Philadelphia Eagles News

Monday Practice Notes

After Sunday's brutal session which included two live periods, head coach Andy Reid didn't take back the reins too much for Monday afternoon's practice as he put the team throughout another physical practice that included one 25-play live session. Let's find out what transpired on the practice field.

Injury Update: The Eagles suffered another significant injury to a wide receiver on Monday during a 7-on-7 drill, when Ronald Johnson suffered a dislocated ankle on a non-contact play. It was a gruesome scene on the field as teammates came over to console the 23-year-old Johnson.

Johnson "is like a little brother to myself," DeSean Jackson said after practice. "I've been keeping him under my wings and things like that. It touches me in a very tough spot. I just pray for him and hopefully he'll get better. I can just hear him saying this year was going to be his year and things like that. He has a lot of upside and talent. It's an unfortunate situation. At any given time, things like that can happen. I just keep and pray that hopefully he has a speedy recovery."

"He's worked so hard to get to this point," echoed Jeremy Maclin. "He's one of those younger guys who's kind of stepped up and made some plays out here. It's just unfortunate. But you've got to tell him to keep his head up and continue to get better."

Johnson's injury comes on the heels of Riley Cooper's fractured collarbone during practice. The Eagles announced that Cooper underwent successful surgery Monday at Methodist Hospital to repair the injury. The procedure was performed by Dr. Gerald Williams of the Rothman Institute. Cooper is expected to be out around six weeks.

Defensive end Jason Babin also underwent an MRI on Monday which confirmed that he has a calf strain. There is no timetable for his return.

Wide Receiver vs. Defensive Back Drills

DeSean Jackson was used as a sort of proving ground for young players during the period. The drill began with Jackson opposite Curtis Marsh, who actually did a solid job running with Jackson before the receiver put on the brakes and turned for a Mike Kafka pass that was a bit behind; a win for Marsh. A few reps later, Jackson stutter-stepped a similar route before stopping on a dime, this time turning Marsh and creating an easy reception.

Later, Jackson went up against undrafted rookie Cliff Harris, who jammed Jackson really well at the line of scrimmage, but then held Jackson down the field for a would-be penalty. Later in the day, during the live session, Harris again drew the assignment of covering Jackson and he was able to defend a deep pass intended for the Pro Bowler, drawing plaudits from Jamar Chaney.

Both Kurt Coleman and Nate Allen got a rep defending LeSean McCoy as a receiver, and both acquitted themselves well. Allen forced an incompletion and Coleman provided tight coverage on a short route, only to have Michael Vick fire in a perfect pass right to McCoy's hands.

Chad Hall continues to fly under the radar with his perpetually solid play. Three more reps, three more receptions for Hall.

Oshiomogho Atogwe may not have the reputation of a burner, but he ran stride for stride downfield with Damaris Johnson on one particular rep.

Special Category: Two-Minute Drill

The goal here is to prepare both the offense and defense for two-minute drills in game situations. It was a "thud" drill, meaning there was no tackling involved, but everything else is played at full speed. With Jason Babin out for now, Brandon Graham took the first-team reps at left defensive end and made some noise throughout practice in that capacity.

On the first play of the drill, with the first-team offense facing off with the first-team defense, Michael Vick found Jeremy Maclin for a first down over the middle, but the offense would then stall after the defensive line forced continued pressure.

The second-team offense didn't fare too well either, with Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry both notching "sacks" of Mike Kafka. The second-team offense's best play came courtesy of a connection down the field from Kafka to tight end Brett Brackett, who continued to impress with Brent Celek still day-to-day with a mild knee sprain. Brackett has been working in with the one's as well, and has shown the ability to make plays downfield for both Kafka and Vick.

The third-team offense, however, was able to drive down the field and score a touchdown, thanks to a bomb down the right side of the field from Nick Foles to Mardy Gilyard, who was ruled out of bounds at the 1-yard-line. After an initial unsuccessful attempt, Bryce Brown punched in the score.

9-on-7 Inside Run Drill

After being featured at left defensive end for most of Sunday's practice, Cullen Jenkins got some work in at right defensive end. Trent Cole went to the left defensive end spot on those reps. Jenkins has played defensive end in a 4-3 in his career with the Green Bay Packers. A rookie free agent signing of the Packers in 2003, Jenkins was taught early on to learn as many positions as possible.

"It's my whole career. I've just been moved around I was told early in my career, the more you can do, the more valuable you are," Jenkins said. "I have never shied away from what coaches have asked me to do. Any way that I can contribute on the defense or to the team, I'll try to help out."

One of the leaders on the defense, Jenkins was not afraid to vocally challenge the offense and their coaches during the drill. The drill was designed to work on inside runs and on a number of reps, the interior was clogged and the back would bounce out to the inside. The fans went crazy because it looked like the running back won, but as Jenkins' teammates on defense would note there weren't any defensive backs on the outside.

Later in the Team Drill, Jenkins would engage in a little smack talk back-and-forth across the field with offensive tackle King Dunlap.

"It creates a competitive atmosphere. I'm a real competitive person. It brings out camaraderie between the offense and the defense. I think it's good," Jenkins said. "I think it's a good thing to have going into games. You have to know you're behind your group and your group is behind you."

Defensive tackle Cedric Thornton continued an impressive showing early in Training Camp as he and defensive end Brandon Graham got penetration to wrap up Dion Lewis in the backfield.

Sixth-round pick guard Brandon Washington made a nice seal block of linebacker Moise Fokou to help free running back Chris Polk on the final rep of the drill.

7-on-7 Drill

Tight end Clay Harbor has put in a lot of detailed work trying to improve his hands. It was a point of emphasis throughout the spring. Here at Lehigh, Harbor has spent time after every practice working on his hands by catching extra passes. Well, it paid off on the first rep of the 7-on-7 as he caught a nice pass from Michael Vick against linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

Tight end Brett Brackett, a former wide receiver in college, caught a nice ball against linebacker DeMeco Ryans.

Wide receiver Ronald Johnson dislocated his left ankle after he planted his foot in the ground to make a cut towards a pass. It was apparent right away that his leg did not bend in the proper direction. Credit the Eagles' athletic training staff for quickly covering the injury so Johnson could not see it as well as getting an aircast on it before taking him off by cart. Head coach Andy Reid and a number of teammates came over to offer Johnson support. The fans in attendance gave Johnson an ovation as the cart came on the field. As Johnson was taken away, DeSean Jackson pounded his chest with his fist and saluted him. Johnson responded with a salute of his own.

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been praised in camp for his recovery speed, but he can stay in a receiver's hip pocket off the line of scrimmage. Quarterback Michael Vick tried to thread a ball to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin along the right sideline, but there was no room as Rodgers-Cromartie was all over the ball.

The Eagles are going to use their cornerbacks in bump-and-run situations more frequently this season. Rodgers-Cromartie explained why it will aid the cornerbacks.

"I think it's because we're long, long-armed and quick and have good feet," Rodgers-Cromartie said. "With the D-line getting off that rush, if you can bump or touch a guy, because this is a timing offense, it messes up their offense."

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks initially read that quarterback Michael Vick wanted to get to wide receiver Jason Avant off the snap. However, Kendricks drifted enough away where Vick was able to thread the ball to Avant for the reception.

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks did respond as he and linebacker Jamar Chaney took away running back Dion Lewis on a check-down option and forced the quarterback to eat the ball.

Wide receiver Jamel Hamler caught a beautiful pass deep from quarterback Mike Kafka right along the sideline. Cornerback Curtis Marsh had tight coverage all the way down, but he likely would have been called pass interference. Hamler has really emerged over the last two days.

Offensive Line vs. Defensive Line Drills

Mike Patterson made his way over to the drill after his own personal workout session to watch and cheer on his teammates. Patterson then stuck around for the rest of practice.

Brandon Graham was particularly impressive, using a nice power move on Todd Herremans to push the offensive lineman back and later swimming directly past Dennis Kelly.

Cullen Jenkins used a veteran double swim move on center Dallas Reynolds to sideswipe the center and get to the "quarterback" easily.

It was a good period for Fletcher Cox, who has come on over the past two days. Cox did a nice job on back-to-back reps against Danny Watkins.

In a portend of what was to come during the live team session, Julian Vandervelde worked at center and held his own.

Mike Gibson, who has worked exclusively at guard thus far, shut down a couple defensive tackles, notably Ollie Ogbu.

Live Hitting: Third And Long

Mike Kafka may not seem like the most athletic quarterback compared to his position-mate Michael Vick, but he was the third-leading rushing quarterback in Northwestern history. Kafka showed off some rushing ability during the live drill, scrambling for a good-sized run and a first down against the first-team defense.

The first play of the drill, with the first-team offense working against the second-team defense, resulted in a first down by Maclin when Vick hit the receiver on a slant after Maclin got inside on Curtis Marsh.

Phillip Hunt blew up an intended screen to LeSean McCoy by pressuring Vick right off the bat.

Brett Brackett got a few snaps with the ones, and caught a pass of about 20 yards for a first down working against Akeem Jordan and the second-team nickel defense.

While Joselio Hanson has remained the first-team nickel corner throughout Training Camp thus far, there's also a defensive package with Nnamdi Asomugha working inside and Curtis Marsh on the outside. On a couple plays during the live session, Asomugha was lined up inside, but not to cover a wide receiver, rather to blanket Brackett, the tight end.

The highlight of the drill, and probably practice, came when DeSean Jackson and Brandon Hughes came to blows after Brandon Boykin made a sterling play to defend a pass intended for Jason Avant. Jackson had juked Hughes for extra yardage a few plays earlier, but neither would say after practice what led to the commotion.

"It was an incident, we had gotten into it," said Jackson. "It just happened (that) we threw a couple blows. It's a part of football and a part of training camp, honestly. You can't do that during the regular season, during real games, but I get on the field, intense like that, heat, tired, holding on. It's a part of the game."

There have now been three intra-team scuffles over the past two days.

"That's what training camp is for," said Maclin, Jackson's position mate. "Obviously everybody's out here competing. It's hot, so tempers are going to flare sometimes. You don't want it happening too much, but a scuffle here and there, I think is a good thing."

Meanwhile, Dion Lewis continued to make a name for himself in the screen game, as he's done since hitting began on Saturday. Despite his diminutive 5-8 frame, Lewis has not only shown an aptitude at beating players in the open field, but also in absorbing hits and continuing to churn forward.

Finally, Foles capped a solid day with an impressive 20-yard-plus pass to Tiger Jones down the middle of the field.

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