This isn't the NFL of the old days, that's for sure. Now, part of this is making up for lost time as coaches work technique with players that they didn't work during the work stoppage. And part of it is the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that reduces practices and restricts two-a-day workouts.
So the morning practice, all two hours of it, was spent mostly on players learning in groups. They had group installs, of course, where players walk through the X's and O's they are expected to learn on a daily basis. There was some conditioning work as well.
Not every morning practice will be like this. We are in the early stages of training camp after the long layoff and the coaches are taking the right approach as they hammer home the fundamentals and work on the teaching aspect of the job.
Part of our attention is on the field, wading through all of these new faces on the roster. The other part is on what is going on off the field. Let's update you there …
- First-round draft pick Danny Watkins remains unsigned, but I have a sense that he will be in here very soon. No. 1 picks around the league are starting to get their deals done. Watkins is missing valuable learning time.
- It's fair to be a little bit concerned about the offensive line, but we seem to go through this every year. Who is the right tackle? Winston Justice is on the Physically Unable to Perform list and there is no telling when he will get on the practice field. Is King Dunlap the guy to play right tackle? I think, if it gets into an emergency situation, the Eagles might consider moving Todd Herremans to right tackle and starting Mike McGlynn at left guard with Watkins – when he gets here – at right guard. Just a guess. Or maybe they are looking around for some help, just in case. You can never have enough good offensive linemen.
- The latest on quarterback Vince Young? The Eagles can't talk about it until the free-agency period begins at 6 p.m. That's when head coach Andy Reid and general manager Howie Roseman hold a press conference. Should be a can't-miss event. We will carry it live, of course, on PhiladelphiaEagles.com
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is expected to camp late in the afternoon and he is expected to practice on Saturday. Can't wait to see what the Eagles do with his game. He is a tremendous talent, a great athlete and he is a big-play cornerback. With Jim Washburn creating pressure up front, Rodgers-Cromartie and Asante Samuel should have a lot of chances to make plays.
- Still no sign of wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
- Ditto for Samuel and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who are excused for personal reasons.
- I like what I've seen, and this is a very brief sampling, from cornerback Trevard Lindley. He is going to push for playing time.
- How many defensive ends will the Eagles keep? Jason Babin has openly talked of joining the Eagles, but there is nothing official there yet. But with Babin (I'm going on the reports, OK?) and Trent Cole, Darryl Tapp, Juqua Parker, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim, Victor Abiamiri, Ricky Sapp, Phillip Hunt … that is eight ends. I see the Eagles keeping five.
- And, yeah, sorting out the linebacker positions is a work in progress. I'm sure the Eagles have a plan there.
- Hot one today at Lehigh. More to come later in the afternoon.