The Philadelphia Eagles held their first mandatory minicamp practice open to the media on Tuesday and I was there to soak it all in. It was a fairly long practice (nearly two hours or so). Keep in mind that these are all still non-contact drills at this point. Players aren't allowed to wear shells yet. There's only so much to be gleaned from players running around in shorts, but here's what I observed.
• As always, we start with a weather update. The sun was out and it was hot. Lots of sweat. I can't imagine how the players feel. Then again, I'm not on the sports science program.
• Eagles head coach Chip Kelly spoke before practice. He'll speak again before practice on Wednesday and Thursday. He started off today by saying he watched the USA beat Ghana yesterday. Like a Real American, he was happy to see they won.
• All 90 players participated in practice. Notable returns include rookie Ed Reynolds, who missed most of OTAs (except for last Thursday) due to finishing up classes at Stanford. Safety Nate Allen was also back on the field after missing last Tuesday's OTA practice with an illness.
• At one point during practice I saw Donnie Jones come over the sideline where the media was standing and talk to Philly.com's Jimmy Kempski. This love affair is getting ridiculous and needs to be stopped.
• Let's get back to the actual football. QB Nick Foles started 7 on 7s by almost throwing an interception. Cary Williams jumped a short route and got his hands on the ball but dropped it. The pass was intended for Riley Cooper. It's only minicamp but I have to say that I've seen Foles throw more interceptions and near-interceptions than I did during last year's training camp. I wouldn't make a huge deal out of this but it bears watching. Later on in practice Foles rolled out to the right and threw across his body to hit Maclin over the middle. Foles looks good throwing on the run to his right.
• Kicker battle update: Alex Henery looked really good on field goal attempts today. He made every attempt, including one from about 50 where it hit the crossbar and bounced over. Carey Spear (Murderleg) only missed one but it was a complete shank. When it came to kickoffs, Spear may have had the upper hand. I didn't see any of Henery's kicks go out of the back of the end zone. One of Spear's definitely did.
• Mark Sanchez threw directly to Earl Wolff on one play with no wide receiver in sight. There must have been a miscommunication, but still... terrible decision to throw directly to a defender. Outside of that, not a terrible practice for the veteran QB. Later, G.J. Kinne was intercepted by Cary Williams. Ifeanyi Momah was the target. Good practice for Cary.
• Speaking of Momah, I already noted that he looks better than he did last year. He stood out to me today yet again. I still think he has an uphill battle for a roster spot so let's not get too carried away.
• The Eagles did the trash can drill today where the QBs are expected to throw into it. I didn't see Foles throw but Sanchez was 2/3, Kinne was 2/3, and Barkley was 1/3.
• A rare mistake from LeSean McCoy came when he dropped an easy pass in the flat. I was going to make a joke about how his roster spot isn't safe but then he followed up that error with a great catch on the next play. I think Shady's safe.
• Matt Barkley looked solid to me today. At one point he took reps with the second group but then returned to the third team lineup. He definitely gets the ball out quicker than any other Eagles QB. I didn't see too many bad throws from him save for a deep attempt where he actually overthrew his receiver.
• Arrelious Benn jumped up to make a good leaping catch in traffic. He was tripped up by inadvertent contact but he got up fine. Benn has had some good practices in the last few weeks.
• Trent Cole smothered Riley Cooper in coverage on one play. The Foles pass intended for the Eagles WR fell incomplete.
• I noticed rookie WR Josh Huff get some reps with the second team. Previously he had been running with the third group most often.
• Chris Polk fumbled in the backfield. It may have been a bad toss/handoff but I couldn't see with players in the way.
• Emil Igwenagu dropped a Kinne pass. Iggy had a lot of drops in training camp last year but made the team anyway. I'm not so sure that will be the case this time around.
• A number of reporters noted that veteran CB Nolan Carroll had a good practice. I didn't notice it myself today but I have seen moments where Carroll stands out. He could seriously contend for a starting cornerback job.
• At one point after practice, a certain unnamed reporter had just finished asking Eagles OLB Travis Long some questions. He left the mini media scrum with a "Thanks, Bryan." The reporter mistook Long for fellow Eagles OLB Bryan Braman. The worst was he didn't realize the mistake until he walked away and someone corrected him. I won't reveal which reporter made this egregious error, but I figured I'd make a guide to help him out in the future.
Up next: The Eagles have two more mandatory minicamp practices this week.
Remaining Eagles offseason workout schedule:
Mandatory Minicamp: June 18-19.