Philadelphia Eagles News

Scenes From Weekend Mini-Camp

As one Tweeter, uh, Tweeted, "I don't think it's a stretch to say that Vinny Curry could become the third most productive defensive end for the #Eagles ..." I laughed. How can we know that? How can we know anything?

A more realistic evaluation came from a coach who said, when asked how Day 1 went, "It was better in the afternoon than it was in the morning."

And there you go.

It's the kind of camp where there are a select group of one-year "veterans," able to practice, along with nine draft picks, 14 non-drafted rookies and other players invited for a tryout. They're all fighting for jobs, once they figure out just where they are supposed to be on every play. It's the kind of camp where they run a play and if offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg doesn't like the spacing of the receivers, he makes them walk through the play again.

So what can we tell? Hey, Fletcher Cox is an athlete who moves in shorts and a helmet remarkably fluidly for a 300-plus pound young man. We can tell that quarterback Nick Foles throws a nice deep ball and that Jacory Harris has good skills, too.

And we can tell that the kids are really trying, that the coaches are really coaching and, so then, on to some scenes from the day that began around 8 a.m. for players and ended with a van ride to the team hotel following the afternoon workout. The coaches, of course, worked much later into the night watching and reviewing and grading the film ...


The media swarmed Mychal Kendricks, a second-round draft pick, after the morning practice and asked him, naturally, about the task of covering tight ends. It's an important part of the job description for a SAM linebacker and the obvious question is the one about height: Kendricks is about 5 feet 11, while tight ends are tall and rangy and fast.

Can he cover them?

"It doesn't matter (about the height disadvantage)," said Kendrick, who cut right to the chase. "If I do it, I do it. If I don't, then I'll probably get cut."

Following the afternoon worked, Kendricks talked about that line of questioning, about how it is the central story with him among the media and the fans, even though it is far from the only responsibility he has on the field.

"It's a business and that's not my only job, but I know that when I was drafted, that was one of the first things the coaches emphasized and that's why they have me at SAM and that's what they want me to do. That's a big part of why I'm here. That being the situation, that they're going to emphasize it, then I'm going to emphasize it, too. That's what I'm saying.

"The first day was good for me. For a first day, it went well. Not too many mistakes. A couple of alignment problems here and there, but not too many and that is stuff that we're going to work on tonight and get it right."

Kendricks is going to be a focal point throughout the summer. Get used to hearing from him. He likes everything about this scene and the opportunity he has.

"I like it, I love the tempo and the way we do things," he said. "It's fast paced. That's good with me."

GREG LEWIS, wide receivers intern coach

Yes, *that *Greg Lewis, G Lew himself. Another of Andy Reid's former players who called up his head coach and asked about a coaching internship and now Lewis is here to learn, to soak everything up.

He wasn't drafted and ended up playing eight NFL seasons, six with the Eagles. He had the spindly legs and the outstanding hands that allowed him to catch 152 passes with 8 touchdowns in his career.

Now he is working with the offensive coaches, specifically wide receivers coach David Culley, and Lewis learned more on his first day as a coach then he learned on the first day of practice in 2003 when he signed with the Eagles after a collegiate career at Illinois.

"Definitely more as a coach," said Lewis. "It's a lot to it. You see coaches when you are a player and you can't appreciate how much more work they do. I learned that today."

He laughed. Lewis spent the last several weeks with the Temple University program sitting in on their meetings and now he has the weekend, at least, with the Eagles.

"I just want to take as much knowledge as I can as a coach and teacher and take it as far as I can," said Lewis. "I was blessed to be able to play at the highest level and I would love that chance some day to coach at this level. It's a whole different world here, I'll tell you that. You do things as a coach that you never see when you are playing."

NICK FOLES, quarterback

This is Playing Quarterback 101 for Nick Foles and Jacory Harris, the two quarterbacks in this camp. There is no contact, of course. No touching the red jerseys. Foles and Harris are being introduced to the offense in heaping spoonfuls and there is little time to digest and process and then go out and play at a high level.

But that's the job requirement and that's goal for Foles, a third-round draft pick. He threw several gorgeous deep balls during Saturday's afternoon practice and probably made about three dozen mistakes that only he and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and head coach Andy Reid and quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson will know.

He's a big guy with a good arm and he seems to move fine in and around the pocket.

Foles has been coached up in QB Speak, so he is cautious with his words.

"It's a process and I'm around a lot of smart guys who did a great job of lining up in the right spots," said Foles. "Everybody is here for a reason, so I felt like everybody lined up well for the most part. There were times when we didn't, and it's my job to make sure that we get lined up in the right formations.

"It's a process, so the goal is to improve tomorrow."

Mornhinweg spent much of his day in Foles' side pocket, whispering advice and adjustments and coaching tips. He stopped drills to work on foot placement and eyes and the technical excellence that the Eagles demand.

Step 1 of about a 10,000-step "process" is in the books for Foles.

"I'm learning and I'm here with open eyes and ears. He might tell me something to correct and then I do it right and get back into the heat of the action and have to do it the way he wants me to do it, even if it is different than how I've played my whole career.

"He's going to keep pounding it into my head, I'm going to write it down, work late after practice ... whatever it takes to get it done right. My job is to get this down. It's a process."

This pace of place, probably faster than any these young bucks have experienced before Saturday, is going to seem Tortoise-like in a matter of weeks. They will get used to the tempo, which will then bounce up a notch when the veterans take part in the June full-team workouts.

"It's footwork, it's being able to throw the ball faster, throwing on 5 steps, on 7 steps ... that's where the fundamentals come in handy."

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