Today the Eagles practiced for the 2nd time in front of fans at Lincoln Financial Field. They wore shells and shorts today (no pads). Here's what I saw...
• Let's start with the QBs. Michael Vick and Nick Foles both had good days. Vick had a really good day, especially if you're looking at results. In his first 7-on-7 session, Vick took the offense right down the field. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. Bang. 5 plays. TD. Oohs and ahhs around the Linc.
Buuuuut... It could probably be just as accurately stated that the defense didn't cover anybody today. On one of Vick's throws, Brent Celek was standing near the sidelines without a defender within 10 yards of him. Celek caught the pass, and ran 20 yards down the field before anyone got anywhere near him. On the TD on that drive, Vick hit a wide open Jason Avant over the middle, who walked in for the score. Credit Vick for identifying the player who didn't have a defender in the same zip code as him. But that's not really what impresses me.
Here's what impressed me:
- Vick threw a pass with absolutely perfect touch down the sideline to DeSean Jackson for about 30 yards. DeSean had half a step and Vick layed it out in front of him on a platter. Gorgeous throw.
- Vick's quick release.
- Vick's speed, which looks better than it did at times last year.
- Nick Foles threw in between two defenders to Arrelious Benn. Benn did a nice job splitting the defenders and coming back toward the ball. Nice job by both QB and WR. Foles saw Benn working back toward him, trusted that Benn would continue to come back for the ball, and he did. Really well done.
- Foles had nothing open on 3rd and G from around the 5, and instead of forcing something, he threw it out the back of the end zone. It's pretty easy to force something in on 7-on-7's on 3rd and G during practice. There are no REAL repercussions, and it's tempting to not give up on a play like that in front of the fans, but he did the prudent thing and took 3 instead of possibly turning it over.
- Foles made an "anticipation throw" to DeSean in the back of the end zone for a TD. DeSean hadn't yet come open, but Foles saw the play unfolding ahead of the action, and "threw him open."
In other words, how each player looks is more important to me than results... for now. Both QBs had good days. If we're picking the winner for the day, I'm going Vick. In fact, I'd probably give Vick the edge over the last 3 practices, but by small margins. Practices are important, but the preseason games will decide this competition.
Ohhhh, hey... What's this? The Eagles released their first depth chart?
I'll save you the trouble. Here's who they listed as the starting QB:
• Chris Polk continues to impress. On one play, he was lined up in the slot, 1-on-1 against Mychal Kendricks. Polk smoked Kendricks on a slant route. Impressive. I haven't seen Kendricks beaten that badly all camp, and he has covered guys like Damaris Johnson and Russell Shepard from the slot. Polk also tore off a long run, which was legit, even without tackling. Nobody even got a finger on him. Good burst. Polk is a completely different player than what I saw in camp in 2012. If he continues to play this well, he's not only going to wrap up the #3 RB job, but he's going to contribute in a meaningful way. Meanwhile, Felix Jones had a drop and a double-catch today.
• We got to see Alex Henery kick off today. He looked good. Here's where he landed his 4 kicks:
- 5 yards deep.
- 3 yards deep, angled to the sideline.
- 7 yards deep.
- 6 yards deep, angled to the sideline.
• Fellow practice note taker Sheil Kapadia of Philly Mag pointed out to me that the Eagles were in a 3-safety set on defense. The Giants run 3-safety sets, and have been successful with it at times. I'm on board with the concept (getting another guy on the field who can theoretically tackle and cover), but I'm not sure I love the idea when the safeties just aren't very good.
• Damaris had a pretty sick move today. While catching a pass on a slant, he cut on a dime and darted back toward the sideline. That move juked Kurt Coleman out of his shoes.
• The Eagles ran a drill today which emphasized being ready for a fake punt. I've never seen that.
• Zach Ertz had another drop today. He and Brent Celek are competing for the most dropped balls in camp award, which is less than prestigious.
• Part of my job here is to shoot short little 1-2 minute videos, in which I introduce a sound bite from a player or coach who speaks after practices. This requires me to work closely with the camera operator. She films the player, while I hold the microphone. When we move from one player to the next, or from the interview area to wherever we shoot my part of the video, she carries the camera and tripod, while I carry either the microphone or nothing at all. I've offered to carry the heavy stuff in the past, but she always declines. The camera operator is a female who can't weigh much more than 100 lbs., while I'm about 6'4, 205. This has led some current players/coaches to bust my chops for making her carry all the equipment.
Today, while we headed out to the field at the Linc, there's Bill Bergey standing in the tunnel sizing me up. And sure enough... Bill Bergey, Eagles legend, basically yelled at me for a good 15-20 seconds for not being a man. So that was awesome.