BETHLEHEM -- It was an interesting morning at Lehigh, highlighted by Quintin Mikell, Brodrick Bunkley and Omar Gaither stopping Mike Bell on a live fourth-and-1 running attempt.
Gaither was playing first team middle linebacker because Stewart Bradley is suffering from mild hamstring spasms, the team said. A practice absence on the first day of August is no big deal, but given that hitting just started Saturday, it's a little concerning that the leader of the defense, scraping off the rust after a full year's absence, suffered a boo-boo right away.
DeSean Jackson sat out, as expected, with what the team said was a lower back strain, suffered in Saturday's afternoon session. Both Bradley and Jackson are listed as "day-to-day." While the injuries aren't considered serious, Bradley and Jackson would make anyone's list of the four or five most crucial Eagles in 2010.
Also Sunday, Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou switched spots, Jordan playing with the first team on the strongside.
The Eagles continued to make and unmake roster moves. First, rookie running back Martell Mallett was cut Saturday so the team could bring back veteran linebacker and special teams ace Tracy White, in the wake of the trade that sent Joe Mays to Denver. Then, Sunday, the team yanked Mallett back from waivers and cut running back/fullback Dwayne Wright. Why not just cut Wright instead of Mallett the first time? Maybe there was enough waiver interest in Mallett for the Birds' brass to think they might get someone to trade something for him.
Right now, LeSean McCoy is the No. 1 running back, Bell is the backup, and Mallett is competing with Eldra Buckley, newly acquired J.J. Arrington and rookie Charles Scott for a third spot.
Bell didn't get any blocking on the fourth-down attempt.
"There's only so many things you can do. We know there was going to be a run; the line was leaning so heavily. We just got downhill and made a play," said Gaither, who is coming back from a foot injury that sidelined him for the final 11 games of the 2009 season. "I'm having fun; I haven't played in so long, this is fun for me. You don't realize how much you miss it until you can't play anymore. I'm just happy to be out here running around."
Other notable morning moments:
*Mike Bell put Trent Cole on his back, Bell pass-blocking for Kevin Kolb.
*Eldra Buckley seems like a longshot to make the team again, but he got the ball three plays in a row live, two carries and a catch, and he reminded fans of why he stuck last year. Dude goes hard, every time.
*Shady McCoy dropped a pass over the middle, but Kolb came back to him as the hot read on a blitz and McCoy jetted about 25 yards for a "touchdown," had anyone been keeping score.
*Kolb rolled away from pressure and found Riley Cooper at the right sideline. Defensive sticklers wanted to debate whether Cooper was inbounds, but it was a great play by Kolb either way.
*Macho Harris saw a Mike Kafka pick carom off his hands.