Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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3 things to watch Saturday

Catching on

3 things to watch Saturday

"It´s a great opportunity to get more reps and to build camaraderie with the guys on the line," Clay Harbor said. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
"It's a great opportunity to get more reps and to build camaraderie with the guys on the line," Clay Harbor said. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

Catching on

The best thing to happen to Clay Harbor this training camp was the one thing that's driving Brent Celek nuts--the knee injury that has him on the sidelines. "It's only been a week, but it feels like three months," Celek said.

Celek's temporary break has given Harbor his moment in the hot Lehigh sun, and he's capitalized on it. 

"It's a great opportunity to get more reps and to build camaraderie with the guys on the line," Harbor said.

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His improvement from his struggles during the Organized Team Activities earlier this year have not gone unnoticed. After yet another catch in traffic during the live scrimmage Friday, even members of the defense on the sideline were hooting in praise. 

So were the coaches during a blocking drill, singling out Harbor and Brett Brackett at one point. 

"It's great just to get that rapport with Mike [Vick] so we're ready for Sundays," Harbor said. 

The sky's the limit

Bobby April and Andy Reid are going to have a tough decision on their hands at some point choosing between incumbent punter Chas Henry and newly signed two-time Pro Bowler Mat McBriar. 

But for now, April enjoyed the Air Show the two put on during a "kick-off" of sorts. Henry and McBriar took turns punting for distance and also accuracy inside the 20, and the competition ended in what would be considered a successful draw. 

"Bobby was joking with us that we had the Blue Angels flying out there," Henry said. "We had a good day. Competition brings out the best in people."

Henry struggled with consistency last season and his 42.9-yard average ranked 29th in the NFL. But the challenge from McBriar has focused the second-year punter.

"He's a good guy, and I have no hard feelings," Henry said. "I'd love to stay in Philly, I love the town, the community, the organization, so we'll see how it goes. But I understand that's part of the business."

Second (team) chances

With so many starters sidelined and so few starting positions up in the air, the Eagles training camp has become a proving ground for second-team players. Among those to impress Friday, besides Harbor, were:

--Dion Lewis, who has McCoy-esque moves when he's squared up one-on-one with a defender;

--Chad Hall, who is thriving as a slot receiver; 

--Bryce Brown, who needs a small gang to bring him down on his runs;

--DT Cedric Thornton, who jumped into the backfield for tackles twice during the live scrimmage; 

--and, in a strange way to show his toughness, Julian Vandervelde, who throw up late in the scrimmage, but then quickly ran to his position on the offensive line even as Andy Reid called for the trainers. Talk about, "Put me in, Coach, I'm ready to play..."

About this blog
For news, stats, video, live chats and more, Red Zone is the place to find Eagles coverage you can't get anywhere else. Reach Jimmy at jkempski@philly.com.

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
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