I’m not up at Lehigh, but reading the great coverage by Jimmy Bama, Sheil Kapadia, Les Bowen, Roobs, and Geoff Mosher keeps me well informed of what is going on. Here are some of the key things to take away from Thursday’s practice:
* Brent Celek hurt his knee, but says he’ll be fine. The Eagles are calling it a minor knee sprain. This may actually be a blessing in disguise. The team needs Clay Harbor and Brett Brackett to get all the reps they can. Each guy got some snaps with the starting offense today. Brackett even caught a long pass from Michael Vick. As long as Celek is truly fine, there is nothing to worry about. Depending on how the guys do, Jeremy Shockey may or may not get a call.
* Derek freaking Landri was running with the 1’s today. He and Cullen Jenkins (aka CuJo) were the starting DTs. Landri is probably ahead of Antonio Dixon for now simply because he played so much last year and played so well. Dixon can still win the job. You certainly know I’m not going to complain about a world where Landri is starting for the Eagles. And to think the team dragged their feet about re-signing him. Thankfully the Football Gods knew it was meant to be and left him in his appointed spot.
* Curtis Marsh is a player that I’ve not written much about this offseason. I’ve gotten conflicting reports on his progress and didn’t really know what to think. The Eagles must be happy with him because today they were working him into some key packages. Nnamdi was lining up on the inside and Marsh took his place at RCB.
Before you go moaning and groaning about the idiocy of Juan Castillo, remember that the Eagles had some success with Nnamdi on TEs last year. As Sheil Kapadia points out here, he really shut down Jason Witten. Moving Nnamid around isn’t a bad thing. The Eagles just need to have good outside CBs beyond that. DRC is theLCB. Today, Marsh got snaps at RCB. He has the size and physicality to work well in the new aggressive, pressing style.
* As for the slot position, Joselio Hanson has the job now. Nnamdi doesn’t see him losing it, but that’s most likely one veteran player protecting another. Brandon Boykin was the slot CB on the #2 defense. He’ll get chances to steal Hanson’s job. Someone is going to win it.
* DeMeco Ryans told the media today that he wants to show the world that he’s the best LB in the NFL. Uh, DeMeco…Eagles fans would settle for you being in the top 25 LBs in the NFL. I don’t think he knows how things have gone here recently.
* Couple of good notes from Bo Wulf, the #2 OL was …
LT King Dunlap – LG Julian Vandervelde – C Dallas Reynolds – RG Mike Gibson – RT Dennis Kelly
Interesting for Kelly to be there at RT over D.J. Jones. All reports made it sound like Kelly had a rough spring. Maybe Mudd wants to challenge him. Maybe he’s just better than the others. I wrote a bit about Reynolds for PE.com. Lots of practice squad experience. Can he win a roster spot?
Wulf also mentioned that Casey Matthews is the backup MLB, which we expected. Funny, though, that Casey bulked up to play MLB. Ray Lewis has shed weight to get down to 235. Lewis wants to be faster so he can cover more ground.
As expected, Brian Rolle and Jamar Chaney are battling it out for the WLB job. This is a good thing. I’m clearly biased toward Rolle (my unofficial son), but I won’t complain if Chaney wins the job. Jamar is a talented player. He did have 3 picks last year. Eagles LBs don’t do that very often. He put up really good numbers at the Combine. Go watch the DAL/NYG games from 2010 and you’ll see good play and good production. Last year was a mess, but let’s not re-write history and act like Chaney has nothing going for him. That’s simply not true.
* OJ Atogwe and Jaiquawn Jarrett were the #2 Safeties today. Really will be interesting to see how they do when the pads go on. Atogwe thinks he’s in top form. I’m not as confident. I’d love to see him prove me wrong. I’ll gladly eat my words and wash them down with a small dish of chocolate pudding.
* The Eagles have some coaching interns of interest this year. RB Correll Buckhalter is here. Love Buck. That is one tough dude. A lot of lazy, unfocused players could learn a world of good from him. Buck never gave up.
Most important to me is William Fuller. He’s one of my all time favorite Eagles. He was a terrific LDE from 1994-1996. He kicked a lot of butt in those 3 years. Fuller was talented, but matched that with intensity and effort. He was sort of the LDE version of Trent Cole. I hope he likes coaching and makes a go of it. The football world needs men like William Fuller.