I don't actually disagree with much that Brandon wrote today in his training camp notes, mostly because I stood next to him and kibbitzed the whole time. Along with BGN alum Jimmy Kempski, we formed a wall of tall reporters along Chip Kelly's right flank at his press conference (I'm shortest at 6'2"), but still couldn't manage to score a question. I did however, get CSN's John Gonzalez to wonder whether it's ethical to play defense on another reporter's question, you know, with the quick hand over the mouth, or a swim move to jump in front of him.
I do think that the red zone drill, where BLG talked about Foles running into the end zone, may have been designed to work on his running. The first two plays from scrimmage -- they started at the twenty -- were QB keepers, and I can't believe Foles would grab three cheap wins in one drill. The red zone is one situation where Foles keeping might make sense. To my eye, Sanchez should have kept and run it in on a read-option inside the Bears' 7 yard line, instead of handing off to Tucker for a two yard gain. Maybe this was a reaction to that play.
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28,000 fans for a practice?! We're talking about practice. Goes to show we have the best fans in the league #EaglesNation— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) August 10, 2014
Quick! Somebody get a reaction quote from Allen Iverson!
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The day started on an emotional high note, with various former players being introduced to the large crowd's applause. They all ran out of the inflatable Eagle's head, which is exciting. Being a weirdo though, I thought it looked like a giant bird puking up men, perhaps for little Eaglets to eat. That's why no one hires me for promotions, I guess.
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Ifeanyi Momah is very tall, and doing a good job of using that height while receiving. At the same time, I was impressed that he made two shoestring catches in the Chicago game. I agree with BLG that special teams will give Jeff Maehl the edge for that last WR slot, but maybe Momah has a ST role on the kick-blocking team. Consider this front line:
- Alejandro Villanueva (6'9" 277)
- Frances Mays (6'9 291)
- Michael Bamiro (6'8" 340)
- Ifeanyi Momah (6'7" 239)
You'd need the wall of tall reporters to cover that bunch.
After completing drills, Jordan Matthews walked back to the line like any normal person, instead of super-hustling as has been his style. Did his disappointing debut in Chicago break his overachieving spirit? Or has the press just been overhyping the Beaver Cleaver great attitude angle? I'm guessing the latter. Nick Foles did run out his drills to the end zone, though, as advertised.
Coach Kelly spoke highly of Mark Sanchez, saying that "he's a real quick thinker, and he makes decisive decisions." This reminded me of Kelly's earlier comments about Nick Foles, who he described as "Not fleet of foot, but fleet of mind." Except that in this case, Kelly also described Sanchez as "very athletic when you watch him drop, he's got some pop in his feet when he gets to the top of his drop, he goes through his progressions, gets the ball out quickly, he's got a real quick release."
Now I'm not suggesting Sanchez will push Foles for the starting job this year, though let the record show that I first tweeted "Quarterback Controversy!" - seconds ahead of Kempski - during the second quarter Friday. But here's my theory on Sanchez. I think it's clear that he has both the talent and leadership qualities to start in this league, but playing for the Jets, he lost his confidence -- in large part, as Brandon noted, because of the very weak talent surrounding him in New York.
So I see Sanchez as having a huge upside, being primarily a psychological rehabilitation project. Chip Kelly has been good on that score, showing a deft touch with developing rookies, not so slow that they never get a chance, but not so fast that they get embarrassed and lose spirit.
He sensed that Lane Johnson could weather the inevitable rough spots as a rookie right tackle, but brought on Isaac Sopoaga -- a very experienced nose tackle -- to let Bennie Logan get some solid experience before throwing him in the deep end of the pool. And he eased in Zach Ertz perfectly, overcoming early drops to build playing time and yardage in the second half of the season. All three players ended up doing better than anyone expected, yet protected against the ego-crushing force of an NFL rookie flop.
I'm guessing that Kelly, a former quarterback himself, can work the same magic on Sanchez and restore his moxie. I don't see a quarterback controversy brewing, but if Foles washes out or proves "just OK," the Eagles may have the QB they want already on the roster. Sanchez is never going to beat Michael Vick in a foot race, but his 4.88 40-yard dash at the Combine was a lot better than Foles' 5.14.
(Foles said his goal in the 40 was just to finish. JK.)
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Last year, reporters loved to write about the loud, wildly varied music that Chip Kelly blared during practices. Well, just because it doesn't get talked about doesn't mean it's not there. I can tell you that the "Rock of Ages" style 80s buttrock is almost gone from the playlist, thankfully; only Kenny Loggin's "Highway to the Danger Zone" from the movie "Top Gun" survives. Based on today's songs, Chip Kelly has become a devotee of electronic dance music, probably swayed by Matt Barkley's taste for EDM. We heard J. Pearl's "It's Getting Physical," Sonny Wilson's "Booyah," a Daft Punk club mix, and Darius and Finlay's "Do It All Night, vol. 3 Mix." Reggaeton was well represented too, with "Una Vaina Loca" and "Super Estrella" (featuring Omega) by Fuego. At age 50, Chip was around for the rave scene of the early 1990s. Maybe he has a wild side we haven't heard about?