Thursday, March 5, 2015

3 Things To Watch Saturday

Alex Henery picked up in training camp right where he left off last season: nailing field goal after field goal.

3 Things To Watch Saturday

(Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
(Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Alex Henery picked up in training camp right where he left off last season: nailing field goal after field goal. 

During the team's long, 2 hour, 40 minute afternoon practice, a section of time was devoted to the field-goal unit and Henery, in particular. He nailed three of four kicks from 40 yards against a light defensive rush, then nailed four out of five from 45 to 50 yards. 

"It was good for the first day kicking with the team out there," Henery said. 

Last season, Henery set a team record and the NFL rookie record with 88.9% field goal percentage in making 24 of 27 kicks. He was a fourth-round pick out of Nebraska, where he was a first-team All-American in 2010. 

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One drill the team worked on was a simulated late-game situation. Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April set the parameters: 18 seconds left, down two with the ball 45 yards from the goal line. After one quick play, the kicking unit ran on to the field and Henery drilled the "game-winner" from 37 yards out. 

"We'll work on situations like that so that we're ready come game time," Henery said. 

A year's experience has helped Henery in this training camp as far as preparing his leg for kickoffs and field goals. "You have to pace yourself in camp, because during the season, you're only kicking two or three times a week," Henery said. "But here you're kicking almost every day. But Bobby is really good at pacing things."

For kickers, camp also is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait. "But that's also kind of like a game situation," Henery said. "It teaches you that you have to be ready when you're called on."

An unlucky number...for someone

There are 13 wide receivers in camp for the Eagles. Obviously some are camp fodder, players needed to keep the drills going without wearing out the regulars.

But as the receivers wait for their turn during drills, thoughts about the numbers game have to creep in..

"It's definitely crossed some of the guys' minds," said McKay Jacobson, a rookie free agent from BYU. "But you try not to think about it and just try to get better every day. And that can come from watching the regulars, too, guys like DeSean and Jeremy, seeing what they do and try to follow it. You can really learn a lot that way."

Ups and downs from Friday

Offensive lineman Mike Gibson got praise from the coaches for clearing out the defense, namely rookie Mychal Kendricks, on a screen pass during 7-on-7s. 

Rookie free agent wide receiver Damaris Johnson got a nice reaction from the overflow Lehigh crowd with a tough catch in a crowd.

Early in the 7-on-7s, Michael Vick picked apart the defense with precision passes. Things weren't as easy for the other quarterbacks. 

And Riley Cooper couldn't hang on to a long pass from Vick, drawing sighs from the crowd. 

And, as the players know, full contact hitting will begin Saturday, so watch for the intensity level to go up a notch. 

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