The Eagles had their first padded practice since they faced off against the Patriots last Friday. They even had a tackling drill, although it couldn't have lasted for more than 5 minutes. The notes...
• Earl Wolff got some reps with the 1's today at safety. Defensive coordinator Billy Davis categorized that as Wolff just being next in line to get reps with the 1's. I haven't seen much of a rotation at safety throughout camp. Kenny Phillips has mixed in a little, but it has mostly been Nate Allen and Patrick Chung with the 1's. The timing of Wolff being inserted in with the 1's seems like more than just a rotation, although Davis was clear to note that Wolff will not play with the 1's tomorrow. Nate Allen and David Sims ran with the 2's.
• Clay Harbor worked as a WR again today. I think that might be viewed negatively. I don't read it that way at all. Harbor is an athletic freak with the kind of speed that most TEs across the league don't have. He just seems like a guy to me that a new staff would love to try to "fix." Harbor is rocked out... He's ripped. The Eagles' staff has to be impressed by his physique. The old staff might have gotten to the point where they would have moved on, due to Harbor's lack of production, but I can see Chip Kelly and Co. sticking with him for a season to see if they can work some of their magic on him.
• There seemed to be a really good energy from the defense today. They were chippy. Bradley Fletcher threw Riley Cooper to the ground on one play. Patrick Chung got into it a little bit with Brent Celek. Brandon Boykin looked angry at times today. It was good to see a little fire.
• Punt return drills are always fun to watch at practice. The only two punt returners today, initially anyway, were DeSean Jackson and Damaris Johnson. As noted in previous recaps, the punt returners field punts while holding tennis balls in each hands. This forces them to catch the ball with their body. Damaris never really had much of an issue with it, but DeSean did. Today, they were both perfect.
However, at one point, LeSean McCoy joined in on his own and wanted to field some punts. Chip Kelly obilged. Shady had four chances to catch a punt, and he misjudged them all. He muffed one, had one sail about five yards over his head, and he actually caught two of them, albeit over his head, Rod Woodson style. After the one that sailed over Shady's head, Kelly laughed at him:
• The Eagles showed an interesting look on defense today. They had Connor Barwin lined up way outside on the WR, and blitzed him off the corner. They showed the same look later with Everette Brown.
• Temporary starting LT Allen Barbre did a good job on Trent Cole today during 11-on-11's. Cole didn't sniff the QB. I'd have to think Barbre is looking like a lock to make the team at this point. Jason Peters got some work in today in a few drills, although he did not participate in 11-on-11's.
• Vick hit a flyswatter today. He has to be nearing double-digits on flyswatter hits so far throughout the entire offseason. Vick must see those guys in his sleep:
• I liked a play I saw from Cedric Thornton today. He read screen, and had to hustle out to affect the play. That forced a throwaway from Nick Foles. Good instinct by Thornton, and nice quickness to get out and mess up the play.
• Here's what I love about the Philly media. You have a guy in Damion Square (no offense to Damion) who is competing just to be a guy who makes the team as a "back of the roster guy" who would likely be inactive for most games even if he did make it. After practice, he had about a dozen reporters and at least 4 cameras around him:
• Emmanuel Acho continues to impress me. He ran down the seam with James Casey and had great coverage. He flashes at least once/day lately.
• Brandon Boykin went down today near the sidelines, among the fans. It was a rare opportunity to see the trainers do their thing. Boykin's helmet had come off and one of his teammates caught him in the face with his shoulder pad, which cut Boykin's face. When one of his teammates got a look at him, he said, "That looks bad. You won't be getting any girls." Boykin let me take a picture of his face after practice:
I think he'll be OK.
• The Eagles traded Nate Menkin today to the Texans for former Oregon WR Jeff Maehl. This ends the tenure of one of the all-time Eagle greats. Nate Menkin, you will be missed.