Philadelphia Eagles News

What I Think I Know About The Eagles Now

They finished up inside on a rainy Sunday in Philadelphia, worked on the red zone, continued teaching the X's and O's and generally emerged from five practices feeling like it was a positive first step in the series of many leading into the 2009 season. You only take so much from practices when there is no tackling and the players wear helmets and shorts, but I'm going to give you what I've got after a weekend of Eagles football ...

  • The Eagles are pleased with the progress made of the top three draft picks. It's really hard to tell right now how far along the kids are mentally, but wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy and tight end Cornelius Ingram had good weekends. This was a testing ground for the rookies, their first taste of the tempo of the work and the volume of what they need to know. Let's talk about all three. First, Maclin. He lined up in the right spots, he showed good hands and he got better and better with his quickness and sudden movements. It is clear, though, that Maclin has a lot to learn. He will play faster and faster when he gets the system down. He needs to refine many parts of his game, and he knows it. But the key was that he was generally in the right place at the right time. McCoy looked outstanding catching the football -- much better hands than I thought -- and he runs well with good quickness. Ingram probably opened more eyes than anybody in this camp. Great body, very athletic and he caught just about every ball I saw him get thrown. I saw him have one drop.
  • Macho Harris played free safety for the camp and, while he is likely to see some time as a cornerback and see if he can help in a two-way fashion for this team, Harris is likely to stay at safety for the foreseeable future. He has a real chance to make this team.
  • I'm convinced that the Eagles are thrilled with fullback Leonard Weaver and that he is going to be a huge, huge upgrade. Weaver had more touches in this camp than the fullbacks had the entire year of practice last year, it seemed.
  • I spend a lot of time watching the offensive linemen work because I enjoy Juan Castillo and see him putting so much energy and emphasis on technique with his players. Jason Peters is learning a whole new way to use his hands and his feet and I think he will benefit from the new system. The offensive line can be dominating, but there remains a lot of work to be done. A lot of work.
  • Jack Ikegwuonu made a nice breakup in the end zone during a red-zone drill on Sunday, flashing some of that terrific athletic ability that he has. But Ikegwuonu tweaked a hamstring on day one, remember. He can't make this team if he misses practice time for any reason.
  • Safety Sean Jones had a great, great practice on Sunday with two pass breakups and solid position on underneath routes. Jones is running as a backup strong safety, so he is hungry to earn some real playing time.
  • I've pretty much considered tight end Eugene Bright nothing more than a training camp body, but after asking around and then watching him and then asking around some more, I may need to consider again. Bright is a 265-pound tight end, is said to have good blocking skills and he moved well in his pass-catching assignments. He played defensive end at Purdue, so he has to learn the position, but Bright showed up in this camp, for sure.
  • Sheldon Brown had a strong, strong Sunday and he had a nice breakup on a fade pass to Hank Baskett in the left corner of the end zone.
  • No injuries from this camp. That is the best news of all.
  • Akeem Jordan and Omar Gaither had strong camps, so the competition for the starting job at the WILL position will be great to watch in training camp.
  • Long shot to watch: Cornerback Courtney Robinson, from UMass. Good-looking prospect.
  • I'm not even going to start to assess the linemen on either side of the line of scrimmage. Not fair to do so in a non-contact environment. Both Juqua Parker and Victor Abiamiri shared time with the starters at left defensive end. It looks like Nick Cole will push for playing time somewhere on the offensive line. Other than that, let's wait until the pads go on.
  • There is a conditioning program going on, and there will be another camp with rookies and selected veterans as well as the team's OTAs in June. Lots of learning to do before training camp begins.
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