These are the dog days of training camp, the time when, as linebacker Stewart Bradley says, "you just feel like laying down on the field," and resting aching bodies. Of course, the players don't do that. They are fighting for roster spots now, with the preseason opener a few days away. The evaluation process goes to another level at that point. Through a couple of weeks of camp, though, there are some players who are moving in the right direction. Let's take a look ...
TREVOR LAWS, defensive tackle
It has not been a mirage. Trevor Laws brings it every day to practice and it wouldn't be a surprise if he challenges for some serious playing time -- a starting spot, even? -- before the preseason is over. Laws is so much stronger and in much better shape than he was during his disappointing year two as an Eagle.
The message clearly got through to Laws. He knew heading into the off-season that this was a make-or-break season. Laws approached the conditioning program the right way and he attacked Barry Rubin's strength program and the approach has paid dividends. In his third camp, Laws has made a lot of plays in practice.
The key for him is to stay healthy. Laws has to avoid too many nicks and bruises and keep his quickness and his strength. Expect him to get a lot of playing time on Friday night. The Eagles want to see him against a different uniform.
**AKEEM JORDAN, linebacker
Not until last week in practice did Akeem Jordan get the call to move from second-string WILL linebacker to first-team SAM 'backer. He has played well in his time over the tight end. Jordan doesn't have prototypical size at 238 pounds, but he is extremely strong and he runs well enough to stay with any tight end in the league.
SAM has been as unsettled as any position on the team for the last several seasons. Is Jordan the answer in the long term? Hey, the coaches aren't sure he is the answer in the short term. He is the guy now, though, and he has a chance to convince everyone that he is the right man for the spot. Let's hope the Jaguars challenge Jordan in the passing game on Friday night. It would be a good experience for him and it would be a good experience for the coaches to evaluate him.
**CLAY HARBOR, tight end
You have read enough and seen enough to know that Clay Harbor has been one of the standouts of this camp. A rookie who came billed as an athletic pass catcher has lived up to his reputation, and then some. Harbor really works at it as a blocker, and while he needs improvement there, the effort is terrific.
Harbor is taking reps as the No. 2 tight end behind Brent Celek, and he deserves the promotion. The Eagles can move Harbor around the formation and give him a favorable matchup and see him get open in the passing game.
Jacksonville likes to attack on defense, so Harbor has a great test ahead. So far, though, he has been one of many bright spots in a draft class that is off to a superb start.
QUINTIN DEMPS, safety
Still listed behind Nate Allen on the depth chart, Quintin Demps is finding the football in practice. He is a better player than he was a year ago, and Demps has lived up to his promise to bring with him a better approach to the game.
Can Demps regain the starting spot? Sure. There are four preseason games ahead. A lot happens in those four games. Demps has to make sure he is in his playbook, that he is communicating well with the defense and that he gets to the football and makes plays.
The safety positions look better now than they did a year ago. Rookies Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman have acquitted themselves well. Veteran Antoine Harris is going to make a push before the preseason is over. Ryan Hamilton is aggressive and is competing for a roster spot.
And Demps adds size, coverage ability and good play on special teams. There is a lot of work to do, but the safety group is on the come.
**KELLEY WASHINGTON, wide receiver
The big news early in camp was rookie Riley Cooper, and he has continued to play well. Cooper has played his way into the 53-man roster spot, and is probably quite a ways beyond that. Kelley Washington, signed 10 days ago, has been terrific. He catches the ball well, uses his big body to ward off defensive backs and has some nasty in him. Cooper and Washington, and Hank Baskett, are having the battle of training camp. Those three are possibly fighting for two roster spots.
Meanwhile, the word on Washington is that he is an elite special teams player. We'll see. The Eagles can't go live in practice for special teams, so the testing ground is during the games in the preseason. Washington will get his looks, for sure. If he goes out and plays well on special teams, he is going to be difficult to cut.
ELDRA BUCKLEY, running back
Entering training camp it appeared that Eldra Buckley was losing ground to rookie Charles Scott on the depth chart. That is not the case any longer. Buckley is listed as the team's third halfback, and Scott is listed now as a backup fullback behind Leonard Weaver. Buckley has run extremely hard in camp, has caught the ball well and is just out there flashing every day.
Special teams go a long way toward determining the roster spot for a third halfback, and Buckley is a good player on special teams. He is tough, he takes a lot of punishment and Buckley does not make mental mistakes. Right now, it appears that he is a very strong candidate to make this team.
**MIKE McGLYNN, offensive lineman
Why can't he push for some consideration as the starting center with both Jamaal Jackson and Nick Cole sidelined? Mike McGlynn benefits from the extra repetitions. He is a tough guy, a hard worker and he knows the scheme. He could very well get some extended time on Friday night and really make a case for his inclusion in the center race.
McGlynn can also play guard, which helps his case a lot. This is a critical time for McGlynn, who has played very little in his two seasons as an Eagle. Is the third year the charm for him? He has his chance right now.