Taking a peek into the off-season conditioning program and the changes made by new strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin reveals a different energy, innovative exercises and a high number of players particpating. The weight room at the NovaCare Complex is bustling with action. Rubin's enthusiasm has players on their toes, pushing themselves and, hopefully, making a difference for the 2010 season.
A kid who clearly has attacked things early is defensive back Macho Harris. His body is different than it was last year. He has more muscle, more mass and is a high-level member of the program. Harris went at it hard last year, too. He clearly had added strength from the early part of the season to the end of his rookie campaign. This is the time of the year when a player like Harris -- any young player, in truth -- can take great strides physically in preparation.
Rubin's program emphasizes explosiveness. It involves machine lifting, free weights and twists like a rope swing that builds the upper body as the player stands on one of end the rope swinging as a coach is on the other end as the base. It is fun to watch as a player exhausts himself in a very short period of time.
Anyway, all is well with the team as it jumps in deep with Rubin's program. We'll see how the benefits pay off in the season. The Eagles had long been a team under Andy Reid that dominated the fourth quarter of games. Certainly, the team had some great come-from-behind moments in 2009. Maybe an improved conditioning team will help the Eagles get off to a faster start and a stronger finish this season.
- Had a good chat with defensive back Marlin Jackson, who has settled into being an Eagle pretty quickly. The biggest question with Jackson is, of course, his health. He says he is well ahead of schedule recovering from last year's knee injury and that he intends to make a difference this season in Sean McDermott's defense. Here is wishing Jackson luck. He is certainly glad to be here. He has made the transition quickly. He has the tools, when he is healthy to go.
- Free-agency count: The Eagles have added, potentially (and I know that is the key word here) a starting defensive end, a starting free safety, a key backup running back and a reserve wide receiver. If you had listed those additions prior to free agency, would you say at this point that the Eagles have been busy in free agency? Maybe those who have criticized the Eagles as being inactive in the off-season should take some time to examine what the team has really done and then compare it to the rest of the league. Too many people had free agency as a Julius Peppers-or-bust scenario. Not fair.
- Still accumulating opinions on defensive end Darryl Tapp, but I can tell you the Eagles are really, really excited about seeing how he fits into the scheme here. Good pass rusher, strong, plays hard and gets up the field fast. We'll see.
- Can you ever remember a time when there have been so many reports and a day later have had those reports dismissed as untruths? Writers and reporters around the country are rushing to post pieces on the Eagles and their trade intentions, but who knows what is fact and what is fiction?
- For those of you wondering, linebacker Stewart Bradley is doing great and could take part in some on-field activities when the team gets on the field for its post-draft mini-camp. Nothing official there, but Bradley had about as perfect a rehabilitation from his knee surgery as a player can have.