Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Practice notes: Celek, Booker and more

Towards the end of practice when the Eagles closed with their special teams units working on kickoff returns and kickoff coverage, most of the offensive skill players took a knee on the sidelines.

Practice notes: Celek, Booker and more

Towards the end of practice when the Eagles closed with their special teams units working on kickoff returns and kickoff coverage, most of the offensive skill players took a knee on the sidelines.

But not Brent Celek.

The Eagles' tight end was on the sideline about 10 yards away from one of the assistants, practicing catching the ball and securing it. Over, and over, and over again.

It's like shooting free throws, right?

Celek made a few good grabs this morning. On one play he beat Stewart Bradley over the middle during 7-on-7s. On the very next play, he showed great concentration by holding on to a ball that was deflected by Akeem Jordan.

There was one more during 11-on-11s where he found room to run afterwards, drawing applause from the fans.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Lorenzo Booker, who dropped a couple passes. He also dropped one yesterday. Andy Reid said Booker has good hands so he wasn't sure what the problem was today.

Some other observations from the first full-squad practice with pads:

** Hank Baskett had a drop during drills, drawing boos from the crowd. Baskett later made a 45-yard grab from McNabb. When asked about Baskett's offseason and how it might affect him, Reid joked: "What happened?" He added that he's seen no change in Baskett.

** I don't know how Juan Castillo and some of the other coaches ever have a voice left. They must gargle with salt water every night.

** Some new numbers to learn. 26 is Sean Jones, not Lito Sheppard. 82 is Eugene Bright, not L.J. Smith. And No. 23 is Dimitri Patterson, not Troy Vincent. OK, so Vincent's been gone for awhile, but it's still who I thought of at first.

** A frustrated Joe Mays snapped off his chin strap after misreading a play during defensive drills. Sean McDermott ran over, showed him what he did wrong and slapped him on the backside. It's still early, but I think Philadelphia is really going to embrace the new defensive coordinator. He learned from the best.

** By my count, the first big hit came at 9:23 a.m. Quintin Mikell appeared to have an interception during the first play of 11-on-11s but was leveled by teammate Chris Gocong. Both players were OK. Sheldon Brown, by the way, was the first player to run over and help Mikell up.

** Quentin Demps walked over to the trainers' tent at one point to get looked at, but he returned to the action shortly thereafter.

** Who says it's only practice? Mikell waved to the fans to make noise after the defense stopped the offense and Donovan McNabb on a mock third-down play.

** The catch of the day probably goes to DeSean Jackson for a diving, 25-yard grab on the far sideline, which brought the crowd to its feet.

** You know the saying Practice like you play? Jason Avant should be the poster-child. Great hands, steady throughout. Seems like as coachable a guy as you'll find at this level.

** Reggie Brown made a catch near the sidelines during 7-on-7s and had a chance to go out of bounds. He instead cut inside, juked Chris Gocong and absorbed a hit.

** Eldra Buckley had probably the longest run of the day, which brought laughs and cheers from McNabb and Leonard Weaver on the sidelines.

** Nick Cole got reps at center and guard.

** QUESTION: Am I over-tweeeting during practice? Or do you enjoy the updates?

** I'm pretty sure the Inquirer and Daily News guys will have more on this, but Brian Westbrook was on the sidelines during drills, helping LeSean McCoy and some of the other guys. Bob Brookover of the Inquirer talks more about that in today's video, which will be up later this afternoon.

** To the fan who constantly yelled "C'mon Brian, quick peek!" for about 15 minutes while Westbrook was talking to teammates and watching practice, give it a rest! I know fans like photos, but this guy was in his mid-40s and wouldn't shut-up. What would it have taken for him to realize Westbrook was trying to focus on practice rather than give him a wave?

** Was that too harsh? Maybe I'm hungry. Back with more later. And don't forget Les Bowen is chatting on philly.com at 1.

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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