I'm not sure we really need to set up the concept of this post, right? They're practice notes, so let's just get right to them.
• The biggest event of the day was Jeremy Maclin going down after fighting for a catch with Bradley Fletcher. Maclin clutched his left knee (he tore the ACL in his right knee last training camp) and stayed down for a minute or so before being helped up. He was initially limping around, but at the end of practice he walked into the building without a noticeable limp.
Otherwise I thought Maclin looked good. His cuts on routes were sharp, and he seemed to be getting off the line at the snap with some burst. There was one play in which he tried to adjust to a ball thrown over the wrong shoulder. It was a difficult play, but he didn't look very good attempting to track down the pass. I would attribute that more to rust than lingering effects from an injury.
• The Eagles' pace during 11 on 11's today was humming. They were often getting lined up less than 10 seconds after the previous play had ended, which is very impressive seeing as we're only in June.
Could LeSean McCoy be better than Brian Westbrook?
• Jordan Matthews practices his ass off. After his reps he sprints back to the sidelines. It almost reminds me of when the 49ers' Aldon Smith used to sprint back to his seat on the bench after a series ending sack.
• LeSean McCoy has some of the most creative moves in the NFL. One of my personal favorites is when he's about to catch a pass with his back turned to a defender and he's already juking one way before he has the ball, then turns the other way to daylight. Here's McCoy juking Major Wright of the Bears out of his jockstrap in 2011:
McCoy did something similar to Bradley Fletcher in the flat today.
• In the first OTA session last week, we noted the Eagles have a new drill that I believe is designed to train the running backs to get low as they burst through the line. Photographs were not permitted during that portion of the practice last week, but they were today. Here's a video of that drill:
• In other "drill apparatus" news, the Eagles QBs were working with these tall periscope-looking things that they were trying to throw footballs into from a long distance. Apparently empty trash cans just don't give a realistic enough representation of a wide receiver. That was during the portion of practice in which cameras were not allowed, but they looked like this:
• Newcomer Bryan Braman yelled like a lunatic for most of the practice, which is nice.
• In the Noodleleg vs Murderleg competition, Alex Henery drilled a 47 yarder while the Eagles were in hurry-up mode. Carey Spear shanked a 30 yarder waaaaay wide. Noodleleg won the day!
• I timed a few of Donnie Jones' punts for hang time. His best one of the day was 5.16 seconds, which is very good, although he did have a shankopotamous.
• Trey Burton is a name some fans have asked about because he played a multitude of positions at Florida and is an intriguing athlete. Burton is working out at TE for the Eagles. He ran a corner route today in which he got wide open during 7 on 7's. The QB didn't see it, so I didn't get to see Burton complete the play, but he looked fast.
• One guy who simply couldn't play last year was Ifeanyi Momah. He couldn't create any kind of separation at all or win contested catches. However, Momah is like 8 feet tall (estimated), so a handful of fans and media outsiders were intrigued by him. For example, Neil Hornsby of Pro Football Focus visited Eagles training camp for (I believe) one day last year, and was able to deduce that the moronic Philly media were focusing their attention in the wrong places. Hornsby wrote:
"I know the media feel the need to do the Riley Cooper thing to death, but ultimately the only people they are doing a disservice are their readers and listeners. Every moment spent talking about Cooper is time they could be studying the far more interesting topic of the Eagles new offense."
While I agree the Riley Cooper coverage was perhaps a bit overdone, the "Eagles' new offense" was most certainly covered heavily as well. Here was Hornsby's take on Momah:
"It’s unusual for a college free agent to stand out, but it’s hard to miss WR Ifeanyi Momah. He stands 6’7”, weighs 240 lbs but is far from simply “a specimen”. He ran some crisp routes, caught a nice deep out and, with Cooper otherwise engaged, is making the most of his opportunities."
As it turned out, Momah was among the first cuts, which surprised literally nobody among the know-nothing mouth-breathing local mediots who attended more than a day of training camp. Furthermore, no teams around the NFL opted to add Momah to their practice squads, and he eventually re-signed with the Eagles on a futures contract after the Birds were eliminated from the playoffs.
Momah had two contested catches (one over Brandon Boykin), and looked legitimately improved. If Hornsby were at practice today, he might have written that Momah was headed to Canton.
• Fletcher Cox's speed is impressive. On a swing pass that was incomplete to LeSean McCoy, Cox got out to the flat in a flash. Very impressive for a guy his size.
• In my OTA notes last week, a reader was kind enough to email me to point out that I did not say what 'OTA' stands for.
It's "Organized Team Activities." Happy? Also, type your message in the text area, not the subject line.
• It was sunny out there today, and my face got burnt bright red. Les Bowen of the Daily News told me that if it gets any worse, Dan Snyder is going to owe me an apology.