The euphoria from draft weekend, and then the first-impressions weekend of the post-draft mini-camp, has now melted away. When rookies and selected veterans take the field for practice on Wednesday, the key word is "retention." How much have the new Eagles, the rookies, especially, kept in their brains from the mini-camp? How much of that foreign terminology is still stuck to their brains? Until the players, the rookies especially, master the Eagles' language, they have no chance to show off their natural skills enough to make a positive impact here.
What's ahead is this camp for selected veterans and rookies, and then after that, and then after that, is a chance for the coaches to see the players more in shorts and helmets running routes and carrying out assignments. Most of the work is done in the classroom and the X's and O's portion is all that matters. How much can the players learn in a short period of time?
I'm going to make this comparison, and please take it the right way: An NFL draft is like a marriage. It looks absolutely great the day of, and it usually looks even better the morning after. And every day after that, teams learn a little bit more about their young players and they either like what they know or they, well, they see the warts.
So far, the Eagles love the draft class and the new veterans. It's a great fit so far. The next couple of weeks, and then in the Organized Team Activities after that, mean a lot from the mental side of things. And make no mistake, it is often the mental battle that determines just how much a rookie -- or any player -- contributes.
"We feed them so much. We throw so much at them," said offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg. "The volume of information is tremendous. To see how quickly they learn, how they hold on to the information, is extremely important."
Let the learning process accelerate, then. The next couple of weeks are critical for the rookies.
* NEWS, NOTES AND THIS AND THAT *
- I read with amusement where some in the media are wondering how much our unofficial depth chart means. Well, I can tell you that it means absolutely nothing. Fact is, we put the depth chart up solely for the interest of the fans. What happens now is that there are some in the media who make something out of nothing and then the coaching staff wonders if it is worth the effort and sometimes the depth chart goes away. So I'm telling you this: Chris McPherson and I fill in the names on the depth chart. There is no consultation with coaches. There is no approval from the coaches. The names are in place only for the fans to spend some time drawing their own conclusions. Truth is, though, the depth chart is completely unofficial and for fun only. Amazing the world we live in, where reporters just make up so much stuff for the sole purpose of filling space. We're just trying to provide a service for the fans.
- Hey, great time over the weekend at the Eagles' Academy For Men. More than 400 men attended the sessions on Saturday and Sunday at NovaCare Complex and took part in classroom sessions with coaches Juan Castillo, Rory Segrest, James Urban and Jeff Nixon. The men ran through drills in the practice bubble, talked about the draft and really had a great, great time. It was the first Academy For Men and it most certainly won't be the last. Think about it next year as a gift to share with your father, your son or a good friend.
- Lito Sheppard? Are you kidding me?
- I walked into my deli on Saturday morning and a fellow at a table looked up and said, "Dave, are we going to get Anquan Boldin?" Huh? I understand that some fans only know what they read or what they hear, and I guess that's where the problem is. Why in the world are people still writing about Boldin? It is NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Never was, as I thought many months ago. The Cardinals weren't ever going to trade the guy. Eagles fans should enjoy this young, talented group of wide receivers here. It is as exciting and as talented a group as the Eagles have maybe ever had.
- *The Sporting News *ran a great piece in its current issue on Jeremy Maclin, following his draft weekend and coupling that with a story tracing his upbringing. It is a must read, and it really brings to light the kind of character young man the Eagles have drafted.
- Little anecdote for you that I've learned: The Eagles go to work out Cornelius Ingram before the draft and they don't take a football. They want to go work him out and see how he does in blocking drills. He impresses them, obviously, and they use a fifth-round pick on Ingram in April. Then he goes to the post-draft camp and wows the coaches with the improvement he makes in the same blocking drills. Clearly, Ingram had been working on his blocking. "I know how important that part of the game is," said Ingram. "I'm working all the time on my blocking, on everything." Very impressive.