Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

That Minicamp Is Outta Here

The Eagles' first 2009 minicamp is history. The youngsters looked promising and nobody got hurt, so it has to be considered a success, as minicamps go.

That Minicamp Is Outta Here

Donovan McNabb was all smiles during mini-camp drills over the weekend. (Michael S. Wirtz/Staff Photographer)
Donovan McNabb was all smiles during mini-camp drills over the weekend. (Michael S. Wirtz/Staff Photographer)

The Eagles' first 2009 minicamp ended soggily Sunday at NovaCare. As such things go, it seemed to go well. The new offensive skill guys -- Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Cornelius Ingrarm -- all impressed, to the extent that you can impress while running around in shorts in noncontact situations. Furthermore, nobody got hurt.

It would have been nice to have gotten a better sense of what's up with quarterback Donovan McNabb, but since McNabb was in camp and apparently has not asked to be traded or to be allowed to go work the land with Brett Favre, we have to assume nothing is horribly wrong. We'll hear from No. 5 eventually, one way or another.

Eagles coach Andy Reid, in his remarks when camp opened Friday and then again in Sunday's closing statement, laid out some offensive goals -- getting better in the red zone, in short yardage, and on the goal line. Hard to argue with those areas of emphasis; shortcomings there helped make an offense that set a franchise scoring record inconsistent and unreliable in 2008.

Below is the text of what Reid had to say Sunday, but first, a shout-out to everybody who spent their Sunday morning slogging down Broad Street for the 30th annual Broad Street Run, and to everyone who cheered on the runners, including at least two people who recognized the ungainly, graceless stride of your Eagletarian. It was the slowest, wettest and most painful of my three Broad Streets, but then, this is also the oldest I've ever been ... and the first time I've ever had to go right over to minicamp afterward. It's a strange thing, interviewing athletes after they've worked out and knowing you're sweatier and more fatigued than they are.

But back to Andy:  

Opening Statement:

“On the injury side of it here, [DB] Macho Harris is sick so he wasn’t out at practice today. Then the rest of the guys that I mentioned to you [in Friday’s press conference], they did not return today. It was a good camp for us. It was the first step to getting ourselves right for the 2009 season. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I see the right attitude out here. I look forward to getting the guys back for the passing camps and then training camp. The time is yours.”

On whether there is one thing the team is looking to improve with the change of personnel on offense:

“We have a lot of things, is there one thing? [There is] probably not one thing. There are a handful of things. We talked about the red zone, short yardage, and goal line. Those are things we need to do a better job at. That’s not the reason why we brought in the personnel that we brought in. We needed to change some things on the offense, maybe in some spots where we were getting a little bit older and we needed to get a little bit younger, and we did that.”

On what he’s seen from T Jason Peters in this minicamp:

“You can see his feet and his athletic ability. He’s been in the league long enough where we’ve seen him against competition in this league. It looked like he was doing the same things he did before. We changed up his technique a little-[offensive line coach] Juan [Castillo] has on his drop-back game and I think that will help him a little bit more.”

On how much better he would like to run the ball in the upcoming season:

“(Jokingly) we’re striving to lead the league in rushing this year.”

 On whether the moves the team made in the offseason are geared toward running the ball better:

“Not necessarily. We try to run it efficiently every year and we run our offense. We do what we do and we’re going to do what’s best to win the game. That’s not what these moves were necessarily for, no.”

On TE Cornelius Ingram:

“I thought he showed a lot of athletic ability. I thought he caught the ball consistently. He’s never really gone from a down stance other than in spring football, so it was good to see him do that. Again he looks very athletic and he’s smart enough where he was picking things up. We’ll see when we put the pads on how he does there and what his retention is when he comes back.”

On whether WR Kevin Curtis’ injury had any impact on the team’s decision to trade up and select WR Jeremy Maclin:

“No.”

On whether the team is focusing on running the ball more efficiently:

“That’s what I was saying. We really strive to run it efficiently; that’s our goal. I think things get blown way out of perspective on the run game part, as far as the number of runs we do, but we’re going to do what we think is best to win the game.”

 On improving the red zone offense:

“It’s a combination of things. I think we can be more consistent catching the football in the red zone. Everything is tighter, that end line becomes the 12th man, so defenses are playing a little bit tighter in there and that makes it tougher to catch it. You have to be able to use your big bodies in there and do a good job with them. Normally it’s tight catches that stand out and being able to run the ball more efficiently in there.”

 On how unusual it is to have three rookies like Ingram, Maclin and RB LeSean McCoy who could possibility step in and contribute right away and what challenges they face:

“This is just the first step. We introduce three days worth of install and in training camp they’re going to have 10 days worth of install. Now they are going to come back for the OTAs and the passing camps [and it’s] important that they retain what they’ve learned in this camp here. In these camps you work mostly on the pass game, because it’s a non-contact camp. Once we get all the run game in on top of that, we introduced it in this camp, but once we get everything in that part of the game, they have to learn [that] also.”

 On whether the coaching staff spends time drawing up plays that fit the new player’s skill sets:

“Really we just put in our base offense for this camp, not really knowing exactly what you have until they are here. Now, you have an idea and if there are things we want to design from here, we can for the next camp. But, this one I just wanted the guys to come out and see what they are all about. [I wanted to] see what their movement qualities are, stop-start ability and speed down the field, and all those things.”

 On whether he thinks he’ll have the opportunity to add new plays because of the team’s offseason acquisitions:

“I don’t think it will be an exorbitant amount of new stuff. There might be a couple of wrinkles in there that we can do.”

 On whether any of the undrafted rookies stood out:

“I think there are a few of them actually, but I’m not going to sit here and pick them all out. There are a few. I’m sure I know who you’re asking about, the tight end and what he did in the red zone today. He did a nice job down there, Eugene Bright, but there’s quite a few of them. They’ve done a nice job in this camp.”

 On how WR DeSean Jackson has changed since this time last year:

“He’s playing faster. He knows what he’s doing. I’m comparing it to when he came to this camp the first time. It was all new to him, so he wasn’t moving quite as confidently or as fast as he is now.”

 On the differences in the learning curve for Maclin versus the learning curve for Jackson:

“It was probably closer for Jackson, or easier for him to transfer over to this offense. They were very similar to the one he ran at Cal. Missouri was more of a spread offense. The intermediate routes in the spread offense really don’t take place like they do in this offense. It’s either down the field or shorter, breaking routes. It looked like he didn’t have any problem learning, or running the routes. He seemed to pick up on things fast. He’s a real smart kid. I think their first minicamps were very similar.”

 On whether players like Maclin go home from this camp with a lot of homework:

“Yeah, they do. We give them things that they need to work on when they leave here. Now there’s a good chance that he gets together with [QB] Donovan [McNabb] in Arizona and they work routes together. Donovan normally has the young guys out there and some of the veteran guys out working out with him.”

 On whether any of the rookies will have to miss any of the other camps due to trimesters or other academic restrictions:

“There’s one. I can’t remember exactly who it is but there is one. I think the rest of them will be here.”

 On DB Macho Harris:

“I came in to this feeling like he could play both [cornerback and safety]. I thought he was a good corner at the college level and he’s got enough quickness and smarts where I think he can play corner at this level, but at the same time I thought he did a nice job at the safety spot. Macho is a real physical guy, so when we put on the pads I’ll be curious to see how that transfers. At the college level he’d come up and whack you pretty good, so we’ll see if that transfers.”

 On whether McNabb bringing the younger guys to Arizona to work out with him helps with his leadership:

“A couple things take place. First of all, they learn how to run the routes, they get to run the routes more and practice them, and Donovan knows how the routes are supposed to be run. They actually get a little bit of extra coaching before they come back here. Then Donovan becomes familiar with the receivers, which might be the most important part of it. It helps them, when they come back into camp, to be on the same page.”

 

 

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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