There is no use avoiding it. Let’s talk about the QB competition.
It sounds like both Nick Foles and Mike Vick had good days, which is the ideal answer. You’d rather have 2 good options than to be picking the lesser of 2 evils. Both players got reps with the starters. Writers tried to keep track of who did what.
Jeff McLane has his numbers here. On Twitter, he said Foles was the more impressive QB. From the article:
Vick completed 22 of 27 passes with one interception to linebacker DeMeco Ryans. Foles hit on 20 of 24 throws and appeared a bit sharper in terms of getting the players set at line and getting the ball out of his hand quick.
Jordan Raanan put his numbers into chart form. Nicely done. He’s got the same stats, but also offered some details.
…the quarterbacks started slowly. Michael Vick threw an interception to DeMeco Ryans on the first play of 7-on-7s. Meanwhile, Nick Foles completed two of his first four passes while struggling with his accuracy. He was fortunate not to have a pair of passes picked off early in the practice. One actually turned into a catch on a deep ball down the right sideline when DeSean Jackson made a juggling reception for the play of the day.
Foles looked sharp on 24 throws, completing 20. He was the only one of the three quarterbacks to finish without an interception. On 18 reps with the first offense, he completed 13 of 14 passes.
It sounds pretty even after one day.
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Jimmy Bama posted his practice notes. Lots of good nuggets in there. I’ll pick out a couple, but go read the whole piece.
• There were plenty of opportunities to watch the OLBs in pass coverage today. Not that “Best OLB in coverage” is a position, but if the Eagles had a “Best OLB in coverage” competition similar to the starting QB competition, Connor Barwin would be named the winner, as in right now. That’s not to say that Barwin is a stud in coverage. There was one play in which Brent Celek ran a post pattern, and he simply ran away from Barwin, although he did play the pass well on other occasions that didn’t require a straight-line sprint. At a minimum, Barwin is functional, and looks the most comfortable, by far.
• Russell Shepard had two diving catches today. One was on a short laser that he had to react quickly to. The other was about 20 yards down the field. Shepard was often the last guy off the field during OTAs and minicamps, taking as many reps as he could get on the Jugs machine. It may be paying off for him.
Glad to hear that Shepard’s extra work is paying some dividends. He’s still most likely headed for the practice squad, but this young man has NFL ability. He just needs to develop some positional skills.
As for the OLBs and coverage…Cole and Graham need reps. They’ll be better in 3 weeks than they are today. Give them time to learn.
Chip Kelly noted in his PC that he and the coaches understand there is a lot of learning going on, especially now at the beginning of camp. They don’t expect Trent Cole to be a good cover LB any more than they would expect Nick Foles to be a good option QB or Ifeanyi Momah a polished WR. Players need time to learn. They need reps on the field and then coaching off of it.
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WR Arrelious Benn did suffer some kind of injury. He left practice and didn’t return. It wasn’t a dramatic injury that got everyone’s attention so hopefully it won’t be too serious, but it was his knee. And Benn has had knee issues in the past.
Cary Williams left practice early after tweaking his hamstring.
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Danny Watkins talked to the media today and said all the right things. You can watch him doing some OL drills in the piece. Danny has a big advantage this year due to the fact he’s a good run blocker and Kelly wants to run. Danny was highly inconsistent as a pass blocker. As you may recall, Andy Reid liked to throw a pass or two.
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Kurt Coleman and DeMeco Ryans had the INTs today.
DeSean Jackson had the highlight play, with a juggling catch down the field. I don’t think anyone has video of it. I’d love to see the play.
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Chip Kelly spoke to the media. PE.com has the PC. He had some good stuff today.
Kelly talked about QBs and running. “Touchdown. First down. Get down.” That’s what they teach QBs. If there is open grass, run it. When contact is “imminent”, get down. Kelly said that durability is the most important ability. You need the starting QB to stay healthy and stay on the field. His QBs in Oregon were durable.
Someone asked about DeSean Jackson and Kelly got excited. It sounds like he and DeSean are definitely on the same page. Kelly praised DeSean for showing up in great shape and being ready to go. DeSean is a special talent, but he’s got to have that talent show up more in the form of production rather than potential. If Kelly has DeSean motivated and locked in, watch out.
DeSean muffed a couple of punts early on, but caught the ball very well on offense. He really seemed to get the attention of everyone watching practice today. This could be a great sign.
Kelly joked at one point that if he calls 20 read-option plays with Nick Foles in the game, he should be fired. Kelly then went on to explain that the offense is big enough and versatile enough that it can be tailored to the players. The team will practice everything this summer so that the coaches can see which players function well at various parts of the scheme. The coaches will then make evaluations and adjust the offense accordingly, once roster moves and the depth chart are done.
I think it would be safe to say that Kelly likes Jason Peters. Check out some of what Kelly had to say.
“I don’t think there is a player like him in the world to be honest with you,” head coach Chip Kelly said Friday. “Someone that big, that fast, that athletic. I catch myself in practice just kind of going, ‘Wow.’ He’s 350 pounds and he runs like he is a tight end. He’s an exception to every rule, so I don’t think studying guys who have had Achilles injuries and saying, ‘That guy would be like Jason.’ He didn’t have any ill effects when he was here during the spring and he hasn’t shown anything, he’s not getting any extra treatment or anything like that. He’s been cleared 100 percent.”
A healthy Jason Peters will have a tremendous impact on the 2013 Eagles. From everything that I’ve seen and what has been said, Peters looks like he’s all the way back. Great to see #71 out there doing his thing. He is a special player.
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A reminder…the Eagles Almanac is available for download. Just cost $10.
I wrote a piece on how judging the Eagles defense will be different under Chip Kelly.
I wrote about the 1993 season, the Eagles first without Reggie White. That was such a weird time.
I also did a short 2014 Draft preview, listing some players to watch during the upcoming season.
There is a tremendous amount of good material from Sheil Kapadia, Mike Tanier, bountybowl, Derek Sarley, Tim McManus, Jimmy Hack and so many more.
And if you don’t buy it…Jimmy will cry. He’s a very delicate flower, as you can tell by how I always have to say nice things about him.