It has been a good first week, injuries to wide receivers
The offense looks terrific -- fast and precise and confident -- led by a very sharp
The offensive line looks far advanced from where it was last season, and new left tackle
On defense, well, the play has been relentless. That's a fair word to describe the approach. The front four is a front eight, and it gets after offensive blockers. I'm not sure I've seen more depth in talent.
I wish I could tell you more about the linebackers other than they look strong and a good "fit," but I don't know the ins and outs of the scheme. The back four look really good, and the group of cornerbacks led by
I'll take from an interview I had with Jackson on Monday the defining indication that the mood of the team is optimistic, aware that hard work is required and exceedingly purposeful.
It's a good question in light of the concept that teams always look to improve, always look to tinker with the roster. I'm sure that every position is in play for Howie Roseman and Andy Reid to improve, and every sensible observer understands that there are some spots still in question here.
As in ...
- Backup quarterback. I think
Mike Kafkahas had a really tremendous week. He's throwing the ball with a measurable improvement in zip and in accuracy. His deep ball doesn't even resemble the efforts from last season. Kafka has made great strides. Rookie Nick Foleshas had his ups and downs -- mostly ups -- and is making very nice progress. Trent Edwardsremains the fourth quarterback and he is trying to get his work in without getting many reps in practice.
- The safety spots are under scrutiny, and so far they've held up well. Both
Nate Allenand Kurt Colemanhave played good football. They've covered well and they've been physical. Oshiomogho Atogwelooks to still be getting his legs under him. Jaiquawn Jarrettis looking to string together a bunch of really good days. Colt Andersonhas yet to practice, but could be close as he rehabs his knee injury.
- The depth along the offensive line needs to be determined.
D.J. Jonesand Thomas Welchhave had good moments in practice and will battle with rookie Dennis Kellyfor the right to team up with King Dunlapas a backup tackle. Mike Gibsonand Steve Vallosappear to be asserting themselves as interior backups, along with Julian Vandervelde.
- At linebacker, I don't know how it's all going to shake out.
Brian Rolle, DeMeco Ryansand Mychal Kendricks, weak side to strong side, have the starting jobs in good standing. They've all had strong moments. Behind them, players like Jamar Chaneyand Casey Matthewshave flashed in camp and are vying for jobs. The Eagles figure to keep five or six linebackers on the 53-man roster.
There's more to look forward to, of course. For the moment, the Eagles can rest. They're likely to add a receiver on Tuesday to replace Cooper and Johnson on the practice field. Johnson almost certainly will be put on the shelf.
When the Eagles return on Wednesday, they'll go at it hard for about four days and taper back and prepare for the preseason opener against the Steelers.
Believe it, it's here. The preseason is right around the corner, and with it another test for the Eagles.
But, hey, all of the players are going to enjoy the day off. When Reid spoke to the team after Monday's practice and reminded them to take good care on Tuesday, they all cheered. It's time to catch the breath, and come back focused and ready for more. Training camp, off to a strong start, is just heating up with the preseason opener not too far in the distance.