I was asked in today's chat just how devastating the events during the last two-plus weeks were for the Eagles.
It was an interesting question, being asked on the day the team wrapped up a most interesting camp. Take away the T.O. doing sit-ups in his driveway year, and most agree it was the most eventful camp in recent memory.
Here's a rundown of some of the more important events that took place at Lehigh, along with an outlook for each going forward.
Saturday July 25 -- With training camp on the horizon, the Eagles name Sean McDermott their new defensive coordiantor. It didn't come entirely as a shock, but was a tell-tale sign that Jim Johnson was not doing well.
The outlook: McDermott was impressive throughout camp. He seems to have the respect of the players and command of the system. If the Eagles' defense does not have a good year, I think it will probably have more to do with injuries and talent than McDermott. But there's no question that helping the team adjust, especially without Stewart Bradley, will be a serious challenge.
Sunday, July 26 -- Andy Reid opens camp and announces that Brian Westbrook and Victor Abiamiri will be out until at least mid-August.
The outlook: Westbrook looked to be working at a frantic pace to rehab and get back on the field. He appears ahead of schedule, although you can never really tell until he puts the pads on and gets in a game. Abiamiri's return is still unknown, and with the Derrick Burgess rumors of last week, it seems obvious that the Eagles wouldn't mind having another guy in the defensive end rotation.
Monday, July 27 -- We were told not to worry about Jeremy Maclin, that'd he'd be in camp on time. But with the rookies taking part in their first practice, the first-round pick is nowhere to be found.
The outlook: This was a running story line until he finally got on the field on August 5. By my count, Maclin missed 15 practices, a significant number for a rookie wide receiver trying to learn a new system. Maclin shows flashes of great athleticism, but I wonder how long it will take for him to get on the field regularly. Don't be surprised if early in the season the offense has to get creative in finding ways to get him involved, specifically getting Maclin the ball in space on screens and crossing patterns to take advantage of his ability to make plays after the catch.
Tuesday, July 28 -- The Eagles announce that Johnson has died of cancer.
The outlook: Obviously the saddest and most serious of any of the events during camp. I was doing a radio gig in Allentown when the news broke. It was special to hear players and coaches tell stories and memories of Johnson. He'll be remembered throughout the season and beyond as the Eagles, the fans and the city pay tribute to him.
Thursday, July 30 -- Shawn Andrews misses the veterans' first practice because his back tightened up during the conditioning run earlier in the day.
The outlook: The biggest mystery of camp. When veterans reported the day before, Andrews talked about this being the first season since his rookie year where he actually looked forward to camp. His brother was here. His former teammate Jason Peters was on board. And Andrews was getting a chance to play right tackle. When Reid explained why he was held out of practice, we wondered if the back injury was a minor issue, but Andrews never got on the field. Tough to know what the outlook is on this one, but given the comments we heard from Reid a few days ago, it seems clear that the offense is not counting on Andrews at this time.
Monday, August 3 -- We find out that Bradley has a torn ACL and will miss the season. The news was broken by WIP's Howard Eskin, and Reid later scolded the media for its efforts in uncovering the story.
The outlook: Joe Mays will get a chance to be the guy, but as of now, it looks like it'll be linebacker-by-committee with Omar Gaither entering the game in nickel situations. It would be unfair to expect Mays to play up to Bradley's level, but he seems smart, strong and capable. We'll just have to keep our eyes on this one as the games begin. The Birds don't really have another option.
Wednesday, August 5 -- Juqua Parker gets busted for pot while riding in Todd Herremans' van at around 12:30 a.m.
The outlook: As of now, it doesn't appear that there will be any football-related reprucussions here, although Reid might have to think twice next year before extending the players' curfews.
Saturday, August 8 -- We learn that fifth-round pick Cornelius Ingram has a torn ACL and will miss the season.
The outlook: This one was disappointing because Ingram looked to be every bit of the athlete we heard about during the first part of camp. The Eagles' depth at tight end is non-existent. In other words, if Brent Celek goes down, you might be yearning for the days of L.J. Smith. OK, we won't go that far, but they'll be in serious trouble. Rob Myers will get a shot in the first preseason game, but the Eagles have to be monitoring other teams' rosters to see what tight ends might become available.
Monday, August 10 -- Kevin Kolb leaves practice with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
The outlook: It sounds like Kolb's injury isn't too serious although he will sit out Thursday night's game against the Patriots. Last year was the first time in five seasons that Donovan McNabb played all 16 games so there's a pretty good chance the Birds will have to count on Kolb at some point in 2009.
Wednesday, August 12 -- Reid announces that Herremans could miss the entire preseason with a stress reaction in his left foot.
The outlook: If you read training camp preview stories, they more than likely mentioned continuity and chemistry on the offensive line. So much for that. No sign of Shawn Andrews. The Birds are being cautious with Stacy. And now no Herremans. With the team returning to Philly to face the Patriots in their preseason opener, what was considered the team's strength a few weeks ago is now one of its biggest questions.
Did I miss anything?