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News, Notes And Things I Think

Posted Jun 11, 2014

Not reading too much into practices where the players have no pads, there is no contact and most are learning as they go ...

Not reading too much into practices where the players have no pads, there is no contact and most are learning as they go ...

  • I love Chip Kelly's message of his training sessions: It's all about trying to get three snaps of the football in a minute of time and giving his players as many reps as possible so that they can then go into the meeting room and review. It's all about learning right now, not depth-chart positioning. "If anybody is trying to make anything of who is playing what or how many reps, all we are trying to do is see if we can get three reps a minute as fast as we can go, get it on tape and coach off of that," he said. "So there's nothing to read into who is where, what, whatever, because we're not playing a game until September. We are just trying to get as many plays as we can possibly get. So I would not read anything into who is where or what." Of course, that won't stop the reporters who cover the team, and the fans who love the team, from speculating. It's all part of the fun ...

  • Safety/special teamer Chris Maragos is going to be a fan favorite. Eagles fans are going to love this guy, and not just because he has a special kind of hairstyle. He's a Philly kind of guy: scrappy, hungry and taking nothing for granted. He is going to add some major energy to the special teams group in all four phases of the game.

  • Not talking about depth chart or who is playing where, and instead I focus on the offense as a whole when practice is open for reporters and the unit looks tight. Very fast. Quarterback Nick Foles has a great command of the scheme and where to go with the football and the presence of Darren Sproles adds an entirely new dimension. What changes will fans see in the offense? Well, just guessing here, but the formations are going to largely be the same, but there are going to be more variables in the pass routes and the options. Foles has really looked sharp, and he remains as unflappable a young man as I've seen in these halls for many, many years.

  • First-round draft pick Marcus Smith is first learning the outside linebacker spot currently manned by Connor Barwin, which the Eagles call the "jack" position. It doesn't mean Smith will stay there forever, but it's a beginning point for the rookie. The Eagles want the linebackers to know both spots. At the moment, the team thinks Trent Cole and Brandon Graham will provide the pass-rush punch the defense needs so much.

  • Alex Henery has kicked very well this spring and wants to work on his consistency from last year. He knows what's going on, and he knows he has to be better. Henery says he is aiming for consistency from "55 (yards) and in" and that with the closing of the corners at Lincoln Financial Field, the always-present wind patterns might change. On kickoffs, Henery is working on avoiding what he calls "the pop-up ball" that cost him some yardage last season. It's all about technique, says Henery, who says the "pop-up" ball happens when he hits the kick too low and the ball has too much backspin and the distance suffers.

  • Some offensive linemen I want to see when the pads go on: Matt Tobin, who looks the part in this OTAs, Kevin Graf, a rookie from USC, and David Molk, who could be a mauler as an interior lineman.

  • Bennie Logan is up to about 317 pounds and looks beastly. He's got the heft to anchor inside at nose tackle, and with a year of development he's got a chance to make this young defensive front even better than it was a year ago.

  • It's interesting to read the quick conclusions some make after watching one or two practices. Some reporters have been critical of the performance from quarterback Mark Sanchez in the few times they have seen him, as if Sanchez is expected to be pinpoint in a new system working with receivers he's just now getting to know, many of whom, by the way, don't yet know where they are supposed to be on the field. Sanchez will be a strong backup here. He's got the moxie and he knows how to win and he's a smart guy who is working hard. Everyone I've talked to thinks the world of quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave, who will work to get the most from Sanchez and all of the quarterbacks.

  • Here is a receiver nobody talks about, but one who could make a jump in the summer: B.J. Cunningham. He's got size and he knows the scheme and in the times I've seen him at practice he has caught everything thrown his way. Wouldn't shock me to see him make a real run at a spot on the 53-man roster.

  • I just love the talent the Eagles have accumulated at running back. And I'm not talking just about LeSean McCoy and Sproles and Chris Polk. I want to see how Matthew Tucker and David Fluellen and Henry Josey look when the pads go on. This group has a lot of variety and the production each has had at their respective levels of play is, of course, impressive. Good, strong group with enough youth to be extremely intriguing. The Eagles have been, in the course of the last couple of decades, quite a running back factory. Look it up if you don't believe me ...

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