Day 3: Three things to watch

"I'm excited to see DeMeco Ryan here because his leadership and his play-making abilities will help us up the middle," said Mike Zordich. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Veterans' day

Step aside, youngsters, here come the big guns.

The rookies' last chance to be the coaches' sole focus during live action took place at Tuesday's afternoon practice, since Eagle veterans report to camp Wednesday.

The rookies and selected players have a walk-thru at 8:45 and the rest of the day off as veterans arrive in the afternoon.

Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, in his own first full off-season after last year's labor difficulties, says the rookies' improvement from Offseason Training Activities (OTAs) until now changes the dynamic. 

"We can show them videotape and examples from the OTAs and they've learned so much, so they're now a step ahead."

New day for the D

To no one's surprise, the offense had its way with the defense the first two days in 7-on-7s and 11-on-11s, thanks to a guy named Vick. Both his receivers and the defense were seeing laser passes unlike anything they'd seen in college.

"If you are one step off, he's putting it right on the money," said defensive back Brandon Boykin, a fourth-round pick from Georgia. "So you've got to be fundamentally sound every play and be in the right position."

One difference came at the end of practice Tuesday when the offense was working within the Red Zone. Aside from a nice catch by Bryce Brown, the defensive coverage kept Eagle quarterbacks holding the ball longer and going to check-down short passes.

It was a promising takeaway for young players like Boykin.

"This was probably the most reps we're gonna get for awhile now. So we've gotta get all the details in now and do them right."

The man in the middle

One player whom Secondary/Safeties coach Mike Zordich is eagerly anticipating stepping onto the field is new acquisition DeMeco Ryans.

The two-time Pro Bowler was acquired in the offseason in a trade with the Houston Texans, where he is the team's all-time leading tackler, and takes over as the Eagles new middle linebacker.

"I'm excited to see him here because his leadership and his play-making abilities will help us up the middle," said Zordich.