Monday, August 31, 2015

Eagles Rookies Hit Field

Eagles rookie camp is under way, with a predictable emphasis on a learning pace. The youngsters are eager and motivated.

Eagles Rookies Hit Field

Eagles second-round pick Mychal Kendricks could compete for the starting job at strongside linebacker. (Alex Brandon/AP)
Eagles second-round pick Mychal Kendricks could compete for the starting job at strongside linebacker. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Nick Foles took his first snaps as an Eagle Saturday. Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry got their first earfuls of Jim Washburn. Mychal Kendricks intercepted a pass, as rookie camp convened.

Kendricks, the Eagles' second-round strongside linebacker from Cal, played in college against Foles, the third-round quarterback from Arizona.

"I sacked him a couple times, but I don't think I picked him," Kendricks said between the two Saturday sessions at NovaCare. Asked what he wanted to get out of the three-day minicamp composed of 44 rookies and first-year players, Kendricks said: "What the coaches want from us, what they expect ... understanding how this whole organization works is going to be a big thing for me."

Kendricks seems to be penciled in as the strongside starter, the only rookie so far who has a leg up on a starting job.

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"I'm not going to sit here and say that I'm the starter, or I'm not. They haven't said anything about that, but I'm going to sure try," Kendricks said.

Asked about feeling comfortable, he said: "I think the whole thing here is to make us feel uncomfortable, to see how much we can handle in a short amount of time ... I'm sure during the regular season practices are going to move a little slower, but maybe not. I'm just taking it day-by-day."

Nobody had the heart to tell Kendricks that Andy Reid last week extolled the new rookies-only approach to the first minicamp as a way to slow things down and take time for learning.

Asked about covering taller tight ends, Kendricks, listed at 5-11, said: "It doesn't matter at all ... It doesn't matter because, at the end of the day, I'm going to have to go out there and do it. If I do it, I do it. If I don't, then I'll probably get cut. Everything's going to handle itself ... I'm going to try my hardest, I'm going to do what I can do, and hopefully, everything will take care of itself. I don't really stress about it, and I don't think you guys should, either." 

Foles seemed to throw pretty well, overall.

'I got the playbook when I came in for a postdraft visit, so I've been able to go over it in Austin, where I'm from, so I got to start learning it, learning the verbiage, but there's nothing like coming out here and repping the play and saying it in the huddle and making sure everybody understands it, making sure all the alignments are right," Foles said.

 "It's [still just] football. It's a different level, everybody's faster ... it's a dream come true to be here."

Usually NFL teams are concerned about QBs coming out of college not having played under center very much, but Foles said they mixed it up at Arizona, didn't play shotgun all the time. "I do feel comfortable under center. I feel comfortable doing either," he said.

None of the players had worked in a team setting, with a helmet on, since the end of the 2011 season.

"It felt real good to have a helmet on, flying around, getting back to the things we do," said Curry, the second-round defensive end from Marshall.

Washburn, the defensive line coach, was his usual high-volume, pungent self. Was this a shock to rookie ears?

"Not at all," Curry said. "Coach Wash holds his guys to a high standard. As a football player, you like to be held to a high standard ... He means well."

This morning Washburn mostly "cleaned technique up," Curry said.

First-round defensive tackle Fletcher Cox said Washburn wasn't much different from coaches he'd had at Mississippi State. "I came here today ready to compete," he said.    

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