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Practice Blog: July 28

Here's a recap of what happened on Monday at the practice fields of Lehigh University. The updates were provided by Bob Kent (BK), Chris McPherson (CM) and Bo Wulf (BW).

  • 8:13 AM - The first player on the field award this morning goes to wide receiver Marcus Thigpen. A rookie free agent out of Indiana, Thipen was a running back who was converted to receiver when he signed with the Eagles. (CM)
  • 8:40 AM - After an excused absence from yesterday afternoon's practice, Donovan McNabb is back out on the field this morning jovial as ever and ready to go to work. (BW)
  • 9:02 AM - Coaching intern, and former defensive end for the Eagles (1998-2003), Brandon Whiting was seen working with rookie defensive tackle Jervonte Jackson on his hand technique at first contact during a session of individual position drills. (BK)
  • 9:15 AM - While A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb worked with the wide receivers on one field, Donovan McNabb was working with tight ends Cornelius Ingram and Eugene Bright. The passes were on target as would be expected with no rush, but both guys seemed to receive the ball well. (BW)
  • 9:42 AM - This morning's 7 vs. 7 drills produced a couple highlights included two very nice catches. The first occured when Danny Amendola hauled in a long pass down the middle fom McNabb over Reshard Langford. Then Cornelius Ingram made a very impressive catch in traffic up the seam on a pass from Kevin Kolb which earned the rookie tight end a "Good catch big fella" from McNabb. Shaheer McBride also beat Courtney Robinson down the sideline for a long catch on a McNabb toss. On defense, Macho Harris continued to get his work in at two positions and seemed to do a commendable job at each, allowing only a single short completion. (BW)
  • 9:49 AM - I spent a couple of minutes watching the offensive line individual drills and I have to say that Stacy Andrews looks like such a powerful man. He's isn't the tallest offensive lineman. He isn't the biggest in terms of weight. But in terms of mass, he might stand out more than any Eagles offensive lineman that I can recall. He's powerful and lean and in these workouts has not shown any issues with his knee thus far. I can't wait to see if he participates in the full contact drills beginning Friday. He is still so new to the game of football that offensive line coach Juan Castillo should be able to mold him into the warrior that he wants to be. And his work ethic? Truly amazing to be this far along in his rehab from the ACL injury he suffered in December. Here was what head coach Andy Reid had to say about it, "This kid, we had to kick him out of the building, he's that type of personality. He is a relentless worker. He doesn't say much, he's very quiet. His work ethic has been phenomenal since he's been here and I think that has led to the success of his rehab. He put full trust in (head athletic trainer) Rick (Burkholder) and our doctors and he had no questions. After they were done working out, he asked what he could do to enhance his recovery every day, and did it." (CM)
  • 9:50 AM - In an offense-only red zone drill, Brandon Gibson made a very nice one-handed over-the-shoulder catch on a Kevin Kolb toss. (BK)
  • 9:59 AM - To follow up on Bo's highlights from the 7-on-7 drills, Brandon Gibson made a nice catch over the middle in traffic on the first play of the drill. He plucked the ball out of the air nicely with his hands, not with his body, and turned upfield to keep moving ... Shaheer McBride did make a nice grab, but he also did a good job getting off of the bump and run coverage ... Macho Harris is showing good instincts out there and good recognition of what routes to expect over the middle. After one receiver made a catch, Harris and a couple of other defenders converged quickly and stripped the ball out ... Danny Amendola's falling-down catch on a broken play was nice. Amendola is the kind of player I wish the Eagles had two, three years ago. A quick and shifty receiver who could be molded into a returner. It seems that the Eagles have done a good job of adding such players in recent years, but I can't wait to see how he does when the pads go on ... LeSean McCoy made a catch out of the backfield and what caught my eye is the way he cuts so naturally. He doesn't seem to give any indication through leaning or anything as to how he is going to run ... The best catch of the morning so far was by tight end Cornelius Ingram who caught a perfectly thrown bullet threaded through the middle of the field by Kevin Kolb. (CM)
  • 10:02 AM - The morning practice session closed out with a 7-on-7 red zone drill. Cornelius Ingram closed out a fantastic morning session and showed a glimpse of the kind of red zone weapon he might be able to be for this Eagles offense. He made a very nice catch at the back of the end zone over Moise Fokou on a well placed bullet from Kevin Kolb where only Ingram could grab it. His combination of size, speed, and hands is something that must have the offensive coaching staff salivating. Ingram then closed out the practice by losing the coverage on a play from the 5-yard-line and catching the easily thrown ball from McNabb. On defense, the player who shined was Jack Ikegwuonu. On the first play of the drill, he closed beautifully to knock down a McNabb pass in the corner of the end zone, showing a burst of speed that means he's close to fully recovered from last year's knee injury. He also showed impressive jamming technique at the line, effectively delaying a receiver's release twice. There was also the first sight of tempers flaring up at this training camp, when LeSean McCoy and Fokou brielfly exchanged pleasantries after a play - but both players soon calmed down and got back to business. Macho Harris continued to show good cover skills, and McCoy again made catching the ball look effortless. Danny Amendola made a nice move to lose Byron Parker for a score, and Shaheer McBride grabbed a touchdown on an A.J. Feeley thrown fade route from the 5-yard-line. (BW)
  • 3:30 PM - Practice is about to get underway. Stay tuned. (CM)
  • 3:36 PM - For the second day in a row, most of the team is working on kickoffs and kickoff returns to open the afternoon practice. And for the second straight day Danny Amendola is getting every rep as the returner. Most of Parrish's kickoffs are still falling around the 5 yard line. Elsewhere, the three QB's are doing some target practice on a separate practice field and Donovan McNabb is having some fun talking to the several fans who ar watching. (BW)
  • 3:40 PM- Great news as Brian Westbrook as back out on the practice field stretching with Rick Burkholder, and it looks like they'll be going through a similar routine to the one they went through yesterday. The big news here is that Westbrook is fit enough to work out back-to-back days, and that's very encouraging as far as his progress is concerned. (BW).
  • 3:54 PM- It actually turns out to be even better news than I first thought on Westbrook's workout. As opposed to yesterday's workout which was limiited to forward jogging, so far Westbrook and Burkholder have been doing a lot of lateral quickness and agility drills. They started with lot of quick-stepping in and out of a laid-down rope ladder, and then did some sideways shuffles on the same ladder. Westbrook looked very smooth, and flashed a quickness and, more importantly, confidence in his ankle. Then, Burkholder and Westbrook worked some drills that some young Eagles fans might now from playing youth soccer. Westbrook was doing rotating toe-touches on the soccer ball, and although he looked to be very good physical shape, I have to say that Westbrook looks a little smoother with a football in his hands than he does with a soccer ball at his feet. Now, they're continuing to work on quickness, as Westbrook and Burkholder are passing the ball back and forth as they run forwards and backwards. (BW)
  • 4:03 PM - Well it's official: Brian Westbrook is quitting football and training for futbol season. In all seriousness, he actually just spent the last ten minutes playing one-on-one soccer against Burkholder in a small confined space with small goals. The drill allowed Westbrook to display how comfortable he is moving aroun in any direction, and at any pace. When he was playing defense, Burkholder had Westbrook twisting and turning and there seemed to be no hitches in any of the running back's movement. They're now doing some light sprints, and Westbrook again looks to be at around 100% from the eye test, although there's absolutely no need to rush anything with a player of his caliber. (BW)
  • 4:25 PM - Westbrook is finished for the day after putting in a very encouraging 45 minute session. On another field, they just ran through another series of 7-on-7 drills in which Cornelius Ingram and LeSean McCoy continued to battle it out for the honor of most impressive newcomer in camp so far. Ingram made another nice catch after running a tight route, and McCoy continues to look so smooth both catching the ball and cutting upfield after receiving the ball - it should be noted that he also has spent a few plays splitting out wide, another indication of the staff's confidence in the rookie. I haven't seen either McCoy or Ingram even juggle a ball all week. Brandon Robinson ran a very nice route on one play to create enough room for McNabb to fit the ball in for him, and Macho Harris made a very nice play in the air to break up a McNabb pass intended for Brandon Gibson. The drill ended with a fine diving pass breakup by Charleston Hughes on an A.J. Feeley pass intended for Ingram. (BW)
  • 4:40 PM - Another practice done, another session closed out by a Cornelius Ingram touchdown. For the second straight practice, the workout closed with red zone 7-on-7 drills, and Ingram again scored a 5-yard TD on the last play of the session, this time on an A.J. Feeley pass that Ingram hauled in after losing the coverage. That made touchdown bookends to the drill, as Donovan McNabb hit Kevin Curtis on a pretty throw and an even prettier route for a 20-yard TD. Charleston Hughes made another nice knockdown in coverage, this time on LeSean McCoy. And surprise, surprise, McCoy continued to look impressive catching the ball and turning upfield. I wanted to note how much I've noticed McNabb being encouraging and jovial with both McCoy and Ingram especially. McNabb knows that both of these guys might very well play pivotal roles in the 2009 offense, and he seems to be taking no time in building a good relationship with the two of them. (BW)
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