Philadelphia Eagles News

On The Field: Day One Observations

BETHLEHEM, Pa --There are a total of 33 players here, including two defensive linemen and two linebackers. When the Eagles have their seven-on-seven drills -- two per practice session -- the same seven defensive players take every rep. So how much can you really see from a day of practice?

Well, at the end of camp Day 1 may be filed away and forgotten, but I know you are Eagles zealots and you want every nugget of information and opinion, so here is what I saw and what I think I know about this football team after two practices in the 2009 training camp ...

  • Running back LeSean McCoy looks great. He picked up where he left off in the spring drills and caught everything thrown his way in the seven-on-seven drills. He is very smooth in his ability to pluck the football thrown to him and he keeps his balance and his stride. Impressive. If there is one player, above all the rest, I want to see here when the pads go on and the practices are live, it's McCoy. Is he the real deal? We're going to know a whole lot more in a week's time.
  • So, as practice was happening in the afternoon Brian Westbrook and head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder went through a series of stretches, exercises and then some running drills. I saw a lot of the actions in place to strengthen Westbrook's ankle and the muscles in his lower leg and then in his core. He ran without an obvious hitch in his gait. He seemed to accelerate when needed. Now, these were not full-scale sprints. There was no hard cutting or change-of-direction stuff. It was great to see Westbrook on the field, pushing things a bit. I'm sure the tempo will increase every day.
  • Want a long shot who is here right now? I mean, a complete long shot? How about this kid: Danny Amendola, wide receiver. One of the stars of HBO's Hard Knocks last year as a member of the Cowboys. Then waived by Dallas and added to the Eagles' practice squad for the playoffs last season. Amendola is listed as 5 feet 11, 186 pounds but he doesn't look that big. What he is is quick, a good route runner and a receiver who catches everything. It's going to be really difficult for Amendola to make the team. Let's be honest about that. But he is going to push, I'll tell you that. Excellent player in the spring drills and here through two practices.
  • Macho Harris was the standout of the practices for the defense in the practices. He is still playing safety, but I think the Eagles might try to take a look at him at cornerback, too. Can he be a "hybrid" defensive back and allow the Eagles to use him in certain packages in coverage on the edges and as a safety deep? Let's see. The fifth-round draft pick sure is off to a good start.
  • Eugene Bright had a couple of catches he needed to make in the afternoon, passes that he would love to get back. I thought he caught the ball well in the morning.
  • Donovan McNabb is sharp, is in terrific shape and threw the ball extremely well in the morning before taking the afternoon off for personal reasons. He will be back on Tuesday. No worries there.
  • Fullback Marcus Mailei has to be exhausted. He took major reps on Monday and, I'll tell you, looked pretty darn good. He has a chance to be on the practice squad. I guess I'd be shocked if Leonard Weaver was anything less than a very good fullback, and the Eagles are only going to keep one on the active roster.
  • Nothing new on Jeremy Maclin, if you didn't know otherwise. He will never get back the two practices from Monday. I don't even hear rumblings about when a deal might get done.
  • What does a defensive line coach do when he has only two players in for five practices? Rory Segrest taught technique for about 75 minutes in each practice to Jervonte Jackson and Josh Gaines, two rookies trying to make this team. Riveting stuff ...
  • Really hard to get a read on the defense until the pads go on. I talked with rookie safety Reshard Langford after the second practice on Monday and he actually seems to love the fact that the defense gets run into the ground with all of those reps and that they can't even take out their frustration with a hard tackle. "It will happen. Our time will come. For me, getting all of these reps is great. I'm learning and I think I've got it down pretty good," said Langford, from Vanderbilt. "I'm in shape. I feel great out there."
  • Think about this with regard to McNabb, and it is something has asked him: Pat Shurmur is in St. Louis as the offensive coordinator after guiding McNabb as quarterbacks coach for seven seasons. James Urban is the quarterbacks coach now, and the Eagles moved around some pieces with the offensive staff way back in March, if you remember. I'm watching to see if the coaches have McNabb doing different drills, or accentuating certain areas of his game to improve. There are a couple of wrinkles going on at practice. McNabb threw into a net hung up between the uprights at practice, with targets of different color. Has he always done that?
  • I see the Eagles moving tight end Cornelius Ingram -- and for that matter, Bright -- around the formation and trying to create good matchups. This offense has a chance to do a lot of inventive things with the scheme and the formations.
  • Kevin Curtis looked good to me. He probably isn't 100 percent, but Curtis cut well and showed explosion. Most important, he was on the field for two practices.
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