The most noteworthy aspect of this morning's practice on the field was the introduction of Akeem Jordan as the first-team strongside linebacker, in place of Moise Fokou, who was the projected starter coming into training camp.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott downplayed the move and said that he's simply promoting competition. Fokou has not been demoted, nor has Jordan become the starter. Rather, McDermott emphasized that he will continue to tinker with the defense in order to get the best 11 players on the field together.
Both players took the switch in stride and reiterated the competitive nature of training camp.
"It's competition," Jordan said. "You never know what the next day entails, so you just have to go out there and ball."
Jordan started last season at both the weakside and middle linebacker positions, so he has already proven his versatility. He said there's not much of a difference between the weakside and strongside spots, other than the run fits.
"The more you know, the better off you are," he said. If you're versatile, "you can go into any position. Especially if you're next in line, you can go anywhere."
For his part, Fokou said it's a good thing that he hasn't been handed anything as a second-year player.
"It keeps you motivated. It never lets you get settled or complacent," he said. "You want to be the starter, but at the same time, in my heart I feel like I'm the better one. So therefore, I go out thr and try to compete as hard as I can and try to put it on the coaches to make the decision.
The positive offshoot to working with the second team for Fokou was that he got to face off with the No. 1 offense during the live periods. On one play, he blanketed tight end Brent Celek and brought him down immediately when Kevin Kolb tossed a pass to him in the right flat for a 2-yard gain. Covering tight ends is an important aspect of the SAM position, of course, so Fokou relished the chance to work against Celek.
"Kolb thought he could squeeze it in there and give it to Celek, but Celek underestimated my speed a little bit," Fokou said. "It's football, man. It's something we love to do. Whether you're first team or second team, you're going to give it your all every play, so that really doesn't bother me right now. When it comes down to making the team and stuff, that's when it should bother you. But for right now, we're out there competing with each other, trying to get the best 53-man roster we can right now."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 12:46 p.m., August 1