In Andy Reid's first year as head coach in 1999, he was trying to put a system in place for everyone to follow. The players were not sure what to think about it at the start and some players did not prepare themselves properly. They paid for it just trying to get through the harsh two-a-days from a physical standpoint rather than focusing solely on football.
Ten years and numerous successful seasons later, Eagles training camp runs like clockwork day-in and day-out.
"The first year we were setting the foundation for things," Reid said. "From that point on, your veteran players, they kind of take over and coach up the young guys. 'You better take that to heart right there. Get yourself right.' It's to that point now. We have a couple guys who have been with me a long time and they talk to those young guys. They come back and they are ready to go."
Eagles fans may not want to be reminded of how Reid's first camp went, but he has not forgotten. Things are definitely much smoother now.
"We had a hard time completing a ball in that first camp," he said. "Now, very seldom do you see an incompletion. I think the competition between the offense and defense that first year, they were trying to survive. Now they are competing against each other and they talk back and forth and challenge each other and that's just increased over the years since we've been here."
That competition and intensity will only continue to increase as the arrival date of the veterans and full-contact drills inch closer.
NEWS AND NOTES:
- Donovan McNabb has Wednesday afternoon's and Thursday's practice off. "It doesn't have anything to do with his arm or anything else," Reid said. "His arm feels good, he's throwing well. We're just going to give him a little break here before he gets going with the veterans."
- Reid on rookie wide receiver DeSean Jackson: "He has a nice feel for the game, and we'll just see how he does once the hitting takes place."
- Running back Ryan Moats has worked hard to get back and taking advantage of the opportunity as the only ball carrier here. Moats was lost for the 2007 season after suffering a fractured ankle in the preseason opener. "He's always been able to carry the football very well and run with the football very well," Reid said. "But, the little intricacies in the pass game, or moving him out where you flex him out into wide receiver positions, this is a great review for him."
- From Reid's observations wide receiver Shaheer McBride is very strong, a good route runner and is doing a good job.
- Regarding the fullback position, Reid said, "We have three guys in there that we feel like can compete against each other and we'll see how they do it."