There is nothing huge going on, but lots of little stuff. The most interesting news is the talk of Derek Landri as the starting DT. Derek was interviewed and expressed some serious frustration at the lack of interest in him in the offseason. He is mad at the 31 other teams in the league. He might have been a little upset with the Eagles for dragging their feet, but at least they did finally make the move and re-sign him.
Reuben Frank wrote a very good article on the situation. Landri didn’t hold back his feelings at all. I love the fact that he’s got a huge chip on his shoulder. That will help him every time he steps on the field. Ideally, I wish Landri was given the respect he deserves by NFL teams, but if not…use that as motivation.
Having Landri start over Antonio Dixon for now is a great lesson for the young guys on the DL. We don’t care about size. We don’t care about potential. We want maximum effort and we want results. The best players will play. Brandon Graham is already a motivated individual, but some of the other young guys might learn from this. They’ll see how Landri plays and practices. They’ll see the kind of effort he puts out and that he’s now being rewarded for that.
Landri may not keep the job all summer, let alone into the season. We’ll have to see how that goes. If Antonio Dixon can put it all together, he’s simply a better player. I just don’t know if that will happen. Hopefully Dixon will get motivated by this and really bust his butt up at Lehigh. Dixon has a lot of talent. If the light truly goes on for him, he could be a difference maker. If he continues to play at an erratic level…he’ll be watching Derek Landri start.
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Clay Harbor is another Eagle who is getting a big chance right now. Brent Celek is out with a knee injury. That pushes Harbor to the front of the TE list. He was the first or second player on the field yesterday. He’s staying after practice to catch 50 passes each day. There is no guarantee that Harbor doing the right things will pay off, but you have to like his attitude. He’s doing everything he can to secure a job and make himself a better player. The test now is for Harbor to catch the ball better in practice. The drops must go away and he needs to haul in some tough catches. His blocking is fine. He must improve as a receiver.
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Jimmy Bama has a couple of pieces worth checking out. First up, he wrote about RB Chris Polk. Jimmy wanted to find out about the shoulder injury that hurt Polk’s draft value and helped push him to being a UDFA. Jimmy got a more in-depth answer than I think he expected. Interesting stuff.
Next up is a piece on Juan Castillo. There is good information here about practices and what was done last year vs this year. Juan actually gives some information on what they do and it helps you to understand how they were such a mess early last year. This year the coaches had plenty of time in the spring and could really teach. It also helps a great deal that now the coaches are all on the same page and know what they’re doing.
Barring injuries…if the defense struggles this year, it is all on Castillo.
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Sheil Kapadia has up a short piece on Jaiquawn Jarrett. Jai-Jar is one of the real mystery players right now. The Eagles believed in him enough to draft him in the 2nd round. Now it feels like he’s fighting for a roster spot. The fact that live hitting is here now should help him a lot. I want him to play well and fight for a starting job, not just a roster spot. We’ll see…
Sheil has a good post with some practice notes and depth chart info. Always good to find out who is playing where. Our 3rd string DEs are Phillip Hunt and Vinny Curry. Is that crazy or what?
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Julian Vandervelde is reportedly going to get some reps today at C. He has the size and skill set to play there in Mudd’s system. We need a top backup interior OL. Last year Jamaal Jackson had that job. Vandy played OG last year. The coaches liked what they saw of him in practice and now he’ll get a chance to play some in the middle.
Dallas Reynolds is the backup C for now, but that’s mainly a depth chart thing. Vandy is listed as a backup G. If proves adequate at C, he’ll be the primary backup interior OL.
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Ron Jaworski did a 30-minute show with Michael Vick. Sheil wrote some notes here. A national writer on Twitter said he thought it was excellent as well, so this isn’t just something for Eagles fans. I haven’t had a chance to watch it. I love hearing Jaws talk about QB play. I’m curious to see how Vick does.
I’m off to the airport now. Back home late tonight and then I should be on a normal schedule.