If offensive tackle Austin Howard and defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim keep battling in the one-on-one linemen drills at training camp, they are eventually going to scrap. The battles have been intense and fierce. But Howard has no intent of getting into fisticuffs. He simply wants to make Te'o-Nesheim a better player, and vice versa.
"The purpose of practice is not to get into fights, but to make each other better. He gives me hard work. I give him hard work. It's just a mutual respect that we have for each other," Howard said. "We're going to give each other 100 percent every time. We know that we're trying to make this team. I'm trying to make him better. He's trying to make me better."
A rookie free agent from Northern Iowa, the 6-7, 333-pound Howard was inserted as the backup left tackle during the OTAs. He was the primary left tackle for the rookie and selected veteran workouts. As the veterans are in the process of arriving, Howard understands that he's from a small school and only wants to make it tough for the coaches to release him.
"Really, I have no expectations," Howard said. "I have no expectations from my coaches, from my teammates, anybody. The only thing I expect is out of myself and it's that I give 110 percent every time."
But offensive line coach Juan Castillo has done wonders in the past with small-school players and rookie free agents. Just look at the current starting lineup. Center Jamaal Jackson played at Delaware State and was a rookie free agent. Left guard Todd Herremans hailed from the football powerhouse that is Saginaw Valley State. Howard already has seen first-hand the magic that Castillo can do.
"Coach Castillo, where do I start?" Howard said. "From watching my college film to my practices now, it's like night and day. He's told me that and it's because of inches, centimeters. Hand placement, foot placement. It's little details that are huge in the whole scheme of things."
For more Eagles news, follow us on Twitter @EaglesInsider
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 1:15 p.m., July 29