Today was the first day of practice in pads, but the Eagles didn't work on anything requiring pads until the final 10 minutes or so of practice, when pass rushers were pass rushing during 11-on-11 drills, and blockers were blocking. Trent Cole had a sack and Bennie Logan looked quick during that session, while the Eagles' offense as a whole looked sluggish. That's to be expected to some degree, since they haven't faced a pass rush since 2012. Let's get to the rest of the notes.
• During that 11-on-11 session, the Eagles showed an "amoeba" look on defense, in which the majority of the rushers were standing up. It looked like they had just one down lineman with his hand in the dirt. The design is to confuse the offensive line, who does not know which players are rushing, and which ones are dropping. Here's an example of the amoeba defense, used by Seattle:
• TEs worked on "out and up" drills. That's something the 49ers do a lot of, and are very successful with it.
• I really liked this WR drill, in which the receivers have to catch passes while running by tackling dummies. This is designed to improve the receivers' focus on the football through traffic, when they may lose slight of the ball for a split second:
• Brandon Boykin has stood out to me so far. A lot of PBUs (pass break-ups), I can't recall looking at a player to see who got beat on a play and seeing #22.
• Chris Polk had a nice day. To say that he had several long runs is somewhat pointless, seeing as there's no tackling, but he looks more elusive than I've ever seen him.
• I talked about back shoulder throws in a previous recap:
Highly thrown passes down the sideline seem to be a theme so far through two days here. Many of them have looked like designed back shoulder throws. Back shoulder throws are very difficult to master, but when teams get good at executing them, they are extremely difficult for a CB to stop. Plus, high passes down the sideline are relatively risk/reward friendly, particularly with bigger targets such as the 6'3 Cooper, and 6'7 Ifeanyi Momah.
I asked Riley Cooper about the back shoulder throws, and he said they were not by design.
• The Eagles ran a fake FG today. Let's just say punter/holder Donnie Jones won't be playing QB anytime soon.
• It's time to start paying attention to OLB Chris McCoy. He had a PBU today and looks a lot more comfortable in coverage than Trent Cole and Brandon Graham. McCoy looks like a legitimate threat to grab a roster spot. Another under-the-radar guy making plays is WR Greg Salas. Salas was a former 4th round pick of the Rams in 2011.
• A bad drop by Celek earned a groan from the crowd. We talked about Celek a bit yesterday and his drops. That's the biggest need area of improvement for Brent.
• A Dennis Dixon bomb to DeSean for TD on 1-on-1's is a crowd pleaser. Jason Avant is basically uncoverable in those 1-on-1 drills. It's all head and shoulder fakes until you have no idea which way he's going, and he's always wide open. Incredible route runner. If Jason Avant could run fast, he'd be an all-time great.
• During the Eagles "speed drill," they averaged 13.2 secs from the whistle to being lined up legally on the next play. They were better 2 days ago, when they averaged 12.35 seconds.
• For those of you interested in the ever-exciting center competition, and this really only applies to the backups, today it went Kelce-Reynolds-Tennant-Vandervelde.
• The new staff seems to like this route combo: