Camp Confidential 8/10: Maclin, Jackson Feud?, Injury Updates and Camp Observations
By Lance Epstein
Maclin And Jackson Fighting?:
A few years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles had one of the worst wide receiving corps in the entire NFL. Now, the have one of the best, if not the best, trios in the league.
However with stars at the position, the Eagles face an entirely new problem, which is keeping both DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin happy. This is much easier said then done, especially when you have two competitors like Maclin and Jackson wanting the ball in their hands as much as possible.
Today, the two got into a brief war of words late in the morning practice. The argument lasted until the end of practice and even continued as the two were in a very animated with each other as they walked off the field.
Maclin nor Jackson explained what the spat was really about, but after the 7 -on-7 drills as reporters drew closer to them, you could hear Maclin say the two were "cool."
"It was nothing major," Maclin said. "Like I said, it was over and done with. Like I said, 'We're still cool.'"
The second-year pro kept reiterated to the media that he believed the two are just fine and that is what teammates sometimes do.
"It's training camp," Maclin said. "There's no bad vibe between us two. We talked something out and that's all it was. I don't hate him. He doesn't hate me. We're still good. We're still friends. There was a little mix up and it's all good now."
Of course, Jackson had no words for the media since he has been avoiding them since he arrived at Leigh.
Still, this is one of the many problems of having two big egos at the wide receiver position. While neither is in the mold of Terrell Owens, both want to be "the guy," and have the glory associated with being the No. 1 guy.
Right now Maclin and Jackson might be playing it cool, but behind the scenes is another story and it might just be bubbling to the surface. Remember when the Eagles selected Maclin, Jackson did not know what to think about the Eagles getting another wide out.
Also, down the road the Eagles might be forced to make a decision on which wide receiver they value more and want to keep. Both are going to ask for a lot money in their new contract and the Eagles have been reluctant to pay big bucks to wide receivers, let alone two of them.
Nevertheless, both men sped away in their cars once they left the locker room. Hopefully for Kevin Kolb's sake, the two have patched everything up so that he and the rest of the offense is not affected.
* A frustrated (RB) Mike Bell made some progress with his hamstring injury. He participated in the non-contact portion of practice on Tuesday. This is the most he has done since straining his hamstring on the third day of practice. The Eagles anticipate that he should be able to go full speed in the next couple of days.
* The cart, which has been off for the past couple of days, has made its way back to Eagles training camp. WR Kelley Washington was carted off of the field for cramps. Washington is expected to return to the afternoon session of practice.
* Once again the usual suspects missed the morning practice: CB Macho Harris with a hamstring stain, C/G Nick Cole due to his knee, WR Hank Baskett with an knee injury, K David Akers had a foot contusion and DT Antonio Dixon is still out with concussion problems.
* Some good news, TE Cornelius Ingram participated, but was limited in practice. Yesterday, Andy Reid said he had swelling in his repaired knee that carried down into his calf.
* The forgotten one. At least that is what WR Jason Avant's nickname should be. Watching him in practice is a thing of beauty. He rarely, if ever, drops a pass. Not only that, he runs precise routes. Last year might have been his best season in his career, but with Kolb's accuracy he could be in store for another huge season and become a stud inside the red zone. As a note, OC Marty Mornhinweg told the media that Avant has caught 80 passes in camp so far and none have touched the ground. No question on who has the best hands on the team.
* Besides his argument with Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson seemed to be agitated by everything. Kolb missed him on a route, where he was wide open. Of course he had pressure in his face, but Jackson seemed to be irritated by that as well. Maybe it is the dog days of training camp or maybe it is Jackson's frustration about not getting a new contract beginning to bubble to the surface.
* The star of the morning practice (and possibly on the defensive side of the ball throughout camp) was rookie DE Brandon Graham. Graham used his football IQ to sneak out a screen and then used his athleticism to tip the ball, pull it down and run it in for a touchdown. While DE Juqua Parker is expected to be the team's starting defensive end for the first preseason game, it is going to be hard for him to keep Graham off the field. He is getting to the quarterback with regularity and now he is beginning to make plays all over the field. The Eagles are starting to look like geniuses for moving up for the kid.
* LB Ernie Sims is having a very impressive camp. He is consistently around the ball and making plays in the backfield. It could be that he is rejuvenated to be in Philadelphia since he has perennially played for a last place team.
* Punter and now part-time kicker Ken Parrish took some kicks today. Akers appears as if he will not be ready for the club's first preseason game due to a foot contusion. Still, Parrish is unlikely to beat him out, but could give Sav Rocca fits.
* Two rookies that have started to make an impact at Eagles training camp are offensive tackle and undrafted rookie Austin Howard and cornerback Trevard Lindley. Howard, is a 6-foot-7, 333-pound left tackle who has the agility to get to the next level and power to maul defenders. He looks like a very nice backup and potentially a solid starter in the NFL in time. It would not be shocking if the Eagles elect to keep him over King Dunlap. As for Lindley, he is picking up things at a rapid pace. He has been in the right position and had some good reads on routes. He probably is not going to supplant Ellis Hobbs as the starter (having a good camp to by the way), but he has a chance to be the biggest steal in the Eagles draft class. Fans should remember, if Lindley leaves after his junior year, he is a late first/early second round pick.
* Lastly, the offensive line looked good and bad. There seems to be no consistency or continuity along the line. This could be huge problems for the Birds if they do not get their starting five on the field for at least a couple of practices and one preseason game.