Camp Confidential 8/15: Jackson, Herremans Practice, Injury Updates and Camp Observations
By Lance Epstein
Jackson, Herremans Practice:
For the first time all training camp, both center Jamaal Jackson and guard Todd Herremans practiced during the morning session. Both were activated off the PUP (physically unable to perform) list on Sunday.
Herremans was shockingly placed on the PUP list at the start of camp due to a foot problem that he suffered in the spring workouts. What makes his foot predicament more surprising is that both the Eagles and a foot specialist said Herremans was good to go. Neverthless, Herremans gives the Eagles a solid left guard, but can also be moved to tackle since he has the experience incase Jason Peters or Winston Justice goes down to injury.
As for Jackson, he missed the final two games of the Eagles season as he tore his ACL in week 16 against the Denver Broncos.
"It's been a grind," Jackson said. "You hate to go down with your team in prime position going to the playoffs. I still think about that last snap that I took and I still think about it every day. It's something that over time I'm going to have to forget. There's another season ahead."
Since the Dec. 26 game, he has been rehabbing his knee in hopes to play week one versus the Green Bay Packers.
"I'm still optimistic about it," said Andrews about a possible week one return. "But I have to check with surgeon Dr. (James) Andrews and (Eagles trainer) Rick (Burkhalter) and those guys and develop a plan. We implemented some today and we'll add a little bit more tomorrow.
This is huge news for the Eagles who went into their first preseason game with only three regulars along their offensive line (Winston Justice, Stacy Andrews and Jason Peters). Even with a makeshift line, QB Kevin Kolb and RB LeSean McCoy managed to be very effective in their limited time.
Yet the first unit offense did struggle mightily in the red zone. Moreover, the Eagles cannot count on their line holding up when the games start to count. In addition, they faced a weak Jacksonville Jaguars team, who is in rebuilding mode on defense and lacks a true pass rusher.
Still, head coach Andy Reid says there is no timetable for either offensive lineman's full return.
"We're just going to see. We're going to monitor them and see," Reid said
Besides the return of Jackson and Herremans, Reid said that backup center/guard Nick Cole is close to returning to the field. Cole has been out for over a week with knee swelling. He was expected to start until Jackson was able to make it back onto the field.
All in all, it is a good sign for Kolb and the Eagles to finally be getting two of their best 0-line players back. It might be the difference between field goals in the red zone and touchdowns.
** Free Safety Quintin Demps did not practice, meanwhile safety Antione Harris was placed on injured reserve. Harris was placed on IR with a Lisfranc foot sprain. Demps missed practiced with a knee sprained suffered against the Jaguars. The Eagles appear to be looking for a backup safety because they are getting awfully thin at the position.
** For the second time this camp, RB Mike Bell was carted off the field. The good news was Bell was on the practice field during the morning session as a full participant. The bad news is he went down after an hour and had to be examined. According to the Eagles and Reid, Bell has a minor calf strain. Still for Bell, this is not good considering RB Martell Mallett had a very impressive performance against he Jaguars. He seems to be one of those players that are made for the big stage. Additionally, he can do everything Bell does and is able to stay healthy. Do not be surprised if Mallett takes Bell's job.
** On the positive note, CB Macho Harris, DT Antonio Dixon and WR Hank Baskett returned to practice. All are expected to be in dogfights for their jobs especially Baskett since Riley Cooper, Kelley Washington and Chad Hall continue to wow the coaching staff.
** In a bit of sad news, P Ken Parrish was released. Remember the Eagles signed Parrish after working as a police officer. While Parrish was not expected to make the team with Sav Rocca on the roster, but fans had to be pulling for him. At least he has some tape to show other teams, which should be able to land him another job.
** Perhaps the most shocking news of the day comes from the practice field where CB Joselio Hanson broke up a pass intended for WR Jason Avant. Last week, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said that Avant had not dropped a pass at camp (around 70 catches or so). Today, Kolb threw a pass over the middle and Avant got his hands on it until Hanson poked it out. This is exceptional news for Hanson, who was beaten badly (and consistently) during Friday's preseason game. Hanson needs to step his game up if he expects to maintain his spot as the team's No. 3 corner. However, Avant claims that Hanson caused a fumble, not a drop.
** Should fans be worried about the Eagles red zone woes? Well on Friday, the first team offense settled for two field goals in two trips to the red zone. In practice this morning, the red zone offense looked just bad. First, TE Brent Celek dropped a ball in the end zone. Then Kolb misfired on a couple of balls and the running game was stopped in its tracks. The first team defense shutout the Eagles, so that is good. Nonetheless, the Eagles have seen this problem before with Donovan McNabb at quarterback.
** MLB Stewart Bradley is definitely back. During the practice, Bradley leaped into the air and knocked down a pass intended for TE Clayton Harbor. It was an amazing play for a guy coming off a torn ACL. It is also good to see him not thinking twice about making a move.
** Safety Kurt Coleman continues to be impressive. In practice he stopped an end around to the speedy WR Chad Hall in its track. More impressive then sniffing out the end around was Coleman making the open field tackle on Hall. Coleman has shown his high IQ and has been a player who just seems to be making plays left and right. He should absorb the defensive playbook/scheme and watch how Quintin Mikell plays the strong safety position this year because it could be his job to lose next year.** WR/KR/PR Chad Hall has a tough road to make the roster with all the talent the Eagles possess at wide receiver. With that said, Hall's ability to be a returner (both kick-offs and punts) and a gadget play type of player makes him very valuable. Since Demps is injured and the Eagles fear that Jackson could injure himself on special teams, Hall could make the 53-man roster.