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Some Things I Think I Know

Posted Jul 12, 2011

The countdown is here. I feel it. The work stoppage is nearly over and the NFL season, circa 2011, is about to begin. Here are some thoughts in the calm before the storm ...

  • Brandon Graham told reporters that he hopes to practice in September, which is good news and optimistic and all of that. My immediate reaction is that Graham will spend the season on Injured Reserve, or at least the first six weeks of the year on the Physically Unable To Perform list, if those rules still exist under the new collective bargaining agreement. I don't want the Eagles to rush Graham back into action, and I'm sure they won't. The Eagles have a bunch of young, promising defensive ends who Jim Washburn is going to enjoy working with. I'm excited to see Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Ricky Sapp and see how far along they've come. I want to see Victor Abiamiri stay healthy. I'm not discounting the need to add another end -- I'm open to just about anything in the month to come -- but the Eagles have some talent here on the roster.
  • My definition, to piggyback on an earlier column when I asked what would make "a splash" of an offseason for the Eagles, is this: Add two starters to the defense and figure out what to do with quarterback Kevin Kolb. Add a couple of pieces for depth -- maybe one for the offense and one for special teams. Get answers with all of these pending free agents, specifically David Akers, Stewart Bradley and Quintin Mikell. There aren't a lot of "name" unrestricted free agents out there. Get good players. Don't get bogged down in "names."
  • Still no official word on training camp. My belief is that head coach Andy Reid wants to get his players to Lehigh University, even if it is for a truncated camp. So, my expectation is that, if the CBA is done within a reasonable time frame and teams can start going to camp in that final week of July, the Eagles will go until the day before they play at Pittsburgh. That means, based on my experience, camp would last until August 17. Just my guess, though. I hope to see you there!
  • For those of you who have stayed tuned in for four months of no news -- other than the draft -- I thank you and admire you. For those of you jumping back in, welcome back. It's been a long, long offseason. I'm exhausted by the lack of action and by filling up this space with a lot of nothing for so long. I appreciate that you are here with me.
  • Speaking of Washburn, I want to see what his system does for all of the players. I expect a lot of improvement. The guy does great things with his players. Brodrick Bunkley, in particular, is somebody who should get up the field a lot more and make more plays in the offense's backfield. He has a big, big season ahead. A crossroads year, if you will.
  • The whispers out there are that the training camp rosters will be increased, which I think is great. Again, though, why not increase the roster a couple of players for the regular season? How can teams evaluate rookies with so little practice time and so few reps in preseason games? The late-round picks are going to have a tough time making a positive impression.
  • Something not many talk about: Will there be two-a-day practices in training camp? Reid usually eases up on players in terms of full pads, and he may have no choice under the rules of the new CBA. I just have a hard time believing the football will be as crisp through the first month of the season as it usually is after a full, normal offseason of practices, meetings and study sessions. We could see a lot of blown coverages throughout the league.
  • Finally, a word of congratulations to former Eagles Bill Bergey and Wilbert Montgomery on their selection into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. Interviews on the way, and a story is coming. Congrats to a pair of former Eagles greats, a terrific gentlemen to boot.

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