Jeffrey Lurie sees a 2008 Eagles team that is "very fast" on defense and "much more athletic" offensively, with the additions of running back Lorenzo Booker and rookie wideout DeSean Jackson. He "doesn't have any problem" agreeing that Brian Westbrook has outperformed his contract, calling Westbrook "one of my favorites," but he demurred when asked about Lito Sheppard. He will leave dealing with the Shawn Andrews mess to Andy Reid.
But the top sound bite from the chairman's annual state-of-the-team address at Lehigh probably was this: After Lurie declared himself "very pumped" about his team's chances, and said his expectations are "very high," the chairman said his philosophy "isn't about rebuilding, retooling, or anything -- this is going for it. That's our approach. It's pedal-to-the-metal. That's what every move is based on, or what every attempted move is based on, with an eye toward the present and an eye toward the future. But we're going for it."
The Eagles, who tried but failed to land a superstar veteran wideout in the offseason, have been criticized for trading out of the first round the past two seasons, in 2007 to draft quarterback Kevin Kolb. Lurie spoke glowingly of quarterback Donovan McNabb, and gave no indication that he sees the Kolb era on the horizon.
Lurie called McNabb "the best quarterback, when healthy, in the NFC."
"I t hink you forget sometimes how successful he's been and we've been," said Lurie, who asserted that at 31, McNabb is "right in his prime."
Andy Reid, meanwhile, disclosed he recently spoke with Andrews, but Reid gave no indication that Andrews' personal problems are close to being resolved or that he will be in camp soon. The Eagles have said Andrews' absence is unexcused, which presumably means he is being fined $15,000 a day, for nearly two weeks now.
When asked if he feels confident Andrews, a two-time Pro Bowl guard, will show up at some point in camp, Reid said: "I'll feel confident when he's here."
Asked if the situation were "critical," Reid said it isn't, as long as sub Max Jean-Gilles continues to look good.
*Strong morning workout for Kevin Curtis, who made nice catches on successive snaps, one on a crossing pattern and another on a comeback, working as usual with Donovan McNabb.
*Another ball bounced off the hands of Kris Wilson, and this one was intercepted by corner Therrian Fontenot, who made a diving catch. He looks way too athletic to be related to Chris Therien.
*Lorenzo Booker had a nice long catch down the left sideline against double coverage in 7-on-7, but Booker later suffered a rare drop.
*Akeem Jordan ripped a completion out of the arms of Matt Schobel.
*Omar Gaither and Stewart Bradley really stacked up Correll Buckhalter, the first-team defense working live against the second-team offense.