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Camp Confidential 8/17: Hobbs, Samuel Miss Practice, Injury Updates And Camp Observations

Camp Confidential 8/17: Hobbs, Samuel Miss Morning Practice, Injury Updates and Camp Observations

By Lance Epstein

Samuel, Hobbs Out Of Morning Practice:

On Tuesday, the Eagles saw both of their starting cornerbacks miss practice, but for entirely different reasons.

CB Ellis Hobbs was not at practice due to an undisclosed illness. He is expected to be OK and ready for the Eagles preseason game on Friday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

As for Asante Samuel, he left practice with a hamstring injury. The good news is he did walk off the field under his own power. Since the injury occurred, the Eagles have not updated his situation.

Nevertheless Samuel dropped in a quote on his entire situation.

"I'm getting too old for this," Samuel said about doing two-a-days.With Samuel and Hobbs out, Joselio Hanson and Dimitri Patterson filled in for them. It is important that both of these players stay healthy for the Eagles. Hanson has not been the same player since his four-game suspension last year and Patterson is a bit of a gamble. Nonetheless, rookie Trevard Lindley has been very impressive, but is still learning how to be a NFL cornerback.

Injury Updates:

** RB LeSean McCoy returned to practice and looked sharp. Yesterday, he was out with a quad contusion. He gives the Eagles a legitimate receiving threat out of the backfield.

** Backup TE Cornelius Ingram has had a very tough camp. He was limited in practice due to the swelling in his twice surgically repaired knee. It is not looking good for Ingram winning the No. 2 tight end job especially with Clayton Harbor practicing with the first team on two-tight end formations.

** Still on the sideline is running back Mike Bell, who is out with a hamstring strain. While Bell is expected to be the team's No. 2 back, Martell Mallet, Eldra Buckley and now J.J. Arrington are making a case for that job.

Camp Observations:

** DT Antonio Dixon, who just returned to practice after suffering a concussion, has made his mark on the Eagles. He has gone from the sidelines back to the swing of things without missing a beat. He has been lining up with the second team defense alongside DT Trevor Laws on the inside. The two have been stuffing the run and getting some good pressure on a consistent basis. The Eagles defensive line could be one of the deepest in the league with Dixon and Laws stepping up.

** It was reminiscent of Donovan McNabb-to-DeSean Jackson. Kevin Kolb threw a bomb down the field to Jackson for a touchdown over CB Asante Samuel. This marks the second time in three days that Jackson has burned Samuel. People who are questioning Kolb’s arm-strength should not be, he has made every throw that is expected of a NFL starting quarterback.

** Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott might be throwing a curveball out as he switched up the defensive lin
e on the Eagles Nickel packages. At the start of camp, he had Trent Cole at right defensive end, Trevor Laws at DT along with Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Brandon Graham at left defensive tackle. Now, rookie Brandon Graham has replaced Te'o-Nesheim on the inside and Juqua Parker is at left defensive end. One of the reasons the Eagles drafted Te'o-nesheim was for this situation. The Eagles planned on using him in a Darren Howard role, which was to play both defensive tackle and defensive end. Fans might be wondering if Parker has been so impressive they have to get him on the field at all cost or if Te'o-Nesheim is slowing down due to not missing a practice.

** Do not be surprised if you see the Eagles linebackers blitzing even more this season compared to last year. Last year’s depleted corps did not have the athleticism, size, cover skills and speed to be blitzing on a consistent basis. With Ernie Sims, Stewart Bradley and Akeem Jordan, the Eagles have the agility to drop back in coverage or hurry the quarterback. This unit allows the Eagles to send a linebacker, but have another backer pick up the blitzing backers player in open space. In fact, McDermott dialed up a play today, where Sims blitzed up the middle and Bradley dropped back in coverage. This might be the best and deepest corps of linebackers the Eagles have possessed in Reid's era.

** Speaking of linebackers, rookie Keenan Clayton has been playing much better as of late. In the preseason game, he was flying all over the field and making plays on special teams. Today, Clayton put on a show covering running backs out in the flat. If Sims has the same problem he had with the Lions during the regular season, Clayton could be vaulted into the starting WILL LB role.

** The play of the day came from the two stars of the Eagles first preseason game. RB Martell Mallet took a hand off and appeared like he was going to go for a minimal gain, but then he flipped it back to QB Mike Kafka. Kafka threw a bomb of over 50 yards down the field to WR Chad Hall. Kafka put the ball over the outstretched arms of CB Geoff Pope and Hall caught it. After this happened, the wide receiving corps erupted. WRs Jason Avant, Hank Basket and DeSean Jackson ran out onto the field to congratulate Hall. With each passing day, it is becoming harder and harder for the Eagles to cut Hall. He can help on special teams to keep Jackson fresh and has become a threat at WR. Also, lost in the play was Mallet's ability to avoid a tackle and flip the ball back to Kafka. Both are deemed long shots to make the club, but have been more impressiv
e then some of the other rookies lately.

** The slogan is "you cannot make the club in the tub." While Nick Cole is going to make the 53-man roster, he might have lost the opportunity to be the Eagles starting center heading into the season. Mike McGlynn was knocking defenders around in the preseason and seems to be playing at a high level at practice. Additionally, the snap exchange between him and Kolb has been smooth. The ball has rarely touched the ground. He is expected to play the first half with the first unit. If he can protect Kolb against a strong Bengals defense like he did against the Jaguars, he could be a lock to be the starting center.

** A name that has rarely been mentioned during training camp has been CB Macho Harris. Today, he showed the reason the Eagles decided to move him back to corner. He got up into Riley Cooper's grill and jammed him at the line. Even though Harris is not the biggest corner he is not afraid to get physical. Not only can he be a physical cover corner, he showed good range as well. He made a pass deflection later in practice. With Harris' athleticism and physicality, he could be a very good slot corner for the Birds.

** Finally, the Eagles have scored with the first team red zone offense. That might be an exaggeration, but the first unit was efficient today. QB Kolb found Jackson open in the back of the end zone and dumped a ball off to RB J.J. Arrington for touchdowns. Hopefully, this breakthrough will carry over into the actual games. The Eagles need to get seven, not settle for three.

** Lastly, it is beginning to look like rookie TE Clayton Harbor has all the momentum in the competition for the No. 2 tight end position. Ingram is still struggling with a swollen knee and has been limited. However, Harbor gives the Eagles an array of options. He can lineup in two-tight end formations, a slot receiver and can also stay in and block. More importantly, he is a physically mauling type of blocker and does whatever the coaches ask of him. This could mean the end of the Ingram experiment. It would be a shame because Ingram has the talent to be a better player, but his knee just does not seem to be holding up.

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