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Training Camp News, Notes And Observations

One week in, the picture is shaping up here and the depth chart is forming. There are a handful of players sldelined with muscle pulls and strains here and there, the normal casualties of training camp. We've got a long way to go before the first preseason game, so observations now are measured carefully. Still, what else do we have to go on? Here is what I'm seeing at Eagles Training Camp, 2010 ...

 It's very early, yes, but the draft class is really impressive. I've been around long enough to know what to look for, and this group is making plays. Brandon Graham has a chance to be special. He is off to a tremendous start. Fast off the ball, a lot of moves, good technique ... can't wait to see him in a game. Nate Allen is making good strides at free safety communicating with the secondary, and his real test will come in the games. All of them have stood out, if just a little bit. That's how you want it. How many draft picks make this team? Ten? Eleven? We shall see.  
  • The darling of this camp is rookie wide receiver Riley Cooper who attracts attention because of his good looks, his flowing locks and the big plays he is making in practice. Cooper is nasty guy, make no mistake about it. He is physical and he does not back down at all. This kid has a chance to be a really fine player.
  • No. 3 quarterback Mike Kafka gets it. He runs the West Coast offense so, so well for a rookie. Kafka looks decisive, has an accurate arm and makes good reads. If the Eagles can develop him as well as I think they can, quarterbacks coach James Urban and the offensive staff deserve some kudos.
  • Rookie Clay Harbor makes big plays every day and is moving up the ladder. He can really run and catch the football. Blocking will be the big test.
  • Akeem Jordan is taking the reps with the starters at SAM linebacker and I can't say I'm overly surprised. Jordan had a superb off-season and the coaches clearly want to get him on the field. Nothing is guaranteed yet, though. Moise Fokou, who has taken some reps at defensive end, is still very much in the mix at SAM.
  • I haven't said much about special teams so far in this camp, but I had a conversation on Monday morning with Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News and he raved about some of the things the Eagles have done to boost their special teams. He said Cooper was an outstanding gunner at the University of Florida, that linebacker Jamar Cheney -- who has opened eyes big time in this camp -- was one of the speediest linebackers at the Combine and that wide receiver Kelley Washington is an "elite" special teams performer. I am getting excited about special teams, and I know that a dominating group there can win games.
  • Yeah, I think it is fair to say that the offensive line has a lot to show and that there should be some worries with Jamaal Jackson out and recovering from his torn ACL and Todd Herremans rehabbing his sore foot. Herremans is expected to be ready for the season, no problem. Jackson, not so sure. Nick Cole is a study, explosive player at center. Max Jean-Gilles has a lot of experience at left guard. Stacy Andrews has a shoulder injury that we all hope is nothing much. Is this group good enough to dominate in a very rugged NFC East?
  • I like the way that Ellis Hobbs is playing. He is a tenacious guy, has the speed to run with receivers and has a lot of motivation. Hobbs is clearly ahead of Macho Harris at right cornerback. The guy to watch here is rookie Trevard Lindley, who has strength to play press coverage. He has come a long way in a short time.
  • Tough spot for running back J.J. Arrington, who is just not sure where he is going quite yet. I haven't seen the speed or the burst from Arrington and that could be because his knee isn't all the way back or he just isn't comfortable in the offensive system yet.
  • Chaney is having a great, great camp. He is somebody to watch for sure in the preseason games.
  • It has not been a mirage at all that defensive tackle Trevor Laws is playing so well. The man is totally different than he was a year ago. Much more explosive, much stronger and clearly aware that if he doesn't earn it, he won't be on this roster.
  • I believe that this is the best wide receiver group, top to bottom, that the Eagles have ever brought to training camp,at least in my time. If the Eagles don't perform well in the preseason with all three quarterbacks in there, I will be very disappointed.
  • Not having a second true fullback here bothers me. I hope the Eagles are looking around to have another body to take a pounding and to help in the preseason games against the blitz.
  • Speaking of the blitz, the No. 1 defense is beating the No. 1 offense in the blitz drills. I hope it is because the defense is so darn fast. This group looks as fast as any the Eagles have had here.
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