Today was another day of Eagles training camp practice. There's a lot to talk about, so let's dive right in:
• Donovan McNabb officially retired as an Eagle today. Eagles owner Jeff Lurie announced that his number (5) will be retired. That's awesome. I saw Donny Mac in the media room (recording a radio segment, I think?) as I was picking up my things to leave. I also saw him in the tunnel of The Linc yesterday. There's a certain level of professionalism to be maintained as a media member, but I can't lie: it's really cool seeing one of your favorite players growing up standing only a couple feet away from you.
• The Eagles had pads on yesterday at The Linc but weren't very physical. There wasn't full on tackling to the ground today, but there were some bigger hits that took place. More on that later.
• One of the first things I saw today was a RB drill where the ball carriers had some kind of rope tied around them and a player would be behind them pulling that rope. Here's video of what I'm talking about. According to Jeff McLane of the Inquirer, Chip said RB coach Duce Staley came up with this drill.
• QB UPDATE: Nick Foles is now a running QB, apparently. OK I'm exaggerating, but he fooled the entire defense on one rep with a keeper on the read-option. 10 easy wide open yards right there for the future track star. Later in the practice, there was a rep where Foles took a long time to throw that ball and it almost got picked off by Boykin. Bad decision. Vick had a play where he made a "horrible TD pass". Jimmy has more info on that in his notes.
• Option play! Vick was lined up in the shotgun with Damaris in motion running behind him, Vick snaps the ball, runs left and pitches the ball to a trailing Damaris. The play wasn't very successful (gained a yard or two at most).
• 2nd year CB Brandon Boykin is having a tremendous camp. He's constantly breaking up passes and showing activity around the ball. A couple other reporters have remarked that they haven't seen Boykin been beat by a WR yet, and I can't say they're wrong. There was one rep where Boykin covered DeSean deep. DeSean got by Boykin (as he does to every NFL CB) but Boykin did a good job of making it close as possible. The intended pass ended up incomplete.
• WR stuff: Damaris is continuing to have a good camp. Had a deep catch from Vick. Greg Salas continues to make catches. As Jimmy Kempski noted while standing next to me, he seems like a guy who could have a great camp but be cut anyway. Riley Cooper made some nice grabs today. With Maclin's injury, Cooper stepping up would certainly benefit the team. Cooper's highlight of the day was a one handed grab over the middle of the field in traffic. He got some quality yards after the catch too. Jason Avant is still very much Jason Avant. He makes tough catches look easy. It's tough to see how he gets cut. I think a trade might be the only way he doesn't make the Eagles roster.
• Derek Carrier dropped a couple passes but did a nice job of getting open, per usual.
• I saw at least one run where S Patrick Chung lined up close to the line of scrimmage and "blitzed" the QB. Since QBs aren't allowed to be hit, it obviously didn't amount to much, but I thought it was an interesting look. Chung sure can hit people.
• The Eagles practiced kickoffs/kickoff coverage for the first time today.
HC Chip Kelly - (picture):
• On if the Eagles will tackle to the ground in practice: "No, we have four preseason games for that."
• On the subject of Maclin's injury, Chip talked about how he's a guy who asks "Why?" a lot. "Why do we do it this way?". He does this for the sake of rationalization. He said it's hard to rationalize a freak injury like Maclin's non-contact ACL tear.
• On 3 tight end sets, Chip said if there was a game today, Celek would be the in-line TE, Casey would be the H-back guy, and Ertz would be the outside guy.
• Chip said he's excited for the upcoming Eagles-Patriots joint practices (August 6th and 7th).
• Chip said practicing in front of the ~30,000 fans at The Linc yesterday was a good experience. Said it was good for the team to have some experience (especially the newer guys) in that atmosphere.
• On safety battle: Chip mentioned every safety by name and said there's definitely good competition there. He noted that DC Billy Davis has done a good job of rotating the safeties in order to evaluate all of them.
• Chip: "Boykin has the potential to play both [in the slot and on the outside]." To me, it sounds like the Eagles could use him in a number of roles on defense.
• Brandon Hughes left practice early and was doing work on the stationary bike. He returned to practice without pads on to watch from the sideline. Word is he's dealing with a hamstring injury.
• Jason Phillips got hurt in a special teams (kickoff) drill. He was down for a period of time, but then got up and walked over to the trainer's tent with assistance of Eagles personnel. After some time there he was driven by into the NovaCare facility on a cart. Word is that he's out for the year with an ACL tear. That's disappointing.
• Patrick Chung looked a little banged up after trying to defend a deep pass but didn't leave practice. Derek Carrier made contact with Trevard Lindley on a play and came up favoring his shoulder. Carrier's injury occurred late in the practice and I'm not sure he returned.
Up next: Off day tomorrow! Practice resumes Wednesday at NovaCare.
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