Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

McDermott's blitzes; DeSean stands out

DeSean Jackson shows he's the Eagles' best player every time he steps onto the field. Meanwhile, Sean McDermott showed some different blitz looks Sunday. Here are my practice observations.

McDermott's blitzes; DeSean stands out

DeSean Jackson stands out every time he´s on the field for the Eagles. (Yong Kim / Staff file photo)
DeSean Jackson stands out every time he's on the field for the Eagles. (Yong Kim / Staff file photo)

DeSean Jackson was lined up against Nate Allen.

Pretty much an impossible test for the Eagles' rookie safety.

It's a one-on-one drill, and the idea is basic. The quarterback lines up. And a wide receiver lines up to one side with a cornerback or safety covering him. No offensive or defensive linemen. No help over the top for the defensive backs. It's a drill all about one-on-one coverage, where the receivers almost always win.

Allen tries to get a little bump on Jackson at the line of scrimmage. Jackson begins his route straight down the field, jukes outside and then cuts back inside. Allen sticks with him for a short period before he's left behind and Kevin Kolb delivers the ball into Jackson's hands.

The point is simple, and it certainly has nothing to do with Allen. It has everything to do with Jackson. He has missed time with a back strain, but whenever Jackson practices, he shows he's the best player on the field. For the second year in a row.

Jackson is not talking to the media. But (correct me if I'm wrong) I doubt fans will really care as long as he continues to play at the level he played at last year. All indications at Lehigh are that he's primed for another big season.

Other observations:

* The collision of the day was between running back Eldra Buckley and cornerback Asante Samuel. Samuel actually put a big hit on Buckley, but the Eagles' reserve running back absorbed it and kept on moving forward. Players on the Eagles' offense loved it as they started hollering and congratulating Buckley. Samuel talks more than any other player during practice. The blow from Buckley didn't quiet him, but it put the Eagles' offensive linemen in a position to yell back. Buckley is the opposite of Lorenzo Booker. He looks like a much better player when the pads are on.

* Today was the most the Eagles have worked on their running game in full hitting mode since camp opened.

* Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott showed a few different looks today with his blitz packages in the nickel. Once again, the line looked like this: Brandon Graham at LDE, Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and Trevor Laws inside and Trent Cole at right defensive end. But there were quite a few pre-snap shifts. On one play, Te'o-Nesheim shifted outside to right defensive end, allowing Cole to pressure up the middle. Meanwhile, Stewart Bradley and Ernie Sims lined up to blitz from the left, next to Graham.

I asked McDermott about the different looks after practice, and he said he's starting to put them in, but he really wants to still focus on the Eagles getting their base defense down.

Quintin Demps has really just kind of blended in here at camp. I think he'll make the team as a backup safety, but I can't remember him being in on many plays. Today he broke up a Michael Vick pass intended for Kelley Washington.

* During the one-on-one drills I mentioned at the start of the post, Riley Cooper lined up against Asante Samuel. Wide receivers coach David Culley joked with Samuel, asking him if he wanted them to get a smaller receiver for him to up against.

* ESPN's Adam Schefter is here at camp today. He Tweeted earlier that the Eagles' hitting is like nothing he's seen at other camps around the league this summer. And keep in mind this is a guy who's been traveling all over the place.

* Part of the job of the Eagles' coaching staff is to make sure the team is prepared for any situation. We saw that today when they practiced what to do if there are two seconds on the clock and a play is challenged on the field. Special teams coach Bobby April played the role of the official, announcing that after further review, theh ball was down at the 2-foot line. Kolb hustled under center to get a play off, finding a receiver in the end zone for a "fake" touchdown.

* LeSean McCoy did a good job picking up a blitzing Moise Fokou. Duce Staley gave him props, as did offensive line coach Juan Castillo.

* I'm not sure if Nate Allen is a big hitter, but he looks like a pretty sure tackler in run support so far.

* Sims, meanwhile, is definitely a big hitter. He drilled Clay Harbor in the back during 7-on-7s, even though the team wasn't really hitting during that portion of practice.

* I thought Vick had an exceptional practice. He made some very nice intermediate throws. The Eagles rolled him out to his left quite a bit. On one bootleg, he delivered a perfect strike to Dobson Collins, who had Quintin Mikell draped all over him.

* Why Brandon Graham is going to be a fan favorite: Darryl Tapp got pressure off the edge against Jason Peters, forcing Kolb to scramble out of the pocket and down the far sideline. Who was the guy to chase him out of bounds? Graham, coming from the left defensive end position.

Keenan Clayton missed his third straight day of practice for personal reasons. Tracy White replaced him in the second-team nickel, lining up next to Akeem Jordan.

* Omar Gaither missed practice, allowing rookie JaMar Chaney to take reps with the second team at middle linebacker.

* I've got to get a photo of 6-9 King Dunlap standing next to 5-8 Chad Hall in the huddle. Think Schwarzenegger and DeVito.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. 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 skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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