Observations from Wednesday Morning (8/5) Practice:
I just posted a FanPost about negative concerns, I just copied this off of a guy who was at camp today and posted his review, he is normally very critical and subjective as well... Enjoy
Solid two hour practice on the fields of Goodman Campus this morning. It was a 30+ day at practice so many veterans such as Donovan McNabb and Kevin Curtis were not in attendance. The only guy over 30 years old that was on the field was AJ Feeley because the team needed somebody to split the reps with Kevin Kolb.
Macho Harris returned to practice today and played S with the 3rd team. Brian Westbrook, Victor Abiamiri, Trevor Laws, Matt Schoebel, Jason Peters, Shawn Andrews, and Cornelius Ingram did not participate in practice due to injury. Ingram had his left knee wrapped but it didn't seem too serious. He was out on the field jogging around throughout the morning.
The guy that everyone wanted to see this morning was Jeremy Maclin. And if you were at Lehigh, you saw a lot of him. Maclin was all over the field this morning. He ran mostly with the 2nd team (alongside Reggie Brown in a two WR set) and was opposite DeSean Jackson on a couple of plays. The first route I saw Maclin run today was sloppy. It was a deep slant and he seemed to curve off the route rather that cutting on a sharp angle. I guess a coach got in his ear because after that play, he was very crisp in his route running. Maclin caught a nice deep ball from AJ Feeley where he just blew past the DB and showed good hands adjusting on an underthrown pass from Feeley. He lined up on both the left and right sides today. He wasn't in the slot at all. He ran a very crisp route going inside and then cutting to the back of the endzone for a TD pass from Kolb. Also ran a great in and out and caught a deep pass over the middle from Kolb.
When the team went to 11 on 11, Maclin lined up wide left. They called a WR screen and here is where you really saw Jeremy's ability. He caught the ball, turned up field, and weaved his way through traffic for a big gain. Maclin was also talking a lot with WR coach Dave Culley and DeSean Jackson. At one point during 7 on 7 drills, the offense only had 6 guys and Reid had to yell for Jeremy to come back onto the field. After practice concluded, Maclin remained on the field for 15 minutes working on routes with Kevin Kolb and AJ Feeley. He then got instruction from Dave Culley and Todd Pinkston..... I'm not sure that's a good thing.
While most eyes were on the rookie WR, it was 2nd year wideout Desean Jackson who stole the show today. He was all over the field making big plays. Jackson was mostly matched up with Asante Samuel throughout the morning. On the first play of 11 on 11, Jackson ran a deep curl route to the corner and made the catch before going out of bounds. There was a lot of jawing back and forth between Desean and Asante. "All day! All day!" "Keep it coming!" Well...Desean kept it coming. Desean had 3 touchdown catches of 55 yards during the practice. He just seemed to outrun the defense and Kolb and Feeley hit him for TDs. Two of his touchdowns came on back to back bombs. Needless to say, the trash talking never stopped.
While Desean had a great practice, the defense really shined today. I'm not sure if it is the make shift offensive line or the fact that Kolb and Feeley hold onto the ball for way too long, but there is constant pressure in the backfield. The defense was in the nickel for most of the morning so Omar Gaither was in at LB with the 1st team. He had a great diving deflection on a pass over the middle to Brent Celek which really pumped up the defense. Gaither also called out "watch the reverse" on a play where Lesean McCoy was in the backfield and Lorenzo Booker was out wide. Kolb snapped it and Gaither broke into the backfield and tackled Booker on the reverse for a big loss. Joe Mays was in with the 2nd team at LB in the nickel. He was beat on a crossing route to Lorenzo Booker on one play and didn't really stand out for much of the practice.
The defense as a whole is incredibly vocal. Asante Samuel wouldn't shut up all practice. Broderick Bunkley was also loud throughout the morning. Omar Gaither is a clear leader when he is out on the field. At one point, new acquired DE Jason Babin was repeatedly beating OT Chris Patrick off the ball. Asante and Bunkley were really egging Patrick on. "You can't stop him!" Babin beat him again. On 2nd down, Babin got by him and Patrick shoved him. Then on 3rd down, Babin beat him yet again and a fight broke out between the two. Samuel and Bunkley jumped up and ran onto the field to help break it up.
I really want to like Kevin Kolb but he is having a really rough week. He started off practice with a couple really good deep throws down the sideline to Desean. But he also had some bad throws. Had Desean wide open down the middle of the field and overthrew him. He had Hank Baskett open on the sideline and badly underthrew him. Akeem Jordan made a great diving deflection on the play. He also takes way too long to make the throw and often just checks down. Kolb looks really good in 1 on 1 drills but when he is put under center, I still don't have confidence in the kid. AJ Feeley is what he is.
I know somebody had asked about Jack Ikegounu so I tried to concentrate on watching him a bit. The good news is that he has nothing on his surgically repaired knee. No brace. Not even a sleeve. He looked solid in cone drills. Was crisp in his back peddling and made really sharp cuts. Also plays physical. However, he still didn't get enough reps against WRs for me to really know where he's at. I think the preseason games are going to be key for him.
Reggie Brown had another good practice. Ran a great route over the middle and made a tough catch in traffic. Of course, 3 plays later he dropped a ball that he should have caught. As I've said before, Reggie is out there busting his butt to make the team. Even doing everything he can on special teams. He's not great but he could be a valuable player for this squad.
I watched a great drill where the RB/FB worked on blocking. Surprisingly (or maybe not) the best RB for the entire practice in picking up the block was Lesean McCoy. He just sealed the oncoming defender and never let him get free. Really strong engage and wasn't afraid to stick him to the ground. The very first rep Quintin Demps came up and McCoy pummeled him to the ground. Then he had a very aggressive block on Moise Fokou. He then beat Omar Gaither and Demps again. No defender ever got past him to the QB. I can't say enough good things about this kid right now. He has major potential and I think he can help from day 1.
Some other notes from the blocking drills: Joe Mays looked good. Slipped while trying to get past Brent Celek but then drove Kyle Eckle to the ground and got past Eugene Bright. Chris Gocong also flies off the corner. I can see why he was such a great DE at Cal Poly. He burned right past everyone except Leonard Weaver. Weaver got to him and they engage in a great battle pushing back and forth. Quinten Mikell burned Eugene Bright. Bright has done nothing to earn a spot on this team. Sean Jones knocked over Lorenzo Booker. Booker showed once again that blocking is not his strength. Eldra Buckley had a tough time with the blocking. He was bull dozed by Charleston Hughes and then even got knocked over by Asante Samuel. Tough day for Buckley.
Over on the other field was 1 on 1 battles between the WRs and the DBs. Here are my notes:
Hank Baskett beats Asante Samuel on an inside slant (press coverage)
Reggie Brown beats Joselio Hanson on deep route - crisp route running
Quintin Demps with outstanding coverage on Jason Avant. Stuck with him the whole way until the play was called dead.
Jeremy Maclin runs right past Parker and AJ Feeley throw is too long. Fan yells "you would have caught up to that if you were in camp on time!"
Desean pushes off Asante and makes the tip toe catch on the sideline. Asante not happy.
Maclin burns Jake Ikeguonu deep. Inside shuffle and Ike falls down.
Maclin beats Quintin Demps on a inside slant.
Avant gets his revenge on Demps and makes a catch on the sideline.
Jason Babin is wearing #94. Matt Wilheim is wearing #59.
Jason Avant was holding kicks during practice.
Brent Celek was popped by Moise Fou during non contact and was shaken up. He went down but returned later on.
Funny exchange from Andy Reid. A false start is called on Max Jean Gilles and Reid yells out, "Get another guard in here! Max is too tired to think! Can't think when you're tired." The very next play, Feeley completes a pass over the middle to Hank Baskett and Reid yells, "Holding on the RG. Max, get back in here!"
However, the best news of practice today occured after the morning session ended. Brian Westbrook came out onto the field and ran through drills for a solid 30 minutes. He started off on a side field with Rick Burkholder doing condition drills, but about 10 minutes in, Andy Reid came over. They took him over to field two, set up cones, and really made him run. He was weaving in and out of cones and making very sharp cuts. Brian looked fluid and it looks like he is well on his way to being back in the lineup.
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