2010 Philadelphia Eagle Training Report – Morning Session

The Philadelphia Eagles moved a little closer to the end of training camp and NFL Insider Lloyd Vance was on-hand on Sunday August 15th

On a dreary day (August 15th), I packed my stuff and headed to Bethlehem, PA for my annual training camp stop with my hometown Philadelphia Eagles. Though the clouds were out for the morning session (never rained), the team looked fit and ready for practice.

Only a couple days removed from their narrow win over the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 28-27, the young birds – average age 26 – went back to work before breaking camp later this week on Wednesday. Friday’s game had some good stuff (offense moved the ball and 1st team defense got pressure) and some things to work on (turnovers, too many field goals, and defense lapses on deep passes).

But overall, this training camp has been a productive one for the young birds and everyone associated with the team that I talked to kept saying this is a group that is going to contend….make no bones about it this is not a “rebuilding” season.

Some news and notes from the morning session:

— The big news was the return of center Jamaal Jackson (#67) to practice. The veteran pivot from Delaware State is comeback from an ACL injury suffered in late 2009. As Head Coach Andy Reid said in the press conference after practice, “It will take some time”. But it was definitely good to see the big center back in the mix. Hopefully Jackson will be ready for the end of season battles with the Dallas Cowboys and their robust Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff.

— The other big news or non-news according to whomever you talk to was that veteran receiver Jason Avant “finally” dropped a pass in training camp. Avant said he wasn’t concerned with the streak, but it brought some laughter to the media throng around him after practice. In the Eagles’ slot master’s defense, he caught the pass then a DB knocked it out of his possession.

— QB Kevin Kolb (#4) clearly has taken command of the huddle and his passes were crisp. His best throw of the morning period was a touch pass to WR Jeremy Maclin (#18) over CB Asante Samuel (#22) in the corner of the endzone. The fourth-year quarterback also showed some good mobility both in and out of the pocket.

— Clearly the rookie stars of training camp WR Riley Cooper (#14) and TE Clay Harbor (#82) continued to shine. The two young guys seem to have learned their playbooks well enough to consistently get open. Cooper had some nice catches over the middle. He is a huge target (6’4, 220) that reminds me of former Broncos receiver Ed McCaffrey. And don’t be fooled from his flowing rocker hair, this guy is tough as noted by Reid in his presser. Speaking of Harbor, you could clearly see that the Birds are running two-tight end sets and that is due to the confidence they see in the youngster.

— I thought a little early the Birds were a little rusty on offense in the early 7-on-7’s, but later one they looked much better in the redzone. The quarterbacks led the way in the comeback as Kolb and backup Michael Vick (#7) were zipping in passes even in double coverage.

— Vick continued the strong work that he displayed when I saw him in OTA’s by zipping several passes by tight coverage. One throw that really stood out to me was a post pattern where he hit WR Hank Baskett (#84) in the redzone. The former Falcons’ starter also showed tremendous burst as he ran by several DB’s when needed. Also in checking my notepad, Vick hit Cooper on a great inside route late in the morning session that sent the thousands of Birds fans in attendance into applause.

— Defensively rookie DE Brandon Graham (#54) had great burst off the ball and MLB Stewart Bradley (#55) continued to look to be back from his ACL injury in 2009. Clearly RT Winston Justice (#74) has his hands full on every play with high-motor first rounder, Graham. The former 2010 Senior Bowl MVP also looks a little bit stouter, to me, than he appeared at OTAs.

— The offense seemed to be working on “Bubble Screens” a lot as I counted at least seven plays during the morning session. The player I thought looked the best on the screens was WR DeSean Jackson (#10) who is back healthy after missing some time earlier in camp.

— One of the funnier moments of the session was when Kolb threw an errant pass that a ballboy tried to snare with his head/arm even though he already had a ball in each hand.

Game Balls:

— LB Ernie Sims (flew around the football on every snap it seemed), QB Michael Vick (seems much more comfortable than ’09), Cooper (4th on the depth chart and seems in Marty’s plans), DB Kurt Coleman (broke-up several passes), and Harbor (good route-running and hands).

Needs Work:

— Rookie QB Mike Kafka needed more zip on a few throws downfield and to the sidelines

— Even though he is one of the best stories of training camp, veteran WR Kelley Washington (#17) dropped a beautiful throw from Vick.

Injuries:

RB JJ Arrington (knee), S Quintin Demps (bruised knee), and RB Mike Bell (calf)

Lloyd’s Leftovers:

— For the record, I only heard the “M” word, McNabb, only once during my trip to Lehigh and that was from a fan.

— Reid noted in his presser that the win over the Jags was nice, but clearly the Birds and Jacksonville were both “vanilla” – they play in Week 3.

— TE Cornelius Ingram (#88) who is in a roster fight with Harbor looked a little tentative and it later came out that he is battling some calf soreness.

— Today, veteran NFL scribes Peter King (Sports Illustrated) and Michael Silver (Yahoo) were also at Lehigh for their annual training camp visits.

Alright that is enough for now and I will have more after the 2:45 pm afternoon session. Just a note, it looks like rain so the Eagles will probably be indoors this afternoon.

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and Sports Journey Network , who is also an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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