It was day two of live hitting at Philadelphia Eagles training camp in Bethlehem and they did not fail to entertain. These players may be teammates, but that didn’t keep the Eagles from enjoying a brutal, physical practice full of big hits and stiff jabs.
The Eagles set the tone for training camp and possibly the regular season, showing that they are not playing nice this season after surrendering 27 touchdown passes through the air last season.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been a fixture for praise since camp opened up and continued his strong performace with a handful of interceptions on the day, including a great break on a ball he sniffed out long before it left Michael Vick’s hands. DRC has had a solid camp thus far and that is something Eagles fans must be optimistic about.
Perhaps an even greater source of optimism for Eagles fans—Jaiquawn Jarrett finally lived up to the billing. The 2011 second-round selection was around the ball-carrier on nearly every play much to LeSean McCoy’s dismay.
Jarrett blew up McCoy on at least two occasions. Once on a 15-yard gain by McCoy that ended in a huge tackle from Jarrett. He used questionable tactics—he led with his head, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane (I did not see that)—but the hit got some ooh’s and ahh’s from the crowd. The next time he hit McCoy, he jarred the ball loose for a defensive recovery.
McCoy does not fumble often.
Jarrett did struggle in coverage, especially early. McCoy made a mockery of him in one-on-ones and there were a few times he got beat down the middle in coverage when they running 11-on-11s.
On offense, Marvin McNutt has become to player to watch with Riley Cooper going down. The rookie McNutt plays a similar style of football to Cooper, with good size (standing 6’4”) and comparable speed (McNutt says he doesn’t look fast like Cooper, but does have long strides).
The sixth round pick out of Iowa had a quality day for the Eagles and has done enough to stand out during the first week of training camp.
“McNutt has definitely played well,” said Vick when asked if any of the young guys stood out that could step up and fill in while Cooper is out with a broken collarbone.
Head coach Andy Reid agreed to some extent earlier in the day, complimenting McNutt’s play thus far.
Some other things to note that I saw or thought at Eagles camp:
- Jason Babin strained his calf but should only be out for about a week. He needs an MRI, but cannot get that until he passes thermometer that measures body temperature.
- Riley Cooper should be out for at least six weeks. He will undergo surgery Monday. Andy Reid expects the younger players to step and does not plan on adding any players to the roster.
- Trent Edwards did not see a lot of reps in practice during the live sessions. I’m not sure if this was a decision solely to see more from Mike Kafka and Nick Foles, who saw the bulk of the time between the three backups, or if it was something else. When Edwards did throw, I thought his passes were good, crisp throws. Did not see much to complain about in the little I saw of him.
- Foles, on the otherhand, struggled all day long. There were lots of underthrown passes and poor decision-making on his part throughout the day, including a pass thrown directly into the hands of DRC. He did lead what some of the players on the sideline called “the longest drive ever” and looked much more comfortable on that drive.
- Chad Hall catches everything. That is all.
- The Eagles defense did a fantastic stuffing the run. LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis could not find space to run for much of the afternoon. Bryce Brown did have some big bursts, which impressed me quite a bit, but outside of him, the Eagles run defense was not letting up.
- One play of note was a fantastic play by Jeremy Maclin despite lock-tight coverage from rookie Brandon Boykin. Maclin went deep, but Boykin didn’t let up. Vick threw a beauty down the field. Maclin and Boykin went up, Boykin had his hands between Maclin’s…and Maclin still came down with the ball a good 40 yards down the field.
- On the offensive line, Jason Kelce and Todd Herremans stood out to me. Both men played some real physical ball, which resulted in a nice little brawl between Kelce, rookie defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and some others. The fight was quickly diffused, but punches were thrown. Meanwhile, King Dunlap looked a bit hobbled but stayed on the field.