Training Camp Talk

Posted: July 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 9 Comments »

And so it begins.  Rookies are reporting today.  Select veterans will be joining them.  Football practice starts on Monday.

We won’t see the full team until next weekend, but it is great to see some actual hitting and real football.  Guys will put on full pads and there will be full contact.  Actual football.

You may wonder about the value of 3 days of practice with only a limited number of players.  It is good for the guys.  These are rookies and veteran players who are either of limited experience, coming off an injury, or new to the team.  These are the kind of players who need every rep they can get.

The early practices also allow the players to get their feet under them.  Training Camp moves quickly and the practices don’t involve lots of time for young players to get in a comfort zone.  They are expected to know what’s going on and to keep up with the veterans.  The first 3 days move slower and the coaches can be more hands on.

Don’t underestimate the importance of these days.  Back in 2006 Omar Gaither impressed Jim Johnson in the first practices and that helped pave the way for Omar starting some games later that season.  Omar carried himself like a veteran and that impressed the heck out of JJ and Andy Reid.  He made a terrific first impression.

The other important aspect of all this is that Andy Reid is a system coach.  Go back to the blue notebook from his job interview.  He had a plan for everything.  Over time Andy figured out how he wanted things done.  Last year Big Red could not rely on his system and way of doing things.  Training Camp was very different.  We saw the team get off to a nightmare start (1-4) and the key rookies struggled (Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Casey Matthews).

This year Andy had his mini-camps.  He now has a full Training Camp.  He can do things the way he wants and rely on the systems he’s developed over his years as the Eagles coach.  Hopefully that will result in a better start and better play from the early rookies.

* * * * *

The Eagles made a trade today.  They shipped CB D.J. Johnson to the Colts for DT Ollie Ogbu.  You may remember that name from March and April of 2011.  I thought Ogbu should have been an Eagles target late in the draft or as a UDFA.  He is 6-1, 295 and has the skill set to be effective in the Jim Washburn system.  Ogbu was very good at Penn State, finishing his career with 29 TFLs.

Here’s something I wrote about him as a UDFA target:  “Lacks ideal size, but uses that to his advantage by playing with great leverage. Might not be starting material, but could be good rotational player. Willing to do the dirty work. Does have enough quickness to be disruptive.”

This move may not seem like a big deal since Ogbu didn’t play last year for the Colts, but you wonder what it means.  The Eagles were already deep at DT.  Could this deal mean there are some concerns with Mike Patterson?  Remember that Patt had brain surgery in January.  He’s not been cleared to play yet.

Tim McManus reported on Twitter that he talked to Patt last week and that Patt assumed he’d be fine to practice if he passed the team’s physical.  Patt is taking the physical on Sunday afternoon so we’ll see how that goes.

At the very least, the Ogbu deal shows that the Eagles want to have good depth on the DL in case something does go wrong, whether that’s with Patt or someone else.  I like the trade.  Ogbu is a good fit for the scheme and could be an interesting practice squad candidate if the roster is full.

Andy Reid speaks today at 5pm.  We should get some kind of update at that point.


9 Comments on “Training Camp Talk”

  1. 1 ian_no_2 said at 5:21 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    The Eagles have a logjam at CB too, whether or not the top three guys are top notch, they have quality guys that are going to be cut there. I also have the feeling Washburn may like Thornton more than Dixon. It may be a case of liking the player, with the Colts giving up value to have another CB in camp.

  2. 2 pkeagle said at 5:47 PM on July 22nd, 2012:


    You were right about Patt – looks like PUP in training camp at the least.

  3. 3 Brett Smith said at 8:57 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    Patterson is not recovered and will not participate in training camp.

    Wow. This is not what I wanted to hear. Patt is a warrior and I wish him the best.

  4. 4 Matthew Verhoog said at 11:17 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    Sounds like he will be fine for the season, but you never know. He has been around long enough to be fine without camp, He will be conditioning at Lehigh.

  5. 5 juggadore said at 9:03 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    he goofed.

  6. 6 phillychuck said at 9:19 PM on July 22nd, 2012:


  7. 7 juggadore said at 12:31 AM on July 23rd, 2012:

    sorry that was what came to mind after reading this part:

    “Go back to the blue notebook from his job interview. He had a plan for everything. Over time Andy figured out how he wanted things done. Last year Big Red could not rely on his system and way of doing things. Training Camp was very different. We saw the team get off to a nightmare start (1-4) and the key rookies struggled (Danny Watkins, Jaiquawn Jarrett, and Casey Matthews).”

  8. 8 ACViking said at 10:17 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    RE: Mike Patterson — Is He Headed for the Eagles Honor Roll?

    Okay . . . the answer is probably not — but only because during the Andy Reid era, and more briefly during Buddy Ryan’s tenure, we’ve been treated to a stream of talented players.

    So, with the recent announcement of Troy Vincent and Leo Carlin’s addition to the EHR, I took a look at the members of the Eagles’ version of Canton.

    And what’s readily clear is that, until Reid arrived, the Eagles truly struggled to find — and keep — talented players. And some of these players made the Eagles’ HR because of what they did someplace else — a sign of how consistently thin the talent was.

    [The list is here:

    1. Sonny Jurgenen.

    An NFL HOFer.

    He was unloaded in the first of many terrible trades by Joe Kuharich. Jurgy played for the Eagles from 1957 – 63. In those 7 years, Jurgensen started only 41 out of a possible 90 games. YET . . . he’s an Eagle’s HRer.

    As a rookie, Jurgensen started just 5 games, going 2-3. Then, from ’58 to ’60, the Ducthman — Norm Van Brocklin — started every game culminating in the Eagles’ last world championship . . . 52 years ago.

    In 1961, after NVB retired to coaching (that’s another great story!), Jurgensen took over as the starting QB and led the Eagles to a 10-4 record — finishing 1 game out of the playoffs behind the Cleveland Browns, who finished 10-3-1 but won both games that year over the Birds.

    The Eagles’ new head coach, replacing Buck Shaw, was long-time Eagles assistant, Nick Skorich — who, coincidentally, resurfaced as the Browns HC in the early ’70s and led them to a surprising 1972 playoff appearance and near upset of the undefeated Miami Dolphins. But 1961 was Skorich’s lone winning season, and he was gone in favor of Notre Dame head coach Joe Kuharich (who’s last 4 seasons as a HC were at Notre Dame where he’d gone 17-23, with 3 seasons at 5-5 and one year at 2-8 at Notre Dame. Kuharich had been an NFL HC before going his ND stint going 30-40-2 in 6 years with the Cardinals and Redskins).

    In 1961, Jurgensen DOMINATED the NFL — leading the NFL in Completions, Yards, and TD passes, and finishing second in Yards-per-Attempt at a remarkable 8.9 (49er John Brodie, who attempted 150 less passes led the league at 9.1 YPA). Remarkably, in a run-the-ball era, Jurgensen set the Eagles’ single-season TD record of 32 in 14 games in 1961 . . . a record that STILL stands. His primary receivers were NFL HOFer WR Tommy McDonald, Eagles HOF Pete Retzlaff, still a WR, and TE/PK Bobby Walston

    (A very good case could be made that Walston, who was also the Eagles’ place kicker, also belongs on the Eagles Honor Roll.)

    But in 1962, for Jurgensen and the Eagles the bottom fell out. It wasn’t until Dick Vermeil’s 1978 team that the Birds reached the playoffs again.

    Jurgensen went 3-9-1 in ’62. And then 2-6-1 in ’63. His record as a starter was just 17-22-2.

    In 1964, after taking over as HC and GM, Joe Kuharich made the worst deal in Eagles’ history — or certainly tied with McCormack’s trade in 1973 for 12 year vet QB Roman Gabriel in exchange for 3 No. 1s, All Pro WR, and FB Tony Baker — by sending Jurgensen to the Redskins for a mediocre 4th-year QB name Norm Snead, who’d garnered All American honors while at Wake Forest . . . oh boy!. Snead was coming off back-to-back pro bowl selections (when that meant something) and did it again in ’65 as an Eagle. Jurgensen played 11 more seasons and reached the NFL HOF. Snead . . . not so much.

    BUT on the basis of one truly HOF season (and an NFL HOF-career in Washington), he’s an Eagles’ HOFer. The question is why, given his records and stats save 1 remarkable season.

    2. Jim Ringo.

    Another NFL HOFer. He joined the Eagles after 11 years in Green Bay.

    The man who played center and anchored Vince Lombardi’s great O-line from 1959-’63 — flanked by guards Fuzzy Thurston and Jerry Kramer, and Tackles Bob Skoronski and the man Lombardi called the greated football player he ever saw, SMU’s own Forrest Gregg.

    Ringo et al. blocked for NFL-HOF QB Bart Starr, NFL-HOF HB Paul Hornung, and the brusing NFL-HOF FB Jim Taylor (who’s the only RB to beat out the great Jim Brown for the rushing title in Brown’s 9 NFL seasons, doing so just once in 1962 when Brown had an injured arch but still finished second). That O-line obviously had a lot to do with the Packer’s entire backfield being in Canton.

    After the 1963 season, Ringo — so the story goes — wanted to move back east. Born in Orange, NJ, Ringo was an All American at Syracuse and perennial All Pro for Lombardi’s Packers. Eagles’ legend Concrete Charlie Bednarick had retired after the ’62
    season. And Kuharich saw a chance to make another splash after unloading Jurgensen by adding a HOF center, albeit one on the clear downside of his great career.

    Lombardi accommodated Ringo and called Kuharich — who, like baseball’s Frank “Trader” Lane suffered from a compulsion to make deals for the sake of making deals.

    (GREAT STORY: Trader Lane, while the Indian’s GM traded 1959 HR champion Rocky Colavito to Detroit for 1959 AL Batting Champ Harvey
    Keunn — just 2 days before the start of the 1960 season. Colovito then averaged almost 35 HRs over the next 6 year, while — no surprise here — Keunn lasted just 1 year in Cleveland before Lane shipped him to San Francisco for over-the-hill LHP Johnny Antonelli (who, with Willie Mays, led the Giants to their 1954 WS victory) and a Pat “The Bat” Burrell-type outfielder named Willie Kirkland.

    Anyway, Kuharich was only too happy to oblige Lombardi and traded for the 33 year-old, declining HOF center.

    Kuharich packaged OLB LeRoy Caffey — the Eagles No. 7th Rd pick in 1963 and rookie starting OLB, who in his lone season in Philadelphia had 1 INT and FIVE fumble recoveries!!! — plus the Eagles’ 1965 No. 1 pick, whom the Packers later used to choose with the 7th choice in Rd 1 one of the “gold dust twins,” HB Donnie Anderson from Texas Tech. (In Rd 2 of the ’65 draft, Kuharich selected OT Ray Rissmiller from Georgia — who lasted just 1 season in Philly.)

    SIDE NOTE: In Rd 3, Kuharich chose CB Al Nelson from the University of Cincinnati — who played 10 years for the Birds. Returned a missed FG 102 yards at home against the Cowboys . . . to finish the scoring in a 42-7 Cowboys route. The U of C has always been good to the Eagles.

    Ringo played four years for the Eagles — making the Pro Bowl each season, though he wasn’t nearly the dominant player he’d been in Green Bay.

    Caffey later made All Pro, started on four NFL championship teams and three Super Bowl winners (’66-’67 Packers, the ’71 Cowboys. GB won the ’65 NFL title, 1 year before first Super Bowl.) Donnie Anderson went on replace HOF HB Paul Hornung and win two Super Bowls and make the Pro Bowl, and though he played 9 years, he lost a promising career to a knee injury — as did his “gold dust twin,” and 2-time SB winner, Univ of Illinois FB Jim Grabowski (who replaced HOF FB Jim Taylor).

    Ringo, like Jurgensen, was only briefly a star for the Eagles — there as the team began its years of wandering in the NFL’s desert. And, for sticking it out for 4 years in Philly under Joe “Must Go” Kuharich, Ringo made the Eagles’ HOF.

    Again, like Jurgensen, I think Ringo’s in the Eagles’ HOF because he’s in Canton and he was the best the Eagles had to offer from ’64-67.

    3. The Duchman.

    Norm Van Brocklin played on 3 seasons for the Eagles, going 19-16-1 in the regular season and, like Ringo, playing in the Pro Bowl each of those years.

    But in 1960, he led them to the last NFL title in 1960, defeating not only Lombardi’s soon-to-be Dynasty Packers for the title but also taking home the NFL MVP Award, the Bert Bell NFL Player of the Year Award, and every All Pro honor available. He was also averaged 43.1 per punt in that magical season..

    Another NFL HOFer. Maybe he reached Canton because the last mile of his career was in a town to which he brought the NFL championship. But he gave up just 3 years.

    WHAT ABOUT . . . Wes Hopkins?

    A notorious oversight, in my opinion, former Eagles’ Safety Wes Hopkins, who played 10 full seasons for the Eagles — losing all but 4 games in 1986 and the ENTIRE 1987 season after suffering a devastating knee injury just as his career hit its peak. And that injury cost Hawkins essentially all his speed; but not his quickness or his mean streak. (Oddly, despite Hopkins “take no prisoners” style while patrolling center field, he and Buddy Ryan were like oil and water. Ryan liked to “discover” his players — as he did with the late Andre Waters, Seth Joyner, and Clyde Simmons. Ryan, though, inherited Hopkins from the Marion Campbell regime, Ryan seemed to do all could to drive Hopkins out of Philadelphia . . . as I remember things.)

    Take a look at Hopkins’ career numbers and compare them to Brian Dawkins — who had an additional 3 seasons as an Eagles and, for the better part of his career, played on much better teams with much better coaches. (NO KOTITE.)

    Here’s Hopkins:

    Here’s Dawkins:

    Hopkins posted 12 sacks. Dawkins had 21 — the beneficiary in good part of a great D-Coordinator.

    Hopkins had 30 INTs. Dawkins had 34.

    Hopkins had 16 Fumble Recoveries. Dawkins also recovered 16 fumbles.

    And Hopkins was every bit the leader that Dawkins was.

    I’m not saying Hopkins was better. B-Dawk is among the Top 3 safties to ever play the game. But Hopkins was every bit the leader that Dawkins was.

    Wes Hopkins belongs in on the Eagles Honor Roll.

    Since CB Troy Vincent’s headed for the Eagles’ Honor Roll, I wanted to touch on a great piece of statistical trivia struck at the CB position.

    The Eagles added 6’4″ CB Joe “The Bird” Lavender in the 12th round of the 1974 draft, out of San Diego State (One thing Mike McCormack could do was, when he had picks, he could make some pretty good ones. Again — a story for another day.)

    Anyway, Lavendar played only 3 seasons with the Eagles. Dick Vermeil traded him to the Redskins, after a contract dispute, for 7th-year DT Manny Sistrunk (brother of Otis, who played at the University of Mars).

    While with the Eagles — in just 3 years — Lavender had 7 turnovers for 3 TDS. Pretty good percentage. The most memorable was a game-turning 97 fumble return for a TD against the Cowboys as a rookie in week 2 of MNF in 1974.

    Ironically, just one year later, in 1977 Vermeil looked back to San Diego State for a new Cornerback. One Herman Edwards — who has the MOST MEMORABLE fumble return for a TD in Eagles history. (The first Miracle at the Meadowlands for anyone not paying attention.)

    Now compare the players on the Eagles’ Honor Roll, based on 60 years of football, to the many great players we’ve seen during the Andy Reid era.

    There will players from the past 13-plus years who won’t make the Honor Roll. Because there this has been the Golden Era of Eagle football.

    Had some of these players — whoever they may be — played in the ’50s, ’60, and ’70s, it could be a different story.

    But — as commenter Honey Gratz noted a couple weeks ago — “The fans who complain about the team now have no idea how dismal it was
    to have been an Eagles fan between 1962 until a year or two after Dick
    Vermeil arrived.”

    That’s great for us as fans. And, somewhat unfortunately, not as great for posterity and the players who’ve made this era so great.

    That includes Mike Patterson.

  9. 9 iggles328 said at 11:48 PM on July 22nd, 2012:

    Hey Tommy– Did you watch Andy Reid’s press conference from today? You’ll never guess which reporter asked about Vick’s ‘dynasty’ comment.. Your buddy Sal Pal. He would harp on that. Andy had a great response to it.