I'm feeling about 48 of the 53 roster spots already. I wonder about how many offensive linemen the Eagles will keep, how many cornerbacks and safeties will make the roster, how the running backs will be configured, if, in fact, the wide receiver positions will occupy six roster names. Training camp is two weeks away, a time that is celebrated across this great land of ours as the beginning of something special.
Slow times, I know. The Eagles are looking to get things locked down with No. 1 draft pick Jeremy Maclin, of course, and they have Brian Westbrook's rehab program kicked into high gear. And defensive coordinator Jim Johnson remains on an indefinite leave of absence, with no updates available.
And the rest of the picture is quiet, very quiet.
So it's time to blather about this and that and not a lot much more than what might or might not be in the very near future for your Philadelphia Eagles ...
Something to look forward to this week: The NFL's Supplemental Draft is held on July 16, and somebody is going to use a reasonably high draft pick on Kentucky defensive end Jeremy Jarmon. Eighteen teams reportedly attended Jarmon's private workout last week, and he reportedly performed well. Will the Eagles take a plunge here? Good question. Defensive end is a strong point here, but this team is smart to always look to upgrade the position. Trent Cole is a standout. Anybody else a standout? Until proven otherwise, the best pass rusher in addition to Cole is Darren Howard, who is likely to be used in a rotation at end and tackle. He is coming off a great season, and is probably going to continue in the same role. The Eagles really like what they have at defensive end, and I don't know what they think of Jarmon, but if they have a chance to upgrade, they should.
I liked Peter King's Thrill List of players that he made on SI.com. King included former Eagles quarterback Randall Cunningham, pointing out two plays that we all remember: Cunningham's 91-yard punt against the Giants, and Cunningham's touchdown pass to Jimmie Giles when Cunningham bounced off a near-sack from Carl Banks, regained his balance and threw a strike to Giles in the corner of the end zone at Veterans Stadium. Sweet stuff.
Do you consider rookie running back Shady McCoy a "small" running back? I don't think I do any longer. He will report to training camp at about 210 pounds after a superb spring. Some day, McCoy is going to be a strong, strong 215-pound running back.
Akeem Jordan and Omar Gaither promise to have a very competitive battle for the starting WILL linebacker job. Who has the lead? Jordan lined up with the starters in the spring and he should be ready to go for camp. But given Gaither's tenacity and the way he has attacked this off-season, I don't think it's a given for Jordan. And a kid who has made it to the NFL and who is looking for a starting job from the beginning of the season for the first time in his career knows that nothing will be given to him.
What will the players visiting with Donovan McNabb this week learn? They'll get to know each other personally just a little bit more and they will get some work in on routes and timing. The key player here is Maclin, for sure. He and McNabb looked to be on the same page in the spring and Maclin definitely came a long way in those practices. I'm looking forward to seeing how much progress he has made when the rookies and selected veterans, McNabb included, report to camp for the first practice on July 27.
Best special teams player on this team in coverage: Tracy White. Mark it down.
You know who gets a bad rap from some segments in the media and among the fans: Center Jamaal Jackson. I watched all of his pass sets from last year and his technique was outstanding and his performance was terrific. He could be more physical in the run game, but the Eagles as a whole need to be better there. That comes from running the football and developing that nasty attitude. I just wanted to defend Jackson. He gets a bum rap.
Numbers for Brent Celek? How about 50-55 catches and six touchdowns. And better blocking than you think.
If Westbrook gains 1,900 total yards from the line of scrimmage, will he be considered for Comeback Player of the Year?
Which player benefits the most from the preseason games? I would nominate McCoy, who is going to play a ton with Westbrook recovering. And Lorenzo Booker has his chance to to impress. But how about Kevin Kolb? He has a big-time chance to get more playing time, see more from NFL defenses and get into a groove heading into the regular season.