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Next Step: Training Camp Ahead

Andy Reid called it a "foundation." As in, rookie quarterback Nick Foles picked up the offensive scheme quickly and made good progress and heads into training camp with about as much of a clue as a rookie QB can have. As in, rookie linebacker Mychal Kendricks showed well as the starting SAM linebacker and will be ready to compete when training camp opens at Lehigh University on July 22.

As in, nobody was seriously injured in the four weeks of practices -- rookie defensive end Vinny Curry has a sprained ankle, defensive tackle Mike Patterson is recovering from brain surgery and safety/special teams ace Colt Anderson is working his way back from a torn ACL -- and the Eagles are going to be as close to 100 percent as they can be.

As in, when you see this team at Lehigh, in pads, full contact, you are going to be excited. Very excited.

"I love the energy and mindset right now," said Reid on Thursday after the mandatory three-day minicamp was finished. "For nine weeks, these guys have been coming in here and grinding it. I mentioned this before that 80 percent of the team was in here before that with (strength and conditioning coach) Barry (Rubin) getting their lifts in.

"I want that to carry over to training camp. This is going to be a tough training camp for them; I've talked to the team about that. It's going to be a demanding training camp, and from now until we get up there, they need to keep themselves in the shape that they're in right now."

Reid wants to run a tough, physical, aggressive training camp. He's going to run his heavy practice in the afternoon following a morning of hydration, learning on the practice field with a walkthrough, making sure the players have two meals in them and some beneficial classroom work. It's going to be back to the old days for Reid and training camp with the hope that the Eagles are a more disciplined -- mentally and physically -- team than they were last season when a 1-4 start morphed into a 4-8 hole that was simply too deep.

"I look forward to it," said quarterback Michael Vick, who ran a crisp morning of red-zone offense on Thursday, throwing the ball with great accuracy and confidence. "We need to keep working hard and grinding away, improving. We have a lot of work ahead of us."

The depth chart, at least the starters, seems fairly well set. The new guys are fullback Stanley Havili, who is going to be pushed by Emil Igwenagu, left tackle Demetress Bell, who replaces Jason Peters, middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, Kendricks and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Yeah, there are going to be other battles. There is quite a bit of talent on the roster. If there isn't competition, well, the coaches aren't going to be pleased.

But by and large, the Eagles have a good sense of who they are and what they have after four weeks on the field and another five weeks prior to that seeing the players up close and evaluating their work ethic, their athletic ability and their mental retention of the masses of information they have been fed.

Training camp is five weeks away, which is a breath away or forever away, depending upon your perspective. Then we're going to find out if all of these good vibrations and this beautiful chemistry translate into wins in September and beyond.


  • No word on Fletcher Cox and his contract. Cox returned to practice on Thursday after the tragic death of his cousin in an automobile accident.
  • Most improved player from last year? How about defensive tackle Antonio Dixon, who has shed a lot of weight and who understands that if he wants to play for Jim Washburn, he has to get off the line of scrimmage and get up the field.
  • I don't see Kurt Coleman being challenged for the starting job by Jaiquawn Jarrett. Coleman had a very strong spring and is in terrific shape. The real question is: Where does Jarrett fit into the equation here?
  • Joselio Hanson isn't giving up his starting job as the nickel cornerback any time soon. Brandon Boykin is impressive and the coaching staff likes him a lot. Maybe he mounts a challenge in training camp. Right now, though, Hanson is playing good football.
  • Boykin, by the way, would be my guess to open training camp as No. 1 on the depth chart as the kickoff return man. Until the preseason games begin, though, what do we really know? Bobby April is probably the only person around here hoping the Eagles receive a few kickoffs in each of the preseason games. He needs to know what he has to work with.
  • The most impressive draft pick to date is probably Kendricks, who just seems to have every tool in the book. Can't wait to see him with pads on. It was very tough to judge Cox or Curry in the spring. Boykin is off to a fine start. I love Bryce Brown. Nick Foles, I'm telling you, is a legit prospect.
  • The most impressive free-agent rookie is wide receiver Damaris Johnson, who caught just about everything, impressed with his routes and his quickness and who has explosive ability. Is he big enough to make it happen every day in training camp?
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