Day 1 Reflections

Posted: May 13th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 23 Comments »

PE.com has more camp videos up.  You can see WRs and DBs now.  They’re short, but of interest to the fan starved for information/entertainment.

You can see how talented Brandon Boykin is.  Fluid, agile athlete.  You can also see how much bigger he is than Cliff Harris.  Cliff is a couple of inches taller, but is 10 pounds lighter and much less muscular.  Boykin doesn’t have a big frame, but he is very well put together.

Seeing Marvin McNutt run slot routes was interesting.  He wasn’t good on the first rep, but then looked much better on the second.  He’s got a lot to learn, but if he’s smart and coachable…that’s okay.  Damaris Johnson is small, but has some nice shake ‘n bake to him.

* * * * *

Bo Wulf wrote a good practice summary for the mothership.

Dennis Kelly played LT.  Some thought of him as RT only, but I thought he showed good enough footwork to warrant a look on the left side.

Bryce Brown was the “first team” RB.  Very interesting.  I’m  really wondering if this is a guy the Eagles are going to aggressively push.  If he can handle coaching and adjust to the business of pro football, he could be a guy that you want to mix in some.

There has been and will be a lot of talk about Chris Polk as a blocker since he played a lot at UW and was in a pro style offense.  That’s all well and good, but Polk struggled mightily at the Senior Bowl in pass protection.  He has much more experience than Brown, but that doesn’t mean that he’s any better at it.  I’m sure both guys will need a lot of work in that area.  This is where learning and coachability become huge factors.

Monte Simmons played WLB.  I think he’ll be a SAM in full camps, but due to the lack of bodies here, the best way to get him on the field is to put him at WLB.

* * * * *

The Eagles are giving a tryout to former Purdue DL Alex Magee.  He’s a 6-3, 298 DT.  Here is my pre-draft write-up on him.

3-year starter. Played DT in 2006 and 2007. Moved to DE as a Senior. Played both sides. Projects to DT in the NFL. Good athlete for an interior guy. Quick off the ball. Uses his hands well. Effective bull rusher. Has good awareness. Hustles after the ball. Had 20 or more solo tackles in each of his years starting at DT. That shows you a good motor. Has very good speed for a DT. Could be an ideal fit in a 1-gap system. You also are impressed by the fact he was willing to move to DE as a Senior. Very selfless move. Didn’t have a great season. Doesn’t have the speed/burst to be a force off the edge. Played the run well and did a good job of fighting off cut blocks. Went to the Senior Bowl and was able to move back to DT. Had a solid showing.

Mid-round pick.

He was taken in the 3rd round, but hasn’t panned out as hoped.  He would be a good camp body to add.  He has enough talent that he’s worth bringing in.  You would rather not have guys to just eat up reps.  Always try to add players with some ability.  You never know when a guy will turn out to fit your system well and the light will go on.

* * * * *

Greg Lewis is a coaching intern for the Eagles.  Naturally, he’s working with the WRs.  I’m sure Juan Castillo wanted him for the LBs, but maybe that can happen in the future.

G-Lew could be a good coach.  He was undrafted out of Illinois, but carved out a nice career for himself.  He wasn’t a good starter, but was a good role player.  And he did have an impressive TD catch in the Super Bowl.  I think it covered 110 yards.  Greg broke 10 tackles and hurdled 3 guys for the score.  At least that’s the version he tells.

It will be interesting to see if G-Lew decides to make a full go of coaching.  It is much harder than most former players realize.  Duce Staley seems to like it and I’m glad.  It is great to have Duce back as part of the Eagles family.

Someone in the last comments section brought up the difficulty in developing coaches and used an example of Pete Jenkins and Rory Segrest.  Pete was a terrific DL coach in college and the NFL.  He chose Segrest as a guy to mentor and develop, but Rory just wasn’t good enough for the NFL.

I think Andy Reid learned his lesson there.  Don’t let the assistant choose the guy to develop.  Eugene Chung worked for the Eagles prior to Howard Mudd’s hiring.  Chung spent time helping Castillo when he was the OL coach.  Chung also is a former NFL player and knows how pro football works, inside and out.  That doesn’t mean that he’ll be a good successor to Mudd, but he has the background that you want in a coach.  He’s played.  He’s paid his dues behind the scene.  He’s worked with multiple coaches and styles.  And no one is giving him a job because he’s somebody’s buddy.  Chung will have earned the job when he gets it.

* * * * *

Happy Mother’s Day.


  • Mark823

    Interesting stuff, especially how the RB situation will play out. If Bryce Brown can earn a roster spot that would be a great story. Young backfield behind McCoy, but if they are talented enough why not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Anders-Jensen/748307140 Anders Jensen

    Based on just pure talent, the Eagles have potential of 5-6 UDFA sticking on the roster this year with Polk(3rd RB), Johnson (more talented Chad Hall), Harris (5th-6th CB), Ford (3rd TE) and Thomas (backup FS) as the forerunners

    • Mark823

      That’s pretty impressive, then you look at the draft class a lot of the picks have a good chance to make it on the roster and contribute.

  • iskar36

    “Bryce Brown was the “first team” RB.  Very interesting.  I’m  really wondering if this is a guy the Eagles are going to aggressively push.”

    I’m just curious as to why this was interesting. Polk was undrafted, and even if though the Eagles had a 3rd round grade on him, can you really put him over a guy that was in fact drafted? To me, this would have only been interesting had Dion Lewis been there, but maybe I’m missing your point.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/5K2OTUH7576XQRGG5VCMKFYTY4 Jason

      To me, the interesting part wasn’t so much the depth chart but that Philly probably wants to really push Brown because of his history. He was a quitter right? Well I’m guessing the Eagles would rather know sooner than later if he’s changed, or whether he’ll quit this time too. Pushing him hard and seeing how he reacts is probably the strategy.

  • ACViking

    RE: comparing Bryce Brown & Chis Polk

    Polk seems to run up on his toes; lots of short, quick steps. Sort of like Jamal Lewis.

    Brown seems to take a slightly longer, but more explosive stride.

    He look like he’s running fast . . . but, “boom,” he’s down the field. Brown doesn’t have the long stride of an Eric Dickerson — who was told during drills in training camp by then-Rams head coach John Robinson to run at full speed, but then Robinson saw him in scrimmages and realized Dickerson was at full speed blowing through holes and past defenders and on the way to the HOF.

    Brown runs more like Emmitt Smith (and a bit like Tom Woodeshick) — nifty in the hole, as Jimmy Johnson said of Smith, good vision and explosive.

    I’m really looking forward to see, during TC, who shows better vision in tight quarters.

    In college at UWash (HC Steve Sarkisian), Polk played a lot in the spread, so he ran through naturally big holes. Polk, however, did show a knack for breaking tackles and maintaining his balance after the first hit.

    Brown ran out of a more pro-style offense at UTN (HC Lane Kiffin). The highlights posted on youtube gleaned from his 100 carries in 2009 show an RB with damned good vision as he hit the LOS, and even more so at the second level. And once past the LOS, he doesn’t appear to lose speed when cutting upfield.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbaHVnLgYS4

    All of this is “blah, blah, blah.”

    What’ll count is who (i) shows the most progress in the next four months, (ii) digests the playbook, (iii) shows some propensity for blitz recognition, and (iv) pass-pro.

    I took a peek at Brown in the U.S. Army HS All star game. (He looks like he grew between HS and college.)

    What’s striking was the USA-East coaches had him running deep pass routes out of the slot and split wide. If he’d not grown into a college/pro-sized RB, I think the kid could have been a WR. He has really soft hands (as does Polk).
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZRBHcktNl0 (US Army ASG highlights)

    As an aside . . . what a complete schmuck Brown was for how he handled college.

    • eagleizeit

      I thought they compared Brown to Adrian Peterson? Maybe that was something else not the way he played coming out of H.S.

      • ACViking

        A commenter (sorry I forget whom) remarked after the draft that Peterson was/is a much more “violent” runner than Brown.

  • http://twitter.com/etter4life Ben

    Tommy, I cant seem to find the wr vs dbs video on pe.com. What is the name of the video

  • eagleizeit

    Tommy – time will tell but I think this new process of not haveing vets for these training camps will give the Eagles young new players a tremendous advantage for success in comparison to the past, as well as in comparison to players on the other 31 NFL teams. This new process might show who the best coaches/teachers(also depends on organizational relationships, actual draft and individual players) are throughout the NFL. Instead of a few veterans possibly trying to slow down the rookies learning curve due to job insecurity, or whatever else, this young group will get 100% of the coaches time geared towards their learning/development and trying to get the best out of these young players they received on Coaches Christmas(draft time). Now they can play around with their Christmas presents & try to get the most fullfillment out of them.
    Unlike b4, these young players will basically get one on one coaching from possibly the most talented coaching staff Andy Reid has ever assembled together. Maybe the best coaching staff in Eagles history, as well as presently on any other team in the NFL. Haveing one of their best drafts shouldn’t hurt either. Only important thing they forgot about was a WR so they can pass for TD’s in the RZ, but hopefully they get Plax soon. Otherwise Shady and Vick know they’ve got to run it in and risk injuries.

    • iskar36

      I think prior to last year, the Eagles still had a rookie mini camp with the only difference being a few select veterans would join (typically 2nd year players or guys with limited experience). I doubt that difference will have a huge impact. On the other hand, I do think the significantly less number of practices allowed in general will have an impact and may make some coaching differences more noticeable. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if the Eagles benefit from this or not. We have a very good coaching staff, but particularly with AR, he has a very patient and methodical approach. That approach takes time (and you could argue that is maybe why the team often starts slowly but have pretty good ends to their seasons). We will have to see how AR adjusts to the new rules and if he can effectively adjust his methodical approach.

  • Cliff

    Greg Lewis was the predecessor to Jason Avant in some ways. G-Lew was a good WR, but was CONSTANTLY under the gun from Eagles fans for not being more than what he was. If you think about what being a “role player” means, G-Lew was great. He’s one of those players that will disappear in history, but should be remembered as a solid contributor.

    • D3Keith

      I always respect guys that overachieve and get in where they fit in. Every great team needs guys who do “small” jobs exceptionally well.

      • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.verhoog Matthew Verhoog

        Did we get a 5th round pick for him from the Pats?

        • D3Keith

          Yes.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1118400638 Patrick Clausen

      I think the difference back then was our Wideouts straight out sucked. We constantly expected someone to step up. Is easier for Avant to be “solid” or “mediocre”, when we have DeSean and Maclin as our clear cut starters. Imagine the pressure when you couldn’t even beat out James Thrash and Reggie Brown.

  • SleepingDuck

    Tommy,
    Thank you for all the work you do here and on the other sites!

    I’m looking for a book that goes more over schemes, coverages, and the other x’s and o’s of the game. Do you have any recommendations?

  • BC1968

    Here’s an unusual Mother’s Day story. Usi Umenyiora tweeted Sunday: “Happy Mothers Day Lesean Mccoy! Enjoy your special day!!”

    Damn, he’s even about McCoy today on Mother’s Day. After a Super Bowl and all that, it’s what he’s thinking about.
    http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2012-05-13/osi-umenyiora-takes-twitter-shot-at-lesean-mccoy

    • eagleizeit

      Usi has been very fond of McCoy for a while now; he just can’t ever seem to get him out of his mind(even on Mother’s Day) and can’t figure out what to do about it. Luckily for McCoy Usi might be leaving the Giants. Usi’s a lost soul.

  • JRO91

    I really think the Eagles want their RB’s to be McCoy/Brown/Polk
    Corners – Nmandi/DRC/Marsh/Hughes/Boykin/Harris
    WR’s – Jackson/Machlin/Avant/Mcnutt/Cooper/Johnson (a better faster version of Chad Hall our Wes Welker)
    LB’s – Ryans/Kendryks/Matthews/Rolle/Chaney/Clayton
    Safeties – Allen/Jarret/Coleman/Thomas
    QB’s Vick/Kafka/Foles

    I am just happy the Eagles really targeted players that can help in the return game…Boykin/Harris/Johnson.

    • Davesbeard

      I think they really want the best 2 behind McCoy, I’d be surprised if they both beat out Dion Lewis.

      • D3Keith

        Me too. On one hand, he’s only a 2nd-year, 5th-round pick. On the other, he showed flashes, and I think one of them has to take his job, not be given it.

        I also think that since Havili is such an unconventional fullback that if he’s a dud, maybe all four RBs make the team and we just say F a fullback (or use a TE there for the 1 time a game we use one; might not be smart, but it’s possible).