Graham, Harbor moving up
Brandon Graham saw some action with the first-team base defense at left defensive end in place of Juqua Parker this morning. And it appears that rookie Clay Harbor has moved ahead of Cornelius Ingram in the No. 2 tight end competition.
Graham, Harbor moving up
Sheil Kapadia, Philly.com
Another day, another morning practice at Lehigh.
Here are the observataions:
* I apologize for writing about some of the same guys every day, but I just try to write what I see. One of those guys is first-round pick Brandon Graham. I wouldn't say Graham stood out in this morning's session, but what's significant is that he got some extended time at left defensive end with the first team in the base defense. We've seen Graham work with the first team in nickel situations quite a bit, but I don't remember seeing him out there in place of Juqua Parker much in the base defense prior to today. All along, I've thought that Parker would start Week 1 against the Packers. I'm going to reserve the right to change my mind though for a couple weeks here.
* The other rookie, who I just wrote about this morning, is Clay Harbor. Harbor was the Eagles' second tight end in their goal-line package - not Cornelius Ingram. After practice, Marty Mornhinweg compared Harbor and Ingram, pointing out that Harbor was a physical player ("Clay will hit you, now," he said) and Ingram was a great athlete. I think Harbor has moved past Ingram as the favorite to win the No. 2 tight end battle. Consider this: The Eagles went with two tight ends last year on 20 percent of their plays, according to Football Outsiders. Not a huge number (30th in the league), but not insignificant either. That second tight end was generally Alex Smith, who had only three catches all season. In other words, if Harbor shows he's clearly the better blocker, the job is going to be his. The Eagles already have a great pass-catching tight end in Brent Celek.
* Speaking of Harbor, he and Quintin Mikell mixed it up after one of the goal-line plays. Harbor said yesterday that he likes to hit people, but Mikell, a veteran, is not going to stand for being on the receiving end of one of those hits. Mikell gave a couple extra shoves to Harbor long after the whistle blew.
* Many of you have asked about Ingram. To be honest, he has not stood out much at all during camp. Is it possible that the Eagles keep three tight ends? Yes. Mornhinweg said after practice it could be two or three. But I'm much less confident now than I was a few weeks ago that Ingram will make the team.
* In terms of Michael Vick and his role on the field, Mornhinweg said he would expect Vick to be a "bigger factor" this year than he was in 2009. Today, we saw Vick get in with the first-team offense a little bit.
* Stewart Bradley was punishing people today. He and Ernie Sims combined to nail running back Eldra Buckley. At first, I thought Sims was mainly responsible for the blow, but other reporters said it was Bradley. Either way, Buckley was on the ground, holding his midsection. He walked off though and was not carted inside. If I had been the recipient of that hit, well, let's just say I wouldn't be typing right now. Bradley got to Buckley earlier in practice too.
* Hank Baskett beat Ellis Hobbs down the far sideline for a bomb from Kevin Kolb. Hobbs came back and defended the play successfully later in practice. I'm concerned about Hobbs starting. And I'm concerned about Baskett making the team.
* ESPN.com's NFC East blogger Matt Mosley was in the house yesterday and today. He has been at Cowboys and Giants training camp, and said the Eagles hit a lot more during practices than either of those two teams.
* Rookie Trevard Lindley looked like a pretty sure tackler this morning. He was called on to stop LeSean McCoy on a couple plays where McCoy broke through the line of scrimmage. I know that isn't Lindley's primary job, but always good to have CBs who can make plays against the run.
* A couple more impressive catches by Riley Cooper today. He made a one-handed grab early in practice when Kevin Kolb had to release the ball quickly against a blitz. Later, he showed good concentration, coming back to a ball that was tipped at the line of scrimmage and making the catch.
* On the injury front, Mornhinweg said Jeremy Maclin is day-to-day with a bone bruise. DeSean Jackson jogged lightly on the side field. Asante Samuel did the same.
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