagles Wake-Up Call: Kendricks, Boykin To Get Tested

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal KendricksWhat better way to test drive a couple of your rookies than to put them up against the best the NFL has to offer in an exhibition setting?

That will be the case for Mychal Kendricks and Brandon Boykin, who get to see how they stack up against the league’s elite Monday in New England.

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Eagles Training Camp Winners And Losers

Philadelphia Eagles running back Dion Lewis.Now that training camp has moved from Lehigh to South Philly, it’s time to look back on which Eagles helped themselves and hurt themselves in the last three weeks.

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Vegas Puts Vick Among Elite

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael VickYou won’t hear many conversations where Michael Vick is mentioned in the same breath as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and Tom Brady. According to Vegas, though, Vick is among the favorites to win the MVP award in 2012.

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Practice Observations: Eagles’ Red-Zone Struggles

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy MaclinJeremy Maclin lined up to Michael Vick’s left at the 10-yard-line.

He ran a slant to the 5-yard-line, stopped, changed direction and headed to the back left corner of the end zone. Vick let go of the ball, Maclin made the catch and kept his feet in-bounds for the touchdown.

But wide receivers coach David Culley saw something he didn’t like. He wanted Maclin to make sure he sold the slant with his final steps inside. Maclin did it again later, and this time, Culley approved.

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Linebacker Watch: Mychal Kendricks

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal KendricksTo date, Mychal Kendricks’ transition to the pros has been about as smooth as you can ask for. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year out of Cal was plucked by the Eagles with the 46th overall pick in April’s draft, and immediately plugged in as the starting strongside linebacker. He stood out above all others at rookie camp, and kept that positive momentum rolling into the OTA’s and eventually training camp.

He looks comfortable, and it was no different Thursday night during his first taste of NFL action.

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LB Review: Eagles Rookie Kendricks Shows Flashes

Philadelphia Eagles LB Mychal KendricksHere’s my player-by-player look at the Eagles linebackers after having re-watched their game against the Steelers.

If you were expecting Mychal Kendricks to look like a Pro Bowler in his first game action in the NFL, you were disappointed. If you wanted to see him show flashes of the player the Birds hope he eventually becomes, well, you got that.

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Instant Observations: Eagles vs. Steelers

From Jaiquawn Jarrett’s struggles to Nick Foles’ arm, here are instant observations from Thursday night’s Eagles-Steelers preseason game.

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Castillo: CB Cliff Harris Still Learning

Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan CastilloOne of the Eagles’ undrafted free agents who has a chance to make the team is cornerback Cliff Harris.

But since an NCAA rule prohibited Harris (Oregon) from participating in spring practices, he’s still playing catch-up.

“Cliff is a competitor,” defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said today. “He is still learning our system. The hard thing is that when you miss those OTAs, it’s hard, so he is just trying to get a complete understanding [of the defense]. In the classroom, he understands the scheme, but when it is going fast, I think that is the part in time he will get better and better at.”

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Eagles Practice Observations

On one of the first plays today, Nnamdi Asomugha lined up inside against backup tight end Chase Ford. Last year, playing Asmougha inside was simple because the Eagles had Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the outside. But Samuel’s gone, and the new wrinkle today was that Curtis Marsh lined up outside at right cornerback.

Marsh, a third-round pick in 2011, played only 13 defensive snaps as a rookie. But with Samuel gone, he’s looking to fill a bigger role in his second season.

“We rotate. We have different guys that do different things well. It’s by gameplan,” Marsh said.

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Eagles practice observations

Here are some practice observations from the first two days of training camp with rookies and selected veterans.

One guy who’s stuck out the last two days is rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks. Kendricks tested out extremely well in just about every category at the combine, but he had an impressive college resume too, earning Pac-12 Player of the Year honors last season. We’ll have to wait and reserve judgement to see how he holds up against the run, but he looks to have good cover skills. Yesterday, he made a nice play on the ball while matched up against tight end Chase Ford. And he was step-for-step with fullback Stanley Havili down the sideline, forcing an incompletion out of bounds.

Earlier today, I wrote about Kendricks’ height, but in the afternoon, he leaped at the line of scrimmage and batted down a Mike Kafka screen pass. Obviously still a long way to go, but Kendricks looks good so far.

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Caldwell: Matthews has confidence back

As I mentioned in a previous post, linebacker Casey Matthews had a bizarre rookie season, beginning the season as a starter, getting benched and then eventually finding a role in the nickel package.

In the final four games, he played about 61 percent of the team’s defensive snaps. And according to linebackers coach Mike Caldwell, that’s when Matthews got his confidence back.

“The thing about Casey was he never sulked about it,” Caldwell said. “He understood, he continued to work hard and that hard work paid off. He played well on special teams, then he ended up getting his role in the third-down package, and he did a good job in that package, so now that confidence is back and he can build on that coming in this year.”

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Eagles training camp preview: Linebackers

DeMeco Ryans arrives with high expectations after the Eagles have continually failed in recent years to find an adequate middle linebacker. Barring injury, he is a lock to start in the middle when the Eagles open the season against the Browns. But can he be good enough in coverage to stay on the field for all three downs?

The Eagles were in nickel about 46 percent of the time last year, according to Football Outsiders (you’re going to see me cite that stat quite a bit). In Houston, Ryans earned the reputation of being a great leader and a great teammate. But it’ll be hard to lead if he’s replaced in sub packages and on the sidelines nearly half the time.