Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Observations: Jean-Gilles, Graham and Avant

The Eagles took the field for an afternoon practice Friday, with all their veterans in attendance. Here's what I saw.

Observations: Jean-Gilles, Graham and Avant

DeSean Jackson participated in practice today, but did not speak with the media. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
DeSean Jackson participated in practice today, but did not speak with the media. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

The Eagles took the field for their first practice since veterans reported to camp on Thursday. Here are my observations:

* Everyone was here. That's the first thing I noticed. That wasn't the case last year when there was a mad scramble to figure out where Shawn Andrews was. And of course, Jeremy Maclin had not yet agreed to a contract.

Todd Herremans is still not participating in practice, meaning Max Jean-Gilles filled in at left guard. The rest of the first-team offensive line was just what you'd expect, with Nick Cole at center and Stacy Andrews at right guard. Andy Reid talked about Jean-Gilles and his offseason lap-band surgery.

"He looks like he’s ready to pose for Esquire," Reid said. "He’s looking good. He looks good and that will help Max. Max is a good football player, and I know about weight problems, so he’ll be more effective, even more than what he was before. I think from a life standpoint, it’ll help."

* I'm keeping my eye on the backup tight ends throughout camp to see how they fit in. Today, when the Eagles went to two tight ends, it was Cornelius Ingram on the field with Brent Celek. As we learned from the 2010 Football Outsiders Almanac, the Eagles went with two tight ends on 30 percent of their offensive plays last year, which ranked 30th in the league.

* The second-team offensive line had Austin Howard at left tackle, Fenuki Tupou at left guard, Mike McGlynn at center, Dallas Reynolds at right guard and King Dunlap at right tackle. The Eagles are thin at tackle, as I've mentioned before, specifically after the draft when I was surprised they didn't select one. We'll have to see which of the backups stand out over the next three weeks.

Brandon Graham seems like a fun-loving guy. Here's what he said about the weight he wants to play at.

"The goal was to just stay where I was and just to get a little bit more muscle and work on my core," he said. "That’s the biggest thing, because my stomach, I just wanted to cut it up a little bit more, and I told coach in there that I’m going to be in the weight room a lot, every day, after practice, trying to get extra abs in, because that’s a goal of mine. I’ve got a bet with some of the players at Michigan, because they call me fatboy."

I will not be calling him fatboy. Graham still outweighs me by about 130 pounds.

* Seventh-round pick Kurt Coleman was on the field with the second-team defense. The Eagles have five safeties on the roster, so Coleman should see plenty of reps.

* Nate Allen had a couple picks during 7-on-7 drills. Significant? Not really. But if he dropped them, I'd write about it, so might as well give credit.

* Kevin Kolb connected with Jeremy Maclin on a bomb down the middle of the field. By my count, the ball traveled about 40 yards in the air.

* The catch of the day was by Jason Avant, who is apparently in midseason form. Avant stretched out and reeled in a Michael Vick pass with one hand in the end zone, much to the delight of his teammates.

DeSean Jackson is here, but he's not chatting. Jackson declined to speak with the media for the second day in a row.

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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