Is there ever a no-news day in the NFL? I hope not. I've got the itch, even as the number of players who are still hitting the gym at the NovaCare Complex on a daily basis slows to a trickle and the coaching staff is taking its well-deserved vacation prior to training camp. As usual, there are some things to talk about as they relate to the Eagles season ahead ...
**Item: Michael Boley Out 8-10 Weeks For Giants
Maybe the torn labrum in Boley's hip that was surgically repaired will be healed in time and he won't skip a beat playing the weakside linebacker position in New York's scheme. Maybe not. Certainly, losing Boley for at least most of training camp -- if not all of training camp and into the regular season -- alters the plans the Giants had to integrate Boley into that attacking defense right away.
Boley was a prized addition for the Giants in free agency. Speedy, a play-maker and an instinctive guy, Boley seemed to be the kind of player who maybe would give the Giants a better option when called on to cover quick running backs like Brian Westbrook in the passing game. But if Boley is out for eight weeks, he won't play until late August. Ten weeks takes him close to the start of the regular season. And a torn labrum in the hip? Sounds nasty for a player who has to open his hips and explode in space.
Look, it's not fair of me to minimize the injury impact of Westbrook, who I happen to believe will be back on the field long before the regular season begins and will be healthy for Carolina in September, and then to say the Giants are in serious trouble with the news of Boley's injury. Certainly, though, Boley's injury has to concern the Giants, who simply did not have a good solution at weak-side linebacker last year and who are counting on Boley to make a difference this season.
**Peppers Signs Contract Tender
Looking back, you have to wonder why Julius Peppers spent so much time this off-season requesting at trade from the Carolina Panthers. He just signed his franchise contract tender and is going to make more than $17 million this season. Peppers is coming off a terrific year during which he had 14 1/2 sacks and five forced fumbles and was a week-in, week-out force.
Peppers will be there on opening day. The Eagles have to account for him, as they must account for linebacker Jon Beason. Andy Reid had his offense take a look at the Carolina defense during the June Organized Team Activities in that final week.
We're going to learn about the Eagles' new-look offensive line right from the start of the season. Carolina has a good defense, a veteran defense and the Eagles are going to have to win the battle at the line of scrimmage. Simply put, the Eagles must come out of the gate quickly and play well offensively against a Panthers team that got off to a good start last year and never looked back.
**How Is Westbrook Doing?
It's all quiet, but behind the scenes the rehab continues after Westbrook's ankle surgery. We're not going to hear any updates, probably, until training camp begins. You know how quiet the Eagles are about injuries. Again, and this is just my hunch, Westbrook is going to be way fine for September. I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he is ready to play, even if it is just a little bit, in the preseason.
Knowing what kind of worker Westbrook is, knowing how driven head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder is to get Westbrook right, the two will have a smashing success of a recover period. I don't know a whole lot more than you know, but my sense says that Westbrook is going to be itching to play in early August.
**What Are The Coaches And Front Office Doing Now?
Most of the coaches are long gone on their vacation jaunts. Michael Zordich is in and out as he catches up to the training camp and regular season plan as the new defensive coaching intern, but for the most part the coaches are gone and relaxing. Eagles President Joe Banner has a few days of work ahead of him as he attends to the business details of the organization -- there is no news on the contract status of the two unsigned draft picks, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy -- and then Banner will go on vacation.
Most of the players are gone, too. Some of them will gather with quarterback Donovan McNabb in mid-July to throw the football around in Arizona, but for the most part they are working out on their own and staying in tip-top shape.
These are slow days, gang. I wish I had something more compelling to talk about. I'm just grateful for the few morsels out there, some topics to discuss and the understanding that training camp isn't all that far away.