Today, yours truly is at Philadelphia Eagles training camp as a member of the media. I’ve been to camp numerous times before, but this is my first experience with media credentials.
Therefore, I went to this morning’s walk-through practice not knowing exactly what to expect. What I found (so far) is that everyone seems nice, helpful and informative.
And that the Lehigh University campus is a little confusing to navigate.
On the practice fields, there are defined areas where the media is allowed, but there is apparently a grey area or two as well.
For example, I was told I could walk up the middle between the two practice fields in the back, and then down either sideline of the main two practice fields. However, there is an area in the middle (between the two sets of fields) that is right next to a tent that has refreshments.
I was like, “oh cool, they’re supplying water and Gatorade for the media.” Turns out, that was for the players, not the media.
That must have been why I was the only non-Eagles employee standing there.
Before I realized that I was in this “grey area” of where I was or was not to be allowed, I had a chance to meet Cullen Jenkins.
He was just mulling around the tent there and came out and stood about three feet away from me. So, I decided to introduce myself and we had a brief chat.
One thing to note: Jenkins is a big dude, that’s for sure. In the two minutes I talked to him, he seemed extremely nice and soft spoken.
After our introduction, he asked me if I was “up top”. Me, not wanting to seem like some nerdy white dude, said, “nah”, while shaking my head in concurrence with my answer Of course, this was me pretending to know what the hell he was talking about.
“Up top”? Am I from “up top”? No Cullen, no way, not a chance…not me…
But, then I broke down because I just had to know what I just answered “no” to…
“Wait, what do you mean by up top?” Jenkins then grinned and responded “from upstairs…upstairs in the offices.”
“Oh”, I said. Then the answer is the same…”nope.” He then asked where I was from, to which I just said “the general media.”
In retrospect, I probably should have said “I’m representin’ Eagles Addict, dawg!” But, that probably would have come off a little pasty.
Also in retrospect, he probably assumed I worked for the Eagles in some capacity because I was standing where I was standing. And when I said I didn’t, he was probably like okay, what the hell are you standing around here for?
However, he didn’t and we ended up having a nice little chat where I relayed to him that everyone is pumped about the team this year. He also acknowledged that he’s working at DE right now while Babin is out.
Seems like a cool dude.
I also had the pleasure of meeting the two guys who have started up the awesome “Birds 24/7” blog…Sheil Kapadia and Tim McManus. They both seem like great guys and know their stuff about the Eagles.
I’d certainly recommend checking them out if you don’t already.
Anyway, on to some observations of the morning walk-through…
Things are relatively laid back in shorts. It’s more about instruction than actual “practice.” The most active group during the morning was the offense.
They ran some plays with Michael Vick throwing to certain receivers out of certain formations. One interesting formation in particular was LeSean McCoy lining up wide while Jeremy Maclin lined up in the slot.
Could be something we see more of in 2012.
The offense went through what appeared to be sets of “hurry ups”, where they would run three or four quick consecutive plays. This was done by the first, second and third string offensive groupings.
The most vocal person I heard during that was actually Mike Kafka. Maybe his voice is just the loudest between he, Vick and Nick Foles (Trent Edwards didn’t do this drill), but Kafka stood out the most.
His passes seemed to have a little more zip than the other guys too…but again, it was just a “walk-through.”
There wasn’t much happening with the defensive side so I’ll be observing that side of the ball a little more this afternoon.
Marty Mornhinweg held an interview session after practice was over. He answered questions in mostly routine manner, nothing too exciting. The few tidbits from there were:
– Bryce Brown has an “excellent opportunity” in front of him and has been working hard and studying.
– When asked about having a lot of youth in the offense, he said we “got a lot of juice.”
– He has great confidence in Kafka as the backup to Vick
The most interesting nugget may have been when he was asked about the fullback position and whether or not they will keep one on the roster. I found this even more intriguing since I wrote an article on that very subject earlier this offseason.
Mornhinweg did say that the “fullback has normally been a vital position for us.” However, he left some wiggle room by saying that more teams are going one-back formations and that these things “tend to work themselves out” (in response to whether or not they will keep a roster spot for a fullback).
Put it this way, I didn’t come away convinced that the Eagles will definitely be keeping a fullback on the roster this year.
Well, that’s about it for now. I’ll be heading back to the fields shortly for the more action-oriented afternoon practice.
If you have any questions about a particular player in camp, contact me on Twitter and I’ll do my best to see if I can get you an informed answer.