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Philadelphia Eagles News

Sizing Up The Good, Bad And Other On Day 1

BETHLEHEM, Pa. --Some good news, some not-as-good-news and some questions that need answers as the rookies -- all but one of them -- and selected veterans reported to a stormy Lehigh University on Sunday night. Practice starts on Monday morning as the group here -- more than dozen in all -- goes through individual drills, has a refresher course on the X's and O's from the spring practices and runs through some seven-on-seven drills. Here are some things to discuss as we inch closer to practice (yeah, we're talking 'bout practice ...)

  • Nothing to report on No. 1 draft pick Jeremy Maclin, who has not come to terms on a contract and who missed the team check-in and meetings on Sunday night. That is disappointing. That only four first-round picks are signed as camps open is a disturbing fact for the league. I am not aware of what is happening in the negotiations. I only know that the Eagles have a limited salary-cap available for their rookies, and that Maclin benefits greatly by being here for three days with a maximum number of repetitions in the offense. He was really coming on in the spring practices. He needs to be here. It is nothing to panic about now. Maclin's season is being made or being broken by Monday's practices. But what does he have to gain by missing any time at all? This contract is not his big one in his career. The next deal, or the one after that, will be should Maclin play to his ability.
  • Brian Westbrook's rehab is going very, very well, which is the best news of all. Head coach Andy Reid -- who looked terrific, by the way -- said that Westbrook is scheduled to return to the practice field in mid-August. What that means is that Westbrook is on target, without question, to play against Carolina on September 13. Will he play in the preseason? I don't know and, honestly, I don't think it matters all that much. Will he practice a lot before the opening game? Sure sounds like it. Practice here is what matters for Westbrook. He has nothing to prove in preseason games.
  • Love the news that offensive guard Stacy Andrews is going to practice on Monday seven months after having surgery to repair a torn ACL he suffered as a member of the Bengals. Didn't ACL injuries cripple careers not too long ago? Andrews isn't 100 percent healthy, but he is going to push himself and see how far he can take it. I don't expect Andrews to go right into two-a-day practices, and if he experiences discomfort the Eagles know they can back him off and use Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Cole at right guard. Timing and cohesiveness are the key issues up front for the offensive line. I really wonder if Reid and Juan Castillo will play the offensive line more in the preseason games, just to make sure they are right for Carolina. A lot depends on how Andrews practices -- and how much he practices.
  • Word that Victor Abiamiri is going to miss a couple of weeks of practice because of a strained pectoral muscle is bothersome. The injury won't linger beyond the next couple of weeks, but it's gotten to the point where you wonder if Abiamiri can stay healthy enough to play to his potential. He has had a few nagging injuries in his brief NFL seasons. I think Abiamiri is a hugely important player here. The Eagles need another end to emerge. He has the skills and the work ethic, but he has had bad luck. Too much back luck. Anyway, Bryan Smith and Chris Clemons have a chance to step up and show they are worthy of significant playing time.
  • The Eagles aren't adding a veteran running back as "insurance," so kind of put that out of your mind. They think Westbrook will be fine, and they have four backs in camp -- LeSean McCoy, Lorenzo Booker, Kyle Eckel and Eldra Buckley. Four is plenty. If Westbrook has a setback, the Eagles might make a move. No reason to do it now.
  • Sheldon Brown? He and Reid exchanged text messages -- Reid has come so far with technology. I remember when he called a Blackberry a "blueberry" during the press conference for the NFC Championship in early 2005 -- and Reid says that Brown is on board and that there is no danger that Brown will not report when the veterans come to town on Wednesday. Good news. Great news.
  • So ... the rains are here at Lehigh. Lots and lots of rain. Again. The Eagles have the excellent grounds crew headed by Tony Leonard have its work cut out to keep these fields playable. Two storms on Sunday -- one that lasted about 10 minutes before Reid's press conference and another, more sustained rain in the early evening -- left puddles around and on the fields.
  • Having former wide receiver Todd Pinkston and former defensive lineman Brandon Whiting in as coaching interns is a reminder of how quickly time passes in the NFL. Both players will do a good job learning and relating to the current team. Mike Caldwell parlayed a coaching internship a few summers ago into a job on the staff, so both Pinkston and Whiting will take their jobs very, very seriously.
  • All three quarterbacks are here, and all three will get a lot of work in with the rookies and selected veterans.
  • If you are coming to practice, remember that there is no charge for parking or for admission to practice. If you can't make practice, tune in after every morning practice at Noon for *Training Camp Live!, *presented by Remax. We will have a lot of practice video, interviews and everything you can want in a great video package on our site. Looking forward to the rest of camp!
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