BETHLEHEM — The offense Andy Reid said needs to get better may see a boost of confidence with Jeremy Maclin back on the field.
Maclin (hyperextended knee) worked with the first-team offense during 11-on-11 shell drills and fielded punts. However, he wouldn’t commit to a return in full pads and live hitting.
“We kind of wanted to come out here and see what I could do, and I felt pretty good,” Maclin said. “I can feel it a little bit, so I still gotta get better.”
Unlike his rookie season, when Maclin was fighting to be a contributing receiver on offense, the second-year player from Missouri is penciled in as the Eagles’ No. 2 receiver, behind DeSean Jackson (who, by the way, blew off reporters again), and doesn’t have to worry about rushing back and risking further damage.
“No matter what, you always wanna be out there competing with your guys,” he said. “I understand, as far as being a rookie, you gotta come here and prove yourself, but you still wanna be out there no matter what.”
Reid and the Eagles won’t rush Maclin back, but his talent may ease concerns for an offense that look dismal during Thursday’s Flight Night and out of synch Saturday.
Ask Reid about the offense’s progress, and he’ll pose the question of what is more true: a lackluster offense or solid defense?
The answer may be both. The defensive line has had a definitive edge on the offensive line, evidenced by the quarterbacks being flushed from the pocket to allow time for throwing the football.
On the other hand, run blocking seems to be OK, with running back LeSean McCoy hitting holes for chunks of yards.
“Everybody on the offensive side, we to get better and continue to push through this,” Reid said. “Normally what you see is that offenses come together a little bit later than defenses, if you do have a good defense.
“So, I’ve got to look at both sides of this thing, and the positive to me is that the defense is playing very well. From the offensive standpoint, we’ve got to do a better job, and we’re going to keep doing that and keep getting better as we go.”
Said cornerback Ellis Hobbs: “We definitely don’t scout them in the meeting room.”
Fullback Leonard Weaver singled out pass protection and blitz pickup on areas that need improvement. As for why a relatively sharp offense seems to have taken a step back heading into the second week of camp, Weaver says chalk it up to camp chagrin.
“A lot of players are in that camp form where we’re ready to kinda go play someone else,” Weaver said.
CB Hobbs not human in pursuit to make impact.
Hobbs referred to himself as a dog and an alien answering a question about how much he wants to prove his first season in Philadelphia was an aberration.
“There’s that dog in me that wants to prove a lot,” Hobbs said. “Just listening to some of the comments as much as you try to ignore it, I’m an alien in this country. You really haven’t seen what I can do. Last year was not a season you can judge me off of.”
Hobbs was sidelined with a neck injury last November and is set on making it a known fact he is fully recovered and can still play the game.
“I refuse to be denied what is rightly mine,” he said. “I have to go out there and prove it every day, but just my love of the game, it’s not about the money, it’s not about anything else, but just to go out there and prove that I can play with anybody in this league."
He didn’t seemed too thrilled play opposite Asante Samuel, who returned to practice this afternoon after nursing a hamstring, saying, “next question,” when asked about Samuel’s return.
The next question focused more on re-teaming with Samuel, when the two played opposite each other on New England’s perfect regular season team back in 2007-2008. Hobbs again deferred to address Samuel.
“I’m just looking forward to playing with everybody,” he said. “Ten guys who want it just as bad as I do and are gonna give the best effort and are gonna give it everything, body and all. Whoever that is out there on the field, that’s what we need.”
The majority opinion of fans and the media is a young defense, like the Eagles’, can’t blossom into a championship defense right away.
Hobbs doesn’t subscribe to that notion, though.
“I like the fact that it is young,” he said. “When you have a young mind, you have an ignorant mind, and that’s good thing at times because you don’t expect certain things to come your way, so you just kinda go into it blind, kamikaze style.
“At the end of the day, a lot of times when you see championship caliber football, you see guys go in there with the mindset of, ‘I don’t care what’s gonna happen, but I’m gonna give effort.’ And effort alone sometimes covers a lot."
Linebacker-defensive end Ricky Sapp’s morning practice was cut short (knee swelling). Running back J.J. Arrington (left foot strain) did not practice. Centers Nick Cole (knee) and A.Q. Shipley (ankle) were held out of the afternoon session.
Earlier from Andy Reid’s press conference:
(On whether Kevin Kolb will see increased playing time in the preseason)
“I think I’m going to keep it at about the same. I’m kind of working through that right now. Normally, we start off with a quarter or so, in that area, with that first group.”
(On how many WRs he plans on taking for the 53-man roster)
“That’s a competitive deal. Obviously, you can’t keep all of them. They’re making it tough on us, and that’s a good thing. I’m curious to see how they play in games.”
(On whether Brandon Graham’s time with the first-team defense in the nickel package was just a situational change)
“The top eight guys, I don’t even care, I don’t care how that thing works out. I want them all to play. I want them all to have confidence that we can call on the next guy and the next guy steps in and you don’t lose anything.”
(On whether left guard Todd Herremans will play in the preseason)
“Like the doctor said, the worst thing for that foot is continuous pounding. Well, there’s no more pounding that he’s going to take than during two-a-days, so I’m trying to eliminate some of that and just gradually ease him back in and just make sure that’s he’s with us for the whole season.”