And so it begins. The pads go on today and hitting is live. The first couple of days of Training Camp were just players in shorts. There was contact, but not the full on hitting that we love to see each summer. Today’s practice will be at The Linc and is open to the public. I hope a lot of you are able to go and enjoy the day’s activities.
My PE.com column is about Training Camp and some of the players to watch. This is a huge opportunity for some players. Lives can change, good and bad. Back in 2011 some guy named Evan Mathis emerged as a starting OL after practicing well. Other players struggle and that can be the beginning of the end for them. This could be a young guy like Ifeanyi Momah or a veteran like Felix Jones.
I’d love to tell you that a lot of borderline players will look great for the Eagles and the summer will be nothing but good news. We know that’s not how things work. You don’t mind some bottom of the roster guys struggling. You get worried when veterans that had key roles don’t play well.
There isn’t one player that I’m overly concerned about. I guess a bad summer from Todd Herremans would be one thing that would get my attention. The OL has issues because of the Lane Johnson suspension. We need the 4 returning starters to all play well.
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PE.com posted some good practice notes from Sunday. UDFA receiver Kadron Boone is an interesting prospect. I’m not sure he’s athletic enough for the NFL. I love his size and he has good skills, but I wonder about speed and quickness. He did test well, but that athleticism didn’t always show up on game tape. Boone has had some good moments in the OTAs and first days of camp.
In the final team drill, Barkley delivered another beauty deep down the left sideline for rookie wide receiver Kadron Boone, who scored the would-be touchdown.
“Matt threw a perfect ball and I just caught it in stride,” Boone said.
Boone signed with the Eagles as a rookie free agent following the 2014 NFL Draft. Playing at LSU behind first-round pick Odell Beckham and second-round pick Jarvis Landry, Boone finished his Tigers career with 44 receptions for 611 yards and eight touchdowns. The 6-foot, 202-pound Boone is used to making the most of limited opportunities.
“That was the situation for me in my last year. We had two good receivers who went early in the draft. One thing that I was always taught was when your number is called, be ready to make a play,” Boone said.
“I just brought the same mentality over. If I get five reps, I’m going to make the most of those five reps. The one thing about here is you’re going to get a lot of reps. With those reps, I just make sure I do what I’m supposed to do. And if it’s not catching the ball, then it’s being where I’m supposed to be. Make sure I’m on my block, focusing on the little things.”
Maybe the NFL will bring out the best in Boone. I’d love to see him push for a practice squad spot.
Those quotes came from a good interview that Chris McPherson did with Boone. I came away impressed with the young man.
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Elliot Shorr-Parks is really focused on QBs this summer. He is keeping track of all the throws and compiling the information.
Reps on Sunday: 34 reps (all with second team)
Stats on Sunday: 21/23, 1 TD, 0 INT
Analysis from Sunday: For the second day in a row, Sanchez was extremely sharp. Sanchez had a beautiful ball down the right sideline for a touchdown to receiver Jeremy Maclin that was about 45 yards. The veteran quarterback put the ball right where it needed to be, and hit Maclin in stride over his shoulder. What has been most impressive about Sanchez is how he is not taking chances with the ball. Given his reputation for turning the ball over during his time in New York, Sanchez has placed very few passes into double coverage. He did have one pass nearly picked off on Sunday, but that was one of only his only bad passes so far in camp.
Total Stats 63 reps (all with second team), 38/44, 1 TD, 0 INT
Go read the post to get the info on all 4 QBs. He’s got notes on Nick Foles. Some of you have asked for more info on Foles. The attention the first couple of days was on the backups since they played well after a poor spring. Foles didn’t have a great showing on Sunday, but he had a terrific spring and looked good on the opening day of camp. You’re not going to notice him as much unless he does make a mistake.
It is interesting to see Elliot keep track of the numbers. You have to be careful about putting too much into them. You need context to really have a good feel for how a guy looked. I appreciate the effort since I’m an out of town analyst and PE.com is no longer allowed to show extensive camp footage.
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Bill Davis had his PC on Sunday. He didn’t say anything too wild, but I always enjoy listening to him.
Davis pointed out that for the first couple of weeks the defense would use a variety of groupings instead of strictly being 1’s and 2’s and so on. The goal is to see how different groups play against different competition. For instance, he wants the backup DBs to face the starting WRs. The DL rotates a lot so there will be times when the starting DL is out there with backup DBs.
Eventually this will all settle down and things will become more about starters and backups.
Davis admitted that the Eagles played DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks too much last year. He wants to give them more rest. That’s good news for Najee Goode and some other backup LBs. Sounds like the Eagles will do more with sub-packages and backup players.
While the Eagles tackled better last year than in the previous couple of seasons, Davis talked about the need to improve even more. The biggest issue he noticed was head placement. This is mostly in reference to tackling a player who you are attacking from the side. When a defender does that, he needs to take the correct angle and get his head in front of where the player is going. It will then be easier to wrap up with the arms. Last year too many Eagles were getting their head head behind the target and then they had to reach for the body of the runner/receiver. That led to missed tackles.
Paul Domowitch wrote about Davis comments on how the defense will look different this year. Expect it to be less vanilla. One comment stood out to me.
“A year ago, you saw more assignment football,’’ Davis said. “Guys were studying hard to know their assignment and what was asked of them, but didn’t really understand the whole picture and how they exactly fit with their teammates.
Good defense is about 11 guys functioning as one. They have to work together. You saw elements of this last year, but also saw plenty of times when the defense looked like 11 individuals on the field. That was to be expected because of the scheme change and new faces. This year they know the scheme and there is stability with the lineup. The defense should play more as a group. And better.