Practice continued here today at Lehigh, with Joe Mays getting (by my count) every rep at middle linebacker with the first team.
During "individuals" the defense worked on reacting to different shifts by the offense, such as a tight end going in motion. During the walkthrough, Sean McDermott had Mays blitzing up the middle on a couple plays. Sheldon Brown, meanwhile, observed while going over things with secondary coach Mike Zordich.
When the second team got on the field, McDermott needed some help to simulate the offense. Mays jumped in as the "fake" fullback. Can't hurt to get in there as much as possible, right? Brown, meanwhile helped out Quentin Demps as they watched the action.
It's a new defense. A new defensive coordinator. A new safety. And a new middle linebacker. Brown is the only remaining member of the Super Bowl defense. This is how practice is going to be for awhile.
Some other notes from this morning:
** It's fun to watch LeSean McCoy during this whole process. The guy has someone in his ear every second of every practice. Today Andy Reid told him to make sure he finishes plays, and later instructed McCoy to keep his head up. He didn't make the mistakes again, and showed good strength carrying cornerback Joselio Hanson for some extra yards.
** Reid also yelled at Lorenzo Booker to get off the ground after he took an extra couple of seconds following a play.
** I thought this was one of Hank Baskett's better practices. And the streak is still alive. Every day I've been here, a fan has made a Kendra comment to Baskett.
** Kevin Curtis caught a 70-yard bomb from Donovan McNabb, making a nice play on the ball. He's clearly one of the team's best five receivers. I don't buy the whole 'he could be the one to get cut' talk.
** I was trying to think earlier who's been the most impressive in camp so far. My vote goes to DeSean Jackson. He makes a couple big plays every day. Today, he took a blow to the family jewels but didn't miss much action. Brent Celek seemed to get a kick out of Jackson later retelling how it happened.
** The team worked a lot on short yardage throughout practice. At one point, a carry to Leonard Weaver came up short. McNabb called for the red challenge flag.
** During the short-yardage drills, the offense ran a play that should immediately be removed from the playbook. Kevin Kolb faked a QB sneak and then delivered an overhand pass behind him to a running back to his left. I've never seen this play work. And it's one that will drive the fans crazy if attempted at a crucial time this season.
** Refs were here today, and they gave a presentation after practice. Interesting to note that the whistle no longer always means the play is dead. It can still be reversed if the ball is "clearly recovered" by the defense. In other words, if the quarterback loses control of the ball and it's ruled an incomplete pass, the play isn't necessarily dead. The players will be instructed to go after the ball. If a defensive player clearly recovers the ball and the play is challenged, and reversed, it will be ruled a turnover.
** I spotted Jeffrey Lurie here this morning (unless my Lasik is playing tricks on me and I'm imagining things), but it didn't look like he was talking to the media.
** I did not see Omar Gaither get a single rep at middle linebacker. He did make a couple nice plays at outside LB though, stuffing the run once and blitzing up the middle on another.
** I've said it before, but you're really going to like Weaver. The guy does not miss blocks, and linebackers have looked hopeless trying to bliz against him.
** We could get a glimpse of Jeremy Maclin during the afternoon practice, which is just special teams. By my count, he has missed 14 practices. For the record, MTC has missed just two.
** Much more later including a Football Outsiders post and hopefully a mailbag.