One day after learning the news about Andy Reid’s son Garrett, the Philadelphia Eagles had practice as usual. I attended camp yesterday and wondered whether or not the mood would be somber and the players relatively quiet in the wake of Garrett’s death.
After several players spoke out about the matter, they went on to have a pretty chippy afternoon practice, which was great to see.
They were lively, crisp and upbeat. Marty Mornhinweg, who spoke after the morning walk-through, said that in some ways the tragedy of Garrett Reid’s death is bringing the team closer together.
After watching yesterday’s practice yesterday and comparing it to the last time I attended, which was just a week prior, I can agree with Mornhinweg’s statement. The players seemed even more focused and the practice seemed more high tempo.
I also heard a lot of chatter yesterday as almost everyone seemed more vocal as compared to the last time I was there. One thing is for sure, DE Darryl Tapp is probably the loudest guy on the field.
He was yelling all kinds of stuff during the live periods. Unfortunately, I was standing on the other side of the field so I couldn’t make out what he was saying. But, he and the rest of the defensive guys standing on the sideline during the live periods were loud and supportive of their fellow defensive teammates.
Here are my quick notes and observations from yesterday:
One-on-one drills where RBs, TEs and FBs had to block defensive blitzers –
– LeSean McCoy was the best performer at this drill. I only saw him twice, but both times he stonewalled a blitzing Kurt Coleman.
– Chris Polk drew a large roar from the crowd when he planted a blitzing Phillip Thomas on his back. He missed other blitzers a time or two but largely held his own during these drills.
– Bryce Brown was okay and held his own, but looks like he could use some more work in this area.
– Brett Brackett needs a lot of work in this area. He’s been great at catching passes, but his blocking is still a work in progress. One good sign is that, the one time I did see him actually block the blitzer, his teammates were cheering him on.
– Clay Harbor wasn’t as good in this drill as I thought he’d be. He was better than Brackett, though that’s not saying much. Harbor is supposed to be the better blocker, but it wasn’t on display yesterday.
– As far as the fullbacks in this drill, the only thing really worth noting is the shoving match between Stanley Havili and Phillip Thomas. Things got a little heated between the two and led to Havili taking a wild swing, which never connected, before things got broken up.
Live 11-on-11 drills (contact, but no tackling) –
– Kurt Coleman was the star of the day. He looked impressive in picking off two Michael Vick passes and being in position to make good tackles.
I also liked the fact that Coleman was coaching-up Curtis Marsh and was very communicative on the field. He seemed to be taking a little bit of a leadership role for the secondary.
– Also being very communicative on the field was Nnamdi Asomugha. Between he and Coleman, they were running the secondary. It was good to see and both guys had a good practice.
– Nate Allen did not take part of the 11-on-11 drills, though it was predetermined for it to be that way. What was interesting is that it was Jaiquawn Jarrett, not O.J. Atogwe who started in his place.
Jarrett flashed some coverage ability on one play by knocking down a pass intended for Jason Avant.
– Jeremy Maclin also did not participate in these drills due to cramping. In his place, Damaris Johnson and Chad Hall split reps with the first team.
Neither Hall nor Johnson did anything worth noting as they mainly were held to just short passes and short gains. Johnson, though, does look pretty damn quick.
– Chris Polk drew another eruption from the crowd when he laid a devastating block on a blitz pick-up on Brandon Hughes. It was even better than what he did earlier on the one-one-one drills.
Polk really stood out with his blocking yesterday and if he can keep that up, it may give him the edge over Bryce Brown.
– Speaking of Brown, though Polk seems to have the edge in blocking, I think Brown looks like the better runner. Brown looked very good running the ball and seems to have another gear once he gets through the line.
– Marvin McNutt continues to impress. He and Kafka hooked up on a beautiful long pass play down the left sideline.
– Brandon Graham continues to impress as well. I’m starting to think that we’re going to see why the Eagles traded up to draft him two years ago.
– Darryl Tapp, whom I thought was in danger of getting cut, might just need to make the team based on pure crazy. He’s extremely talkative on the field and on the sideline.
This is not to mention that he is making plays too…if tackling was allowed on the QBs, Kafka would have been crushed by Tapp on at least one play.
– Michael Vick checks-down to McCoy far too often for my taste. This is practice, stop “practicing” dumping the ball off and throw the ball down the field.
However, maybe he didn’t because Coleman kept picking him off. Yesterday wasn’t a good day for Mr. Vick.
That’s about it for the more noteworthy stuff from training camp on 8/6/12.
Also from yesterday, the Eagles released their depth chart for this week’s preseason game against the Steelers. Not that this depth chart means anything at this point anyway, but there were no real surprises.
The only two things that stood out to me were that Mat McBriar is already listed as the No. 1 punter, and that Cliff Harris is the fourth man down on the punt returner list.
Given his college acumen at returning punts along with his performance at CB in camp so far, I hope Harris gets a chance to show what he can do.