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Practice Report: August 12

Posted Aug 12, 2013

The Eagles returned to the NovaCare Complex on Monday after a fun and thrilling practice at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

Injury Report

In all, 10 Eagles did not take part in Monday's practice. We've got the full recap here.

Offensive Line Continues To Mix And Match

With Danny Watkins sidelined by a concussion and Lane Johnson on his way back to Philadelphia after the birth of his first child, veteran Matt Tennant worked with the first-team offense at right guard. Todd Herremans practiced at right tackle.

Tennant has had an impressive Training Camp thus far as he fights for a job as a backup interior offensive lineman. Monday’s trade of Nate Menkin only serves as confidence in the likes of Tennant, Dallas Reynolds and Julian Vandervelde. Reynolds and Vandervelde, meanwhile, switched back and forth between center and left guard as both played with the second- and third-team offenses (Vandervelde was at center with the two’s, Reynolds with the three’s). Of the three, Vandervelde is the only one without significant NFL experience at center as the former fifth-round pick continues to learn the position.

For completion’s sake, the full second-team offensive line on Monday was: from left to right: Matt Tobin, Reynolds, Vandervelde, Menkin and Matt Kopa.

Changes To The Defense

The first thing that stood out at Monday's practice was the personnel changes on the defensive side of the ball. Third-round draft pick Bennie Logan played with the first team at the nose tackle position. He was flanked by Fletcher Cox on one side and a rotation of Cedric Thornton/Isaac Sopoaga on the other. After practice, defensive coordinator Bill Davis said that the coaches want to see how Logan would fair against tougher competition.

"Part of the reason you put them in at first team and move guys up is so they go against their best," Davis said. "You see if your young guy, OK, he's whipping up on maybe somebody's third or second, how can he do against a starter like he'll be asked to do for 16 weeks during the season? So as we go and we see guys earn that spot, they'll get opportunities to go against the other team's ones in game-type situations in the preseason so we can better evaluate them."

Another change was in the secondary, where fifth-round draft pick Earl Wolff took reps with the first team alongside Patrick Chung. Davis said the reasoning behind the move was simple - it was Wolff's turn in the rotation.

"(On Monday) Earl was at the top of the rotation," Davis said. "Tomorrow he will not be, and it has nothing to do with somebody beating out somebody yet. ... There have been no changes made because of the game. The changes are a work of the practice schedule in the rotation. ... As we're getting closer to the season, I'm looking at different combinations of safeties and how they interact with each other. So that is not a demotion for Nate (Allen), it's just the way that the rotation is for now. As we continue to move forward, we'll continue to evaluate and the starters are not in place at all."

What You Missed On The Field

With Bryce Brown still out of practice, Chris Polk saw the majority of the second-team action. He also lined up in the same backfield with LeSean McCoy on multiple plays and even made a nice one-handed catch as he fell to the ground.

Jake Knott had a very strong preseason debut for the Eagles on Friday night. The undrafted rookie out of Iowa State recorded four total tackles, a half-sack, two hits on the quarterback and a pass deflection against the Patriots. On Monday, Knott had another strong outing. On one particular play, he got his hand on a Matt Barkley pass and deflected it up in the air.

LeSean McCoy as a punt returner? Don't expect to see that any time soon. McCoy field three or four punts in practice, but from the looks of it, he was just doing it for fun. He could be seen laughing with Chip Kelly after his final rep.

For the second straight day, Clay Harbor ran with the wide receivers. Harbor certainly has the versatility to be spread out as a receiver, but don't expect the change to be permanent. Chip Kelly had said that the Eagles were in need of more bodies at the position, and Harbor was filling that role. With the acquisition of Jeff Maehl from the Houston Texans, Harbor may be moved back to tight end sooner rather than later.

The Eagles amped up the physicality of practice on Monday, as the team was back in full pads for the first time since the Patriots came into the NovaCare Complex last Tuesday. Although, they still did not tackle to the ground, the pads were popping as players collided. The defensive players focused on wrapping up the ball carrier. Davis said that the drills were not a result of Friday night's performance.

"We have been working on tackling since day one, and as the pads came on," Davis told the media. "Now the Patriots practices stopped those tackling drills from happening in those periods. But we have a pattern of those live tackle periods, and this one was going to happen no matter what happened in the game. If we made every tackle, we were still going to do these tackle drills."

-- Bo Wulf, Dan Klausner and Alex Smith contributed to this report.

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