If a first impression is the one that is going to leave an indelible mark, the Eagles rookies who took part in this past weekend's camp left a good one on the coaching staff.
"It's a good foundation. It's a good introduction. We threw a lot at them. It looked like they digested it pretty well," head coach Andy Reid said. "Did we have to move guys around? Yeah. I thought this was a great introduction that these guys can build on. When they get together with the veterans and have that extra pressure and everything's a little bit faster at least they have a good foundation they can bank on."
A year ago, the rookies did not have the benefit of spring practices due to the lockout. In previous years, these rookie camps would also be open to young veterans looking for extra reps or players returning from injury. In the five practices, the rookies - and a few veterans without a full year of NFL experience as well as some tryout players - competed among their peers and enjoyed the personalized, detailed attention from coaches.
"I don't think anybody left here feeling slighted on the number of plays that they got to show," Reid said.
That won't be the case starting next Tuesday when the full-team Organized Team Activities get underway. Of the players who took part in the rookie camp, only one will definitely be with the starters in the OTAs - fullback Stanley Havili. One rookie who could be with the starters is strongside linebacker Mychal Kendricks. In practice on Monday, Kendricks displayed his closing speed and athleticism when he broke up not one, but two, passes in the flat as he trailed a wide receiver who came across the field.
"You have to have good athletic ability to do that," Reid said of Kendricks' breakups.
"I would tell you he looked good out here. He made a lot of plays and got his hands on the ball. We just have to see where he gets the most reps."
Reid did acknowledge that the starting safeties to open the OTAs will be Kurt Coleman on the strong side and Nate Allen at free.
First-round draft pick Fletcher Cox was mixed in at defensive tackle and defensive end over the weekend. However, the Eagles want to make sure he has the two interior positions locked down - the 1-technique and the 3-technique - before worrying too much about the outside. Reid said Cox looked comfortable and understands that versatility is one of the strengths of Cox's game.
"I think that's what he gives you. He gives you the opportunity to do that, to move him around a little bit. ... I think he has the athletic ability to do that," Reid said.
With the rookie camp in the books, the focus now turns to the OTAs next week.
"It will be good to get the helmets and jerseys on – they'll be in the same outfits as this crew is in for the OTAs and the mandatory mini-camp that we finish with," Reid said. "That's a good thing because we can actually do offense versus defense and get the work that we need to get knocked out before we start training camp."
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