If you were looking for swagger from Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis today, you were out of luck. But as Davis has pointed out previously, swagger is just pathetic if you can't back it up, and Davis clearly doesn't feel his unit is ready to dominate in its Week 1 matchup against the Redskins and Robert Griffin III.
"I'm very anxious for the Redskins to show us who we are and where we are," Davis said in his weekly meeting with reporters. "The truth will be, at the end of that game, we'll know defensively how far along we are. We're coming up against the top rushing offense in the NFL last year, fifth in scoring, one of the top offenses out there. They're very talented across the board. They played all 16 games together last season" which can't be said of Davis's defense. "We have to face that. And we have to face it using an overhauled defense with new tecchniques that we've taught. We learned in the New England game (the preseason opener), we came out there and tried to get ahead of ourselves, and play a little bit above the technique, and it hurt us. Hopefully, we'll come out Monday night and play to the technique we've worked the whole offseason on.
"But what I wish for and what I want, it doesn't matter. That game will show us where we are."
Davis said there's no question defenses will hit read-option quarterbacks whenever they can. He said practicing against the Eagles' offense gives his defense an advantage in Monday's matchup.
The brief snippet of practice reporters were allowed to watch Thursday was enlivened by a spat between wideout Riley Cooper and corner Cary Williams at the end of a 1-on-1 pass drill. They were separated by quarterback Michael Vick.
This is noteworthy because of the training camp controversy over Cooper's use of the "n-word" at a June concert. Williams has a history of feistiness, which includes being thrown out of the first of three joint practices with the Patriots last month.
This sort of thing happens all the time in the NFL, but given Cooper's notoriety, it will be a story, with teammates asked to weigh in, etc., when the locker room opens later today.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur praised DeSean Jackson.
"From when he first got here and started implementing our plan, he's done an outstanding job as far as learning what to do," Shurmur said. "He's really bought into all the sports science and getting himself ready physically and mentally."
Shurmur also called the read-option "a portion of what we do." He added: "We can do it a bunch, or we can go a game or two games and not do it at all."
Daily News Football Picks Contest: Click here to enter for a chance to win weekly and season-long prizes. Not a member? Use promo code R99B.