By Lance Epstein
Flight Night Curse?:
After the 10-10-10 morning practice session, head coach Andy Reid met the media and was eager to discuss the Eagles Flight! Night. The annual event takes place tonight at Lincoln Financial Field at 7 p.m.
For the new players it is a chance to see their new digs and to see how much Philadelphia loves their football. As for the returning players, it is a time to get away from the brutal days of training camp at Leigh and even sleep in their own beds for the night.
"I think it's a great changeup for the players," said Reid who is anxious to see his squad in front of the hometown crowd. "It gets them on the home field before you get to the pre-season games and it gives them, especially the new guys, an opportunity to get a little bit of the lay of land of the stadium and the locker room and then the fans, how close they are to the field. The whole thing, it just puts them in a place where we're going to ask them to perform at their best and it gives them a little heads up beforehand."
However, there is some caution for Eagles fans with the experience. Last year, fans saw starting middle linebacker Stewart Bradley tear his ACL at the Flight Night affair. Although Reid said Bradley would practice tonight and he thinks the injury was a fluke type of injury.
"There was no contact," said Reid when talking about Bradley's knee injury, which occurred last Aug. 2. "It was a freak thing."
Nonetheless Reid also said that the team would be in pads, tackling and not fearing the dreaded injury bug. Additionally, he proclaimed that the event is exciting for fans, players and coaches.
"It should be exciting for our fans to come see that," he said. "When they (players) get in the stadium and in front of the fans, they do get fired up."
Hopefully for Reid his decision to include tackling will not backfire and the team manages to get through the scrimmage without an injury. If the Eagles lose another player for the season due to the event, it might be safe to say Flight Night! may be grounded.
Lurie Makes Bold Comments On McNabb, Kolb And Super Bowl:
Lost in the state of the Eagles address yesterday, which actually seemed more like the state of Michael Vick address, by owner Jeffrey Lurie were his comments on Donovan McNabb, Kevin Kolb and winning Super Bowls.
Before discussing how long the Eagles have been trying to ship McNabb out of Philadelphia, he took the time to thank his classy quarterback for the excitement he brought to the franchise over his 11 years.
"The best quarterback the Eagles have ever had," said Lurie about his former quarterback. "Classy. Terrific in every way," Lurie said. "Did not win a Super Bowl. A very extraordinary decade, by any measure. Except for the lack of a Super Bowl championship."
In fact, Lurie stated if the team could be as successful with new starting quarterback Kolb then they should be on their way to multiple Super bowl titles.
"If we can get to the championship game five times in the next 10 years, like we did the last 10, we're going to win some Super Bowls," he said.
Even with McNabb's accomplishments, Lurie and the organization had been trying to shop "best quarterback" in franchise history since the 2008 offseason. However, Lurie said that it was nearly impossible due to McNabb’s value being shot with him coming off a torn ACL (suffered against the Titans).
"Donovan, coming off the ACL, maybe didn't have the league-wide [market] value," Lurie said.
So why did the Eagles finally decide to pull the trigger on the McNabb deal this past offseason? Lurie explains it was the right timing for both the organization and that it was natural evolution of things in the NFL. He even compared the Eagles quarterback dilemma to Green Bay's situation with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre a couple years ago.
"Like Green Bay did with Aaron (Rodgers) and Brett (Favre). It was the right timing to let the young quarterback really thrive," Lurie said. "There wasn't the feeling that we would drop off in any way."
Furthermore, Lurie believes that the value they got back in return (37th overall and a third-rounder/fourth) is equivalent to that of a first-round pick.
Still, Lurie is extremely proud of the growth and success that the Eagles have endured over the past decade. Nevertheless, he knows there is still one goal remaining for his franchise, which is the obsession of him and the entire city.
"Very, very proud of the performance over the last decade," Lurie said. "We have one remaining goal. That's to win a championship. And follow that with more. It's the sole obsession.”
Injured Eagles Improving:
Each day it seems like a nother Eagles gets carted off the field and the injury list is never ending.
The last two days there has actually been good news on the injury front. Yesterday WR DeSean Jackson, CB Asante Samuel, TE Martin Rucker and RB Mike Bell were running sprints during practice. Today at practice, WR Jeremy Maclin, A.Q. Shipley, defensive end Antonio Dixon and Macho Harris were working out in the indoor facility.
This is terrific news for the Eagles especially on Maclin. When the injury occurred it appeared to be a devastating one. Now he is saying he hopes to be back on the field soon and thankful for the opportunity.
"Just takes a little time to heal. I'll be back out here in a little bit," Maclin said. " I'm blessed and I'm thankful that it didn't turn out as bad as it could have. I'm happy. It is what it is. I wish I was out there competing, but now I can get better and get out there as soon as I can."
Maclin explained his relief when head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder called him with the MRI results.
"I'm happy. Rick called me and explained it to me. It was just a sigh of relief."
While the status on Maclin is good, the news along the offensive line is still not great. Guard Todd Herremans and center Jamaal Jackson are still giant question marks (both currently on the PUP list). When Reid was asked about their possible return dates he dodged the question.
Nonetheless, the offensive line is expected to get (G/T) Stacy Andrews back from his shoulder injury. Andrews said he feels good, is doing every drill that is asked of him and feels more comfortable in the system.
"I feel good, I'm getting reps in and last year I was just rehabbing and doing individuals with (offensive line coach) Juan (Castillo), and wasn't really getting any teamwork in," Andrews said. This year's different, I'm doing every drill, taking every team rep and getting it in, I'm feeling good.
"It was coming back from the injury, not enough game, and learning the techniques, those three things. So that kind of slowed me down a little bit but this year I'm in the mix with everything and I'm good. [...] I feel ten times better, I got a full offseason in with Juan and working with the guys on the offense and that helped out a whole lot."
Hobbs Job To Lose At RCB:
One of the toughest jobs in sports is replacing a legend. While CB Ellis Hobbs is not supplanting a legend in Sheldon Brown (traded to Cleveland during the offseason), but he has giant shoes to fill since Brown was the most consistent defender on the roster for the last couple of years.
On the other hand, head coach Andy Reid says he loves what he has seen out of his starting right corner. He also added that as of today, it was Hobbs job to lose.
"It is right now, yeah," Reid said. "I love his attitude, too. He's a feisty little dude. He likes to play the game. And he's not going to take anything from anybody and I appreciate that."
Most fans have been weary of Hbbs since his season ended last year due to a severe neck injury. Furthermore, his last full season as a starter in New England, he gave up the most touchdown passes of any cornerback in the league.
Yet fans might not need to be so worried with Hobbs since he has been one of the better players in camp thus far. Every practice he seems to be improving, adjusting to what he sees and has even brought a physical aspect to the Eagles cornerback position.
Additionally, his competition has not come close to beating him out. Joselio Hanson has filled in for the injured Asante Samuel. It has been clear from his play on the outside and the coaching staff that they prefer to keep him exclusively on the inside while running Nickel and Dime packages. Also, rookie Trevard Lindley has been impressive, but in brief moments. And finally, Macho Harris' hamstring injury has prevented him from challenging Hobbs.
Either way, if Hobbs can continue to flourish on the practice field and carry it over to the preseason games then fans have one less thing to worry about heading into the season opener against Green Bay.