Friday, February 12, 2016

Practice observations: Eagles position coaches

The Eagles practiced for one last time without the veterans on Thursday morning. Here are my observations.

Practice observations: Eagles position coaches

Eagles rookie Daniel Te´o-Nesheim runs through drills with Ricky Sapp.  (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)
Eagles rookie Daniel Te'o-Nesheim runs through drills with Ricky Sapp. (Yong Kim / Staff Photographer)

The next time the Eagles take the practice field, the veterans will be in attendance.

And it's a good thing. If I write one more thing about Riley Cooper, I'm going to start getting accused of having a man-crush (kind of like Costanza).

With that being said, here are my observations from the morning practice:

* Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick were given the day off, which meant a lot of throws from rookie Mike Kafka. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg praised Kafka for his smarts and his grasp of the mental part of the Eagles' offense. However, don't get carried away. The physical part is definitely not there at this point. If the Eagles had to rely on Kafka to play in a real game, they'd be in big trouble.

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* The players were told to go, and offensive lineman Jeraill McCuller met rookie DE Ricky Sapp head-on. Out of nowhere came offensive line coach Juan Castillo, excited as could be with the job McCuller was doing fighting off Sapp. These one-on-one drills are very entertaining. An offensive lineman and a defensive lineman line up across from each other and just go at it. An assistant holds the ball behind the offensive lineman as the mock quarterback. Good discipline by the players. Really, any one of these could lead to a drag-out fight. There's pushing, holding, swinging, everything. But it seems like most of the players are used to it at this point in their careers. It's been the most physical aspect of camp so far.

* During 7-on-7 drills in the red zone, Kafka dropped back, looked for a receiver, found no one and scrambled out of bounds. Rookie safety Nate Allen started clapping and looked back at defensive backs coach Dick Jauron, who offered a tame fist pump. The secondary had done its job.

Nothing overly significant there. But just interesting that Jauron, a guy who turns 60 in October, a guy who has been the head coach for 142 games and a guy that has been coaching in the league for 25 years, still shows enthusiasm during a practice in late July. Remember when you were a kid and coaches made you run through drills before scrimmaging? That's kind of what it's like. Once the players get to participate in 7-on-7s or 11-on-11s or even 1-on-1s, the competitive factor takes over.

* During an early-practice drill, Jauron worked with the DBs on tucking the ball away after inteceptions. He instructed them to pretend an offensive player was coming from behind to strip it. Basic fundamentals, but also one of those things you seem to yell at the TV about when the actual games begin.

* I've mentioned both Castillo and Jauron above. I can't emphasize enough the role that the assistants play. The position coaches are the ones doing the teaching and forming close relationships with the players. Andy Reid is the face of the coaching staff; Sean McDermott the face of the defensive staff; and to an extent, Mornhinweg the face of the offensive staff. But the assistants do so much of the day-to-day, minute-to-minute work that you see here.

* If Jordan Norwood was two inches taller and 30 pounds heavier, he would be Jason Avant. The Penn State product has great hands and seems to have a knack for getting open. Just not sure his size will ever allow him to get on the field consistently in the league.

* Players putting in extra time: Kafka threw for a few minutes after practice with wide receiver Chad Hall. And Sean McDermott, Dick Jauron and Mike Zordich crowded around rookie safety Kurt Coleman with some extra instructions after the team session had ended.

* I thought Mornhinweg's answer when asked about DeSean Jackson possibly returning punts was interesting. Mornhinweg essentially said they should absoultely use him back there. "Why wouln't ya?" was his response.

* GM Howie Roseman is 3-for-3. He's been here every day this week at practice.

* Take these observations with a grain of salt. As I've mentioned previously, only two projected starters are here: Kolb and Allen.

* The Eagles worked out a pair of receivers this morning. More information on that here.

* We've launched an MTC app for IPhone/IPad/IPod Touch users. You'll see some video and other pieces of content there that we don't have up on Let me know what you think and if you have any feedback.

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About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at or by clicking here

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