Update on Injured Eagles, Camp observations, Madden and Goodell Arrive At Leigh
By Lance Epstein
In just a little over a week of training camp, the Eagles have compiled quite a list of injuries. Fortunately, none of them have been season ending and all of the players who have gone down appear to be getting better.
Wide receiver DeSean Jackson missed his third straight day of practice, but Andy Reid confirms that his back spasms are improving. While Jackson is not back, Stewart Bradley made it back onto the field to participate in the morning practice. However, there was no tackling involved.
As for the three players (Asante Samuel, Mike Bell and Macho Harris) with hamstring strains all of them are expected to be back to practice in the next couple of days. Although Harris has the most serious hamstring problem, which Reid said would take a bit longer to recover from than the other two players.
The competition at center might have gotten a little lighter considering A.Q. Shipley suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss a good portion of training camp. Shipley is not he only offensive lineman with injuries. Stacy Andrews is suffering from a should problem, but Reid says he is not worried about his starting right guard.
Finally, backup defensive tackle Antonio Dixon missed practiced with a concussion after being hit in the head yesterday at practice.
* Eagles head coach Andy Reid decided to take it easy on his team on Tuesday. There wasno live hitting drills after three previous days of hitting. This has many fans saying "thank you lord," after all the injuries the Eagles have sustained in the past week.
* With starting center Jamaal Jackson probably out for the first month of the season, the Eagles have C/G Nick Cole exchanging snaps with Kevin Kolb. Certainly the exchanging of the ball from the center to the quarterback is a overlooked facet of the game of football. Unfortunately, Cole and Kolb have been off in their timing. Today, Kolb fumbled a snap from under center and then on two consecutive shotgun formations the ball nearly hit the ground. Of course, more snaps have been good than bad, but all it only takes is one horrible exchange to turn the momentum and outcome of the game.
* If the Eagles expect to be a dynamic offense this year then LeSean McCoy must learn to pick up the blitzes and be lined up right. While he looked adequate in picking up LB Ernie Sims, he needs to get better. In a game, he is not going to know where it is coming from and must recognize blitz pick up before the play begins. This was one of the most underrated parts of Brian Westbrook's game. Additionally, it would help if offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg did not have to line him up right.
* Maybe it is the hot weather or maybe it is the competitive nature of the young Eagles, but there was almost another fight between a wide receiver and cornerback. Jeremy Maclin was going up against Dimitri Patterson when the two nearly mixed it up after Maclin made a nice catch over the middle of the field. There were no punches thrown, but both players grab each other and would not let go. Eventually WRs Riley Cooper and Jason Avant pulled Maclin away. Meanwhile it seemed like the entire Eagles defense was behind their guy Patterson. However, safety Quintin Mikell and Avant tried to make light of the situation by throwing a fake hey-maker at Avant and the two laughed about it.
* A rookie that could make a nice contribution on offense this year is TE Clayton Harbor. Each day the young tight end seems to gain a better understanding of the offense and shows more confidence. He is getting more playing time due to the injuries to Martin Rucker and Brent Celek missing time due to dehydration. This is not a good sign for Cornelius Ingram, who is coming back from a torn ACL.
* Yesterday saw starting right tackle Winston Justice get abused by rookie DE Brandon Graham. Today, Justice returned the favor as he manhandled Graham on a couple of plays. One play he threw him to the ground and on another he stood the rookie straight up. Still, Justice needs to be even better on the outside with the pass rushers on the Eagles' schedule.
* Just would like to thank the troops overseas defending our great country since it is the annual "Military Day," at training camp. By far the loudest ovation of the day was to the men in uniform.
Goodell and Madden Coming to Bethlehem:
On Tuesday, the Eagles are hosting very important guests at training camp. Both NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Hall of Fame coach/announcer John Madden are expected to arrive in Leigh at any minute.
Currently, both are on tour of NFL training camps to meet with coaches, team personnel, players and even the fans. While Goddell is expected to talk to every player on the Eagles, he is going to check up on backup quarterback Michael Vick to see how he is doing.
The meeting is nothing bad so fans do not need to worry. It is just a friendly visit. As for Madden, maybe some of his greatness will rub off on Reid's coaching. Hopefully, he and Merrill Reese are going to give a play-by-play of the practice.