Philadelphia Eagles News

5 Things: Time To Put The Pads On

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Wake up and head down to Lincoln Financial Field for the first Open Practice of Training Camp. Gates open at 10 AM. More details can be found here. You don't want to miss it - or the rest of the 5 Things To Know for Tuesday, August 4. If you are, for whatever reason, unable to join us we will have complete coverage throughout the day beginning with head coach Chip Kelly's live press conference at 11:30 AM and a complete recap of the day's highlights on Inside Training Camp presented by Xfinity at 5 PM.

1. Time For Marcus Smith To Step Up

The Eagles announced on Monday evening that linebacker Travis Long re-tore the ACL in his left knee during practice earlier in the day. It's an absolute shame. This is the third ACL injury that Long has suffered. He initially injured his right ACL in November of his senior season at Washington State. After spending his rookie year on the practice squad, Long was set to make the 53-man roster last season before suffering an ACL injury in his left leg in the preseason finale. Once again, Long was competing not just for a roster spot, but playing time on defense. Now, all eyes are on 2014 first-round pick Marcus Smith. After playing just 68 snaps on defense as a rookie, Smith will be looked upon to be the top reserve behind starters Connor Barwin and Brandon Graham.

"To be honest, I think it was all mental," Smith said Monday, reflecting on his tough rookie season. "Everything. Because I can play. I can rush the passer. I can do all the things they need me to do. The mental state – you play around with yourself and you start asking yourself, 'Are you good enough to play in the NFL?' That's one thing; I had to revert to what I did in college. I feel like I'm a great player, I can rush and do all those things. So when I came back, I was ready."

2. Eagles Celebrate Alumni Day

No more excuses, Eagles fans. Tuesday marks the first opportunity to see the 2015 team up close and personal at Lincoln Financial Field during the Open Practice. Parking is free. Tickets are free. There are fun activities before and after practice for fans of all ages. The team takes the field at 11:45 AM.

In addition to the on-field action and fun and games off of it, the Eagles will honor their alumni as over 40 former players are scheduled to be in attendance.

Day two of Training Camp featured a press conference with Defensive Coordinator Bill Davis and several Eagles players. View the full gallery of today's action...

3. An Important Moment For DeMeco Ryans

The last time linebacker DeMeco Ryans donned pads was on November 2, 2014 in Houston where he spent the first six seasons of his NFL career. After netting an interception in the fourth quarter of the win over his former team, Ryans went down to the ground with a torn Achilles in his right leg. Ryans' season was over and a taxing rehab process was underway. He was fully healthy for the start of Training Camp. On Tuesday, Ryans will put on the pads for the first time since suffering the injury.

"I haven't put them on in a long time so there'll be a little uneasiness, but I think I need that to give myself that confidence in the foot again to know I'm ready to go," Ryans said.

Ryans has been a stalwart, the Mufasa, of the Eagles' defense in his first three seasons with the team. He posted 325 tackles between 2012 and '13 while playing 2,202 snaps. Last year, he finished with 65 tackles and still had 513 snaps despite playing in just the eight games.

Fans who attend today's Open Practice will be treated to among other things the first padded practice of this year's Training Camp.

"Obviously it's always different. When you're playing out here it's a much different game than when you throw the pads on," said guard John Moffitt, who hasn't been in pads since the 2013 season after being out of football last year. "Things speed up, the intensity goes up, blocks kind of retain their true form. But, I'm excited. I mean for me I look at it as it's a process of getting better every day, getting back to where I was and even going beyond there."

4. DeMarco Murray Preparing For The Long Haul

New running back DeMarco Murray was taking handoffs and catching passes out of the backfield on Monday one day after being limited in practice. Murray was asked afterward if the light workload on Sunday was the result of an injury and the 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year quickly took the question head-on.

"No, I'm fine. I'm fine," said Murray, who claimed it wasn't his decision. "That's how it goes some days."

The assumption is that Murray's extensive workload - he had 497 total touches including playoffs last season - will have a negative effect this year.

"You've got to be smart too in this Training Camp," said Murray, who has repeatedly stated that he is in the best shape of his life. "We've got a long season ahead. You've just got to, not taper it down, but you've got to get good work in instead of crazy work."

History shows the impact of high touch counts in future seasons, but remember that the Eagles plan to utilize a three-headed monster at running back with Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles.

5. No News Is Great For Sam Bradford

Following Monday's practice, quarterback Sam Bradford headed off the field looking no worse for wear after the training session. He once again took the majority of first-team snaps. Bradford tossed a number of beautiful passes including one down the seam to wide receiver Jordan Matthews. The fact that after his first full training session Sunday there were no issues with his twice-repaired left knee was the best news possible.

What's next for Bradford after clearing this important hurdle?

"The lingering questions are many," wrote Dave Spadaro in his On the Inside column. "How many Training Camp reps does Bradford need to get in his comfort zone? How much will head coach Chip Kelly use Bradford in the preseason games? How does the offensive scheme change with Bradford on the field? Would Bradford be mobile enough to run the read option? Would Kelly risk exposing Bradford to injury in that scenario?"

We will all get another peek at the progress later today at Lincoln Financial Field.

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