Here are five thoughts on a variety of storylines from Lehigh:
1. Owner Jeffrey Lurie gave his State of the Eagles address this morning and did his best to dumb down the hype surrounding the team's offseason moves. More on that in the video I did below with Domo.
But perhaps the most newsworthy part of Lurie's presser came when he was asked about wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who continues to hold out.
"Listen, we all really like DeSean. He’s a positive player, a good person, and we have nothing but high hopes going forward with DeSean," Lurie said. "I’m not going to talk publicly about any of the dealings with him, but it’s all positive and we look forward to DeSean being here and working things out in a great way going forward."
Later, Lurie was asked if the team had a policy of only negotiating contracts with players who are in camp, and he said yes, that has been their philosophy.
But overall, I got the sense that what I've felt all along is still true: Jackson wants a contract that will provide him with financial stability, and the Eagles want Jackson to be a part of their future. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.
Now that the Eagles have made their big splash, it's time for Jackson to show up. And it's time for the Eagles to sit down with Drew Rosenhaus and put this matter behind them. I really think it makes the most sense for both parties to move forward.
Oh, by the way, Lurie said he sees Michael Vick being here for a long time so add a Vick extension to the Eagles' to-do list also.
2. The afternoon walkthrough was scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. today. At 2:28, two rookies were the first players on the field: Danny Watkins and Julian Vandervelde. Watkins is playing catch-up, and while he's certainly had his "learning" moments in the past two days, it seems clear he's going to put in as much time as necessary to make sure he's up to speed by Week 1. Vandervelde, meanwhile, will have to fight for a roster spot.
While watching the walkthrough, I realized the Eagles had four-fifths of their offensive line intact with Jason Peters, Todd Herremans, Jamaal Jackson and Watkins. For now, Austin Howard has been getting the reps at right tackle, but that spot could be occupied by Ryan Harris as soon as tomorrow. Winston Justice, meanwhile, continues to rehab.
Overall, though, this unit is much more equipped to protect Vick than it was a week ago.
3. At one point during the afternoon walkthrough, Reid stood by Howie Roseman and Joe Banner, a scene we've witnessed time after time in the past week or so.
But maybe what was more interesting was what was happening everywhere else. On the same field, about 40 yards away, Marty Mornhinweg ran the offense, with the help of offensive line coach Howard Mudd, wide receivers coach David Culley and quarterbacks coach Doug Pederson.
On the second field, Juan Castillo ran the defense, with help from secondary coach Johnnie Lynn and safeties coach Michael Zordich.
And on the other end of the field, there was Jim Washburn with the defensive linemen.
I need to ask some of the veteran players if my theory's on point, but it sure seems like Reid is delegating on-the-field coaching responsibilities more than ever before.
4. Is it too early to look ahead to the 53-man roster? Of course not. With that being said, there are a lot of spots to be won in the next couple of weeks.
On offense, you've got No. 3 running back (Dion Lewis?); No. 5 wide receiver (Sinorice Moss?); No. 2 tight end (Clay Harbor or Donald Lee?); and offensive line (could King Dunlap and Austin Howard be fighting for a roster spot?).
That's assuming DeSean Jackson returns at some point, Jeremy Maclin gets back on the field and Winston Justice gets healthy.
5. On defense, there are spots up for grabs along the line. Will DE Phillip Hunt make the team? I think he's got a pretty good shot. What about the DTs the Eagles signed yesterday - veterans Derek Landri and Anthony Hargrove? I think there's a good chance the Eagles keep one of them, and possibly both.
Linebacker is a mystery. Casey Matthews, Jamar Chaney and Moise Fokou look like locks. I think Akeem Jordan and Keenan Clayton are favorites for two of the other spots, but a lot can change at this position in the coming weeks.
Same goes for cornerback, where pretty much everything depends on the future of Asante Samuel. If the Eagles keep Samuel, does that mean Joselio Hanson is gone? It would make sense, considering the Eagles have drafted cornerbacks Trevard Lindley and Curtis Marsh in each of the past two seasons.
And finally, safety. Kurt Coleman has looked good so far and is the favorite to join Nate Allen and rookie Jaiquawn Jarrett. But beyond that, who knows? Marlin Jackson? Jarrad Page? Colt Anderson?
We'll see what happens, but those are some of the areas I'll be keeping an eye on as the Eagles get their new free agents on the field Friday.
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